Salary, Job Description, How To Become One, and Quiz
Cheese Makers are responsible for producing cheese from congealed milk, bacteria, and other ingredients. Most modern Cheese Makers work in factories. Instead of physically mixing ingredients, machines and floor workers produce the cheese while the Cheese Maker oversees the process.
With automation and new technologies, the demand for Cheese Makers is also declining. However, the industry still produces over 10 billion pounds of cheese each year. Dedicated workers may eventually rise through the ranks to become Cheese Makers. Before pursuing this career, explore the responsibilities, pros, and cons of being a Cheese Maker.
Table of contents
Cheese Makers typically oversee the production of cheese in cheese-making factories. They direct factory workers and monitor machinery to produce various types of cheese products.
What they do
Mix Ingredients to Make Cheese Products
Cheese Makers employed at gourmet restaurants or small bakeries may prepare cheese products by hand. They add beneficial bacteria to milk and allow it to congeal. The bacteria turn lactose in the milk into lactic acid. An enzyme called rennet is then added to curdle the milk.
After the milk has curdled, the Cheese Maker cuts the curds into small pieces and heats them to remove whey protein. The curds are then pressed into molds and allowed to dry and age until the cheese reaches the desired texture and flavor.
Monitor the Production of Cheese in a Factory
Cheese Makers who work in factories also prepare fresh cheese using milk, bacteria, and other ingredients. However, the process is completed at a larger scale and requires the use of machines and large vats.
Assistant Cheese Makers or Factory Floor Workers may operate and inspect the machines. The Cheese Maker supervises their work and monitors the levels of various metrics to ensure the cheese meets specific quality standards.
Before placing the cheese into molds, the Cheese Maker may inspect its taste, smell, and texture. They also typically need to maintain detailed records throughout the cheese production process.
Develop Formulas for Producing Better Cheese
Cheese Makers are often responsible for improving the quality of cheese products or developing new cheeses. They experiment with different combinations and amounts of ingredients. They may inspect the color, firmness, and texture of the cheese to achieve specific results.
Tend to Livestock to Obtain Fresh Milk
Cheese Makers who work on dairy farms or ranches may be required to tend to livestock, such as cows, lambs, or goats. The Cheese Maker may care for the livestock and prepare and clean the milking equipment.
After obtaining milk from livestock, the Cheese Maker may test the purity and quality of the milk. The milk is then heat-treated or pasteurized.
Inspect, Clean, and Maintain Cheese-Making Equipment
Cheese Makers need to follow food safety standards, which vary from state to state. Whether a Cheese Maker works in a factory, bakery, restaurant, or dairy farm, they often need to maintain the equipment that they work with. This may include large metal containers for processing or mixing ingredients, along with machinery or utensils.
What is the job like
Your Job Is Unique
With only about 1,000 specialty Cheese Makers in the United States, people will constantly be surprised when they learn what you do for a living.
You May Gain Access to Artisan Cheese
Your cheesemaking skills allow you to prepare artisan cheese for personal use without spending a fortune.
You Can Work in a Variety of Settings
Cheese Makers may work at farms, factories, ranches, or food establishments, giving you a variety of career options.
You May Create New Products
Cheese Makers often gain greater job satisfaction when they make new cheese products, which can be quite rewarding.
Limited Room for Advancement
After becoming a Cheese Maker, there is no real career advancement other than increased pay.
You May Grow Tired of Cheese
Some Cheese Makers enter this field due to their love of cheese but eventually grow tired of its taste and smell.
Where they work
Most Cheese Makers work for food manufacturing companies, supervising the production of cheese at factories. Some Cheese Makers work at bakeries, restaurants, and other locations that prepare fresh cheese for customers. Cheese Makers may also work for dairy farms or ranches, obtaining milk directly from the livestock.
Should you become one
People with this personality type likes practical and hands-on work. They prefer working with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. You can read more about these career personality types here.
Cheese Makers require patience, as it can take several days for milk to congeal enough for preparing into cheese. Working as a Cheese Maker also requires a strong commitment, due to the limited number of openings for this position. Cheese Makers should also have good interpersonal skills, as they may need to supervise others, especially when working in a factory.