How big is a wheel of Emmentaler AOP? And how much does it weigh? How many litres of milk do you need to make a wheel of cheese? Our proud cheesemakers reveal all!
Emmentaler Switzerland is committed to maintaining the highest quality standards in the production and maturation of original Emmentaler AOP. Therefore, Emmentaler Switzerland supports producers in producing milk and cheese in a natural, environmentally friendly way, and ensures that the protected designation of origin of this fine cheese is upheld in accordance with the relevant regulation (Swiss Ordinance on the Protection of Designations of Origin). It also defines quality objectives and requirements, and monitors the standards that have been defined. Each wheel of cheese is carefully tended to throughout the entire maturing process. Only after four months of continuous quality controls does the cheese undergo grading. It must achieve a minimum of 18 out of 20 points to be approved for sale.
The term «wheel» refers to the entire cheese – before it is cut up into slices or wedges. But what secrets does the magnificent finished product hide after maturing to perfection in a cellar over many months?
How big is a wheel of Emmentaler AOP?
A magnificent wheel of Emmentaler AOP measures around 80 to 100 cm in diameter. It also has an impressive thickness of 16 to 27 cm.
How much does a wheel weigh?
The ideal weight for a wheel of Emmentaler AOP is between 75 and 120 kg. The average weight is 90 kg.
How much milk goes into a wheel?
To make a wheel of Emmentaler AOP weighing 100 kg, our cheesemakers need approximately 1,200 l of milk. Raw milk, that is. It must be unpasteurised and not heat-treated. Therefore, around 2.4 l of raw milk are needed to make a 200 g wedge of Emmentaler AOP like you would have at home.
How long does a wheel have to be left to mature?
The maturing period a wheel requires depends on the desired cheese variety. Emmentaler AOP matures in one of our cellars for at least 4 months and for up to 30 months. The length of maturation depends on the desired level of maturity. Emmentaler AOP is sold as mild when it is at least four months old, as mature from eight months and as extra-mature after a maturing period of twelve months.
What is the point of the rind?
The rind on a wheel of Emmentaler AOP acts as a protective covering. It forms naturally when the cheese is bathed in salt water as part of the cheesemaking process and has a positive effect on the flavour of the cheese. The rind also ensures that the carbon dioxide gas produced during maturing in the fermentation cellar cannot escape from the cheese, which allows the famous holes to form.
What is the number on the wheel of cheese for?
The unique four- to eight-digit number found on every Emmentaler AOP is the number of the cheese dairy that produced that particular wheel of cheese. This means you can spot a wheel of authentic Emmentaler AOP at a glance, and you can even trace it back to its origin and place of production.
Good to know: only the cheese dairy number on the cheese dairy mark with the radiating red stripes guarantees the authenticity of a wheel of Emmentaler AOP.