Chances are you’ve eaten at least one kind of Grafton Cheddar (http://www.graftonvillagecheese.com/). It’s sold everywhere, including the main supermarket in my town (Greenfield, MA). It is, in fact, the only raw milk cheese they sell.
The company (located in Brattleboro and Grafton, Vermont) makes all kinds of cheddars – clothbound, smoked, flavored, etc. The cave-aged cheddars are made in Grafton. The best view of the entire selection can be found at the Murray’s website (click here).
I’ve been buying Grafton cheddar for years, but I had never been to their store in Brattleboro. I had heard that they have viewing windows and I always love to watch cheese being made, so I decided to check it out.
There is cheese everywhere, from Vermont and all around the world (as well as every type of Grafton cheese). There are great pictures of some of the cheeses they sell at their Instagram page- @graftonmonger
On the walls, there are dry erase boards and chalkboards with good information.
And, there is much more for sale than cheese.
Most of the pictures below were taken through the viewing windows (there are 2 very large ones). I went on a weekday at 10am, which is when they open. The work begins at 8am, so there are steps I couldn’t see. I wanted you to see it all, so, I used a few pictures from their Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/GraftonVillageCheese/) and their YouTube video (https://youtu.be/bldyWbFm0fo).
Ripening the milk
The milk is from Jerseys at local farms.
Cutting the curds
Breaking up the curds
This is the point where I started watching through the windows.
Raking the curds and cutting the slabs
I didn’t get any good pictures of this part of the process, so I used theirs. Cheddaring involves raking the curds to the side of the vat where they knit together. The curds are then cut into slabs and stacked on top of each other to further dispel the whey.
Stacking and turning the slabs
Breaking up the slabs
The slabs are broken up by hand, then fed into the milling machine where they are cut into small pieces.
Salting the curds
Packing the curds into molds
Cleaning the vats