field trip to Flanders Dairy farm that was organized by the Chefs’ at Olive Bar and
Kitchen in Mehrauli on the 9th of July, 2018.
We left for the factory at 10:30 am which is located in Bahadurgarh, which is 2 hours
away from Delhi and reached at around noon. I was really hoping to see some cows
and buffalos but what we walked into was a state of the art industrial cheese set up. We
were lucky enough to be explained the cheese making process from Sunil Bhu himself;
the man behind Flanders Dairy Products. With a passion for animal husbandry, Mr. Bhu
travelled to Europe in 1983 to follow his passion and where he learnt the art of cheese
making, which he himself brought back to his hometown and started Flanders Dairy in
Here’s a first-hand report on a few cheeses that are made daily at the Flanders factory,
which brings the highest quality traditional European cheeses to India!
We all love pizza, and pizza is incomplete without the stringy, semi soft Mozzarella
cheese which hails from Southern Italy and is made from Buffalo’s milk using the Pasta
Filata method. (Pasta Filata is a technique used to manufacture Italian cheeses using
the stretching technique by kneading fresh curd in warm water).
The process of making Mozzarella starts at 6 am at Flanders when the milk arrives. In
India, finding pure milk is difficult to come across and they usually end up with a mixture
of cow and buffalo milk, but Mr. Sunil told us that they are aware of the percentage of
buffalo and cow’s milk so that it doesn’t affect the quality of the cheese.
The milk is stored in large containers known a Milk Silos where it is brought down to a
particular temperature. (4*C for maximum 24 hours)
The fat content of this milk is usually 5.5% whereas the SNF (solids-not-fats; casein,
lactose, vitamins and minerals) is 8.5%.
After the milk reaches a suitable temperature it goes to the Milk Pasteurizer. The
purpose of pasteurizing milk is to kill certain harmful bacteria’s in the milk. When the
milk enters the machine at 4 *C it passes through stainless steel chambers that heat the
milk and hold it for a few seconds. The milk that is already heated and pasteurized,
passes its heat to the incoming cold milk through the stainless steel plates. This warms
the milk to 57- 68 *C.
The milk passes to the next section where hot water in a certain chamber heats the milk
to 72*C. This is the ideal temperature at which milk gets pasteurized. It passes through
a series of U shaped tube through which it takes 16 seconds to move, fulfilling the time
required for the method of pasteurization. Now, the milk is sent back to the initial section
of the machine where it warms the cold incoming milk through the steel plates. This in
change cools the pasteurized milk to 32*C. In the last past of the process, the cooling
section of the plant uses cold water to bring down the temperature of pasteurized milk to
From here the milk goes into Cheese Vats. The capacity of these vats is 3000 ltrs. out
of which they get approximately 300 kg of curd cheese. When the pasteurized milk
reaches a temperature of 35*C, the cheese culture is added which rapidly raises the
acidity of the milk by consuming lactose (milk found in sugar) and converting it to lactic
acid. This disables whatever bacteria is present and helps the rennet (enzymes found
in the stomach of a calf) set the cheese. The proteins in the milk to start breaking down,
scientifically the protein molecules start coming together and clinging to one another.
Calmorin Rennet (Rennet made artificially and is consumed by vegetarians) is added to
coagulate the mixture. Within 30 minutes the process of cutting the cheese starts, as
the cheese is cut, the moisture content keeps reducing, this is when the rennet acts on
the cheese and helps separate the whey (liquid remaining after milk has been curdled
and strained) from the curd. The acidic level of the milk has to be checked regularly for
the perfect stretching temperature. As the acid is being formed in the machine, the
acidic level comes down from 6.5 pH to about 6 pH, which increases its stretchability.
With the help of centrifugal force, the whey and curd is separated with the curd settling
at the bottom and the acidic level comes down to 5.1 ph.
The whey is drained out so that only the curd is left and then the stretchability of
mozzarella is checked in 81*C water and once it is perfect, it is sent to the Stretcher.
happens it gets a smooth texture, making it a homogeneous mass. The mass comes
into the front and depending on which shape is desired, the curd it set into moulds and
then transferred to a huge trolley where it is left in Brine (water and 20% salt) solution,
which helps in stopping the further process of lactose turning into lactic acid as most of
the lactose is removed, it also helps in increasing its shelf life.
cheese, hence they are cut into bigger pieces.
FRESH MOZZARELLA is used for salads as it is softer and creamier.
PIZZA MOZZARELLA needs to age for 2-3 weeks as it is stretchier than fresh
SCARMOZA is the best substitute for Mozzarella. It is a stretched curd cheese that
matures in its own whey for hours to allow acidity to develop by the process of lactose
being converted to lactic acid. Small balls are made by hand and hung in cloth like small
snowmen. Scarmoza is usually smoked by being hung in the smoking room for 24-48
hours which gives it a stronger and more dominant flavour.
BONCONCCINI are small bite sized mozzarella balls which are made from fresh
BURRATA, translating to buttered in Italian is made from Mozzarella itself, but what
makes it special is its creamy, oozy centre. Mozzarella is beaten flat like a roti into
which cream with 35% fat and Stracciatella (shreds of fresh mozzarella) are added in
the centre and then tied from the top, which is done by hand using the pasta filata
method. Some variations of this would be adding butter or Parma ham inside to give the
burrata a unique flavour.
The culture added is called Streptococcus Thermophilus, which is a fast acting culture
that is added in the morning. It effects the texture, flavour and colour of the cheese as it
matures. The entire process of making this cheese takes about 3 hours.
GOUDA is a mild yellow Dutch cheese made from cow’s milk, which originated from
Southern Holland where it is called Boerenkaas (bread cheese) and is one of the most
popular cheese’s in the world today. It is a semi hard cheese and has a compact,
This special cheese is made with the addition of O culture that is a slow moving culture,
which gives flavour and helps in a longer shelf life. The milk has to be at a lower
temperature of 30*C in order for the culture to work. The rennet is also added, which
makes the mixture a thick mass that is then stirred to create the right substance. It is
gently cut to reduce the lactose by washing the curd in warm water.
As the lactose increases, the culture also increase.
The remaining moisture (whey) is drained and the mixture is squashed into round
cheese moulds which helps the curd lose the excess moisture. To flavour the cheese, it
is given a brine (water with 20% salt) bath for 24-48 hours and left to mature until the
right taste has been achieved as the brine gives the cheese a nice salty flavour and also
pulls the moisture form the surface and starts forming the rind. The cheese is then
transferred to a storage room where the controlled temperature remains at 13-14*C
where it is left to mature between 3-6 months. The cheese moulds are kept on
plywood’s planks make from pinewood, which gives its own unique flavour to the
cheese, which should be turned and coated every day. The coating that is a transparent
plastic that protects the cheese from fugui.
There are different types of gouda made by adding various flavours to it; red chilly
gouda, black pepper gouda, smoked gouda (my personal favourite). The smoking is
done with 3-4 days of making the cheese and then the coating process begins.
We got to taste some freshly cut Gouda at the factory itself which had a perfect balance
of saltiness, bitterness and nuttiness to it.
literally means re-cooked. At Flanders it is made using the leftover whey during the
process of making mozzarella. It is made by coagulating the proteins; albumin and
globulin, which remain after casein (milk protein) has been used to make cheese. The
temperature of the whey is brought to 80-85*C and then citric acid is added. Once
cooled, it is passed through a muslin cloth leaving the curd behind. It is preserved at 75-
80 *C to not let bacteria grow.
QUARK or QUARG is a cream cheese that is made using a slow moving culture and
pasteurized skim milk, which is warmed until desired curdling is met and then it is
strained. It is essentially made using curd and cream
addition of citric acids such as lemon juice which gives it its soft texture. It has a high fat
content of 50% with a pH level of 5.95 precisely! It is homogenized (an emulsion
prepared by reducing the size of the fat globules for equal distribution) and then packed
at 85% in air tight containers to not let bacteria further form. It is a main ingredient in the
classic Italian dessert, Tiramisu which translates to pick me up!
to be inferior. Melting salts are added to the inferior cheese and they go into Cheese
Kettles. Once a smooth texture is obtained, slices are made or they are sold in blocks.
Flanders it is used making butter and quark.
CHEDDAR cheese is stored at 10*C.
INDIAN COWS produce milk that is classified as A2 category. They have a softer
protein in their milk which is easier to digest but is not that good for cheese making.
Their milk contains carotene which is a natural yellow colour found in the grass on
which cows graze and that gives the cheese made from cow’s milk its distinctive yellow
BUFFALO MILK is harder than cows milk is white, hence the cheese made from their
milk is also white.
So this pretty much sums up my first ever visit to a dairy factory and it was just splendid!