Inside Look: Turlock, Calif., facility

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Products: Provolone and mozzarella cheeses, whey protein concentrate and deproteinized whey 
Opened: 1988
Employees: 100 (approximately)
Truckloads of Milk: 155 
(average weekly)
Recognition: Multiple award winner in national cheese contests. 
Honored with the highest award, the Chairman’s Plaque, in the 2014 Championship Cheese Contest of the National Milk Producers Federation for its provolone.

Getting agitated

The mozzarella process at the Turlock plant begins when a bacteria culture and rennet are added to milk. Then the milk is stirred and agitated until chunks of curds develop. Meanwhile, the leftover whey is recovered for processing elsewhere in the plant. (Pictured above)

Hot cheese

The curds are moved to a cooker with an auger system, which then produces this molten cheese that comes out at 134 degrees and is ready for molding into 6-pound blocks.

Chilling out

The blocks of cheese are cooled to an internal temperature of about 45 degrees in this chilled brine solution. In addition, the salt solution will condition the cheese rind.

Wrap it up

In the packaging section, the cheese is placed into labeled bags and vacuum sealed. DFA’s house label cheese carries the California Gold name.

Ready to go

Depending on the customer’s order, the Turlock facility will place two, four or eight blocks of cheese in a box before shipment. Most of the cheese goes to food service companies.

A good stretch

In the laboratory at the Turlock plant, a pizza is cooked daily in order to evaluate how the cheese melts and browns, in addition to the stretching qualities. Here, Eduarda Pereira, lab team member, examines the stretch.