Cheese for “Fondue” from a local dairy

With this article, we want to show you, how cheese, especially for fondue, is produced in a local dairy. Also, we wanted to know where the milk is coming from, how their cows are treated and if there are some standards they need to reach. Therefore, we’ve made an interview, which you can read below.

Interview with Stefan Buerki, cheese man from Herschmettlen

How are the cows from your supplier treated?

Even if they don’t have a bio-standard label, they have strong swiss legal provisions to comply with. For example, the cows have to have enough free space and the fodder has to come from the own meadow. Also, the farmers have to expulse a dung balance (Düngerbilanz) which shows, how much dung they use and produce.

How do you get the milk (delivery)?

Because the supplier all live nearby, about 800 metres away, it is the best for our environment to happen. The milk is delivered everyday in a tank. Because the tank is cooled, it’s also possible to store the milk in the tank for some days, like on holidays (e.g. christmas).

Here’s a illustration where you can see, what happens to the excessive milk.

self-made LifeCycle of excessive milk

Which are the steps for the production of cheese?

Because on the day of the interview Stefan Buerki wasn’t producing cheese, we weren’t able to take pictures of the producing steps. But he explained carefully all the steps:

From milk to cheese in 5 stages

cheese production cellar
self-made picture of some cheese kinds

The basic principles of cheesemaking is the same since centuries, Cheesemaking consists of the following five stages:

1. Curdling
After the milk arrived, it has to be checked before being filtered. The next step is heating the milk slowly and stirring it constantly in a large cheese vat until it reached the correct temparture. After, Rennet (Kälberlab), a sort of enzyme taken from the stomachs of young calves, and also lactic acid bacteria (Milchsäurebakterien) are added together into the milk.

Later, the stirring equipment will be switched off. After 30 to 40 minutes, a jelly-like mass (gallertartige Masse) appears. The milk is curdled.

2. Pre-cheesing
The gelatinous mass is comminuted with the “cheese-harp” (Käseharfe) a stirrer instrumental with fine wires (Drähte). The pieces are getting smaller and smaller by the agitation: the “cheese break” (Käsekörner) separates from the watery part, the “Sirte” or “whey” (Molke). The smaller the cheese grains, the harder the cheese will be.

3. Heating, forming and saline bathing
The cheese breakage is reduced to max. 57 ° C. Then he is lifted from the sirte (Molke) with the aid of the cheese-cloth, and is given, together with the cloth, into a form, the “Jarb.” For the sirte to emerge even more, the cheese is pressed. The lactic bacteria added convert the milk sugar into lactic acid (Säure). The still soft cheese is placed in the salt bath between 30 minutes and two days depending on the size: Here the cheese salt is taken up and liquid is released. The bark is formed – the cheese becomes stable

4. Fermenting and ripening
The fermentation affects the hole formation in the dough and the aroma. The holes are produced by carbonic acid gas (Kohlensäuregas), which is caused by the degradation (Abbau) of the milk sugar (Laktose) by the respective lactic acid bacteria. Since this gas can not escape, it forms bubbles. These bubbles form the holes in the cheese dough. During ripening, the albumen is decomposed into a light digestible form. At this stage, the cheese is given its sort-typical flavor. Ripening (Reifeprozess) takes a few days (e.g., Tomme) to several years (e.g., Sbrinz AOP). During this time the cheese must be carefully maintained by regular turning and washing.

5. Quality Control
Before the cheese enters the stores, it is thoroughly examined (geprüft). This guarantees that exclusively cheeses of excellent quality are sold.

Source: Herstellung Schritt für Schritt (

How much energy do you need for the production?

We need a lot of energy. Our dairy is about 80 years old. Due to that, we have a old infrastructure. I’d like to modernise our dairy, but it isn’t possible, because the dairy is only leased. Further, I can’t say the exactly usage of energy. Per 1 liter milk, we need approximately 3 liter water.

From cheese to fondue – how?

In my opinion, the more aged the cheese is, the better the fondue become. If the cheese is mature enough, the fondue become smooth. To produce the fondue itself, you have to shred the cheese. We also have our own mixture, which is ripened about 8-9 month.

Where is your package from?

We buy the package completed. We have two options for the package, either a vacuum bag or a waxed one. The waxed package is much better for the cheese as well as for our environment.

Thank you, Stefan, for the informative interview.

➡ Let’s go and have a look at Stefan Buerki’s Website! Käserei Herschmettlen

➡ Here you find the location of the dairy location Käserei Herschmettlen

Our experience

When we were at Stefan Buerki’s dairy, we felt absolutely welcome. Stefan knows a lot about his job. With all the information he has given us, we could do a informative contribution. Sometimes, it was very hard to translate the information into an easy-understandable text – we tried our best!

eating Fondue
Us, while eating Fondue from Stefan Buerki.

A further point – Our eating-habits have changed! We’ve decided to buy only Fondue from a local farmer in the future instead of buying those from the wholesaler, because it tastes much better and also, we want to support the smaller producers.

posted by Gillian and Mara

The Calcium Song!

by Jehona Aslani (lyrics and voice) &
Saida Mohammad (lyrics and video)

Song text of “Calcium is a special element”

I will tell you something about the chemical element
It’s about calcium that was discovered in 1808 by Humphry Davy
Calcium isn’t just a chemical element it is also found in our bodies
As a mineral, 1 kilogram of it
Especially in our teeth and bones

That’s why we need to drink milk or products which have a lot calcium in it
So stay healthy

It s found in our environment, for example in the alpes
in water, even in our classroom we found it; YES chalk
But don’t forget it’s only in the bounded form

Calcium is a special element, special in each ways

It’s a silver white metal, which is used to produce other metals
Also it helps to build houses, because calcium is in cement

Calcium is a special element, special in each ways

Burnt Calcium is Calciumoxid
So good to know that if add water to Calciumoxid it’s going to bubble bubble bubble
Have attention

Calcium is a special element, special in each ways

We couldn’t live without it
That’s why we need to drink milk or products which have a lot calcium in it


☷ See the project teams here »
☵ Some words about the contributions »

7 thoughts on “Cheese for “Fondue” from a local dairy

  1. Dear Fondue-Team
    Thank you so much for your post! You explained everything very good and in an understandable way. It’s such a good thing to support the regional farmers or cheese makers as Stefan Bürki.
    I’ve been in a cheese cellar once in my life and it was very interesting. After you wrote this post I would really recommend you to try that too. It gives you the shortcut between the explanation of Mr. Bürki (with the single steps) and the reality. I would also recommend you and everyone to look over a cheese maker’s shoulder to see how cheese is made.
    I think you’ve done a great job with this post. Everyone should take care about regional products even if they may cost a little more. It’s very kind of you that you put the link of Mr. Bürki’s homepage down below. That’s a really good advertisement for him.

  2. Herzlichen Dank für Ihren Beitrag auf der Webseite. Der Bericht ist sehr ehrlich und Herr Bürki hat Ihnen alles sehr gut erklärt. Es gibt zwei Punkte, die so nicht genau zutreffen:
    Die überschüssige Milch wird nicht in eine „Big Cheese Factory“ gebracht. In der Schweiz gibt es keine wirklich grossen Käsereien, wie z.b. in Deutschland. Die überschüssige Milch wird von Käsereimilch (Milchpreis A) deklassiert zu Industriemilch (Milchpreis C) aus dieser Milch werden v.a. Drinkmilch, Joghurt etc. gemacht. Nicht unbedingt Käse, wenn Käse, dann v.a. Frischkäse oder Mozzarella.

    Auch grosse, bekannte Käse wie Emmentaler AOP oder Le Gruyère AOP werden in kleinen Dorfkäsereien hergestellt. Es gibt in der Schweiz über 600 Dorfkäsereien.

    Zum Punkt our experience: Ich finde dies ist ein sehr guter Vorsatz (\”to buy only Fondue from a local farmer in the future…\”), aber \”verteufeln\” Sie mir bitte nicht die Käse, die Sie bei Coop oder Migros kaufen können. Die bekannten Sorten Emmentaler AOP oder Le Gruyère werden auch in der Dorfkäsereien hergestellt. Auch sind die Grossverteiler mit ihrem Label „Aus der Region, für die Region“ wichtige Abnehmer von Käsespezialitäten für die gewerblichen Käser. Sie würden den Konsumenten ohne die Grossverteiler so gar nicht erreichen.

    Manuela Sonderegger
    Leiterin Public Relations
    Switzerland Cheese Marketing AG

  3. Vielen Dank für Ihre Anfrage. Sehr gerne beurteilen wir Ihre Webseite.
    Wir finden, dass diese sehr gelungen und übersichtlich aufgebaut ist.

    Zudem ist es toll, dass Sie eine Käserei besuchten und somit einen persönlichen Bezug herstellten konnten.
    Uns gefällt auch der Link, der direkt zur Käserei Herschmetteln führt. So kann unmittelbar ein Eindruck gewonnen werden.

    Der Energieaufwand eines Grosskonzerns ist natürlich ein anderer als der einer kleinen Produktion.
    Grössere Unternehmen verfügen meist über neuste Technologien und Innovationen, die den Energieaufwand drastisch mindern können. Eine kleine Produktion, wie auch die von Herr Buerki, hat prinzipiell andere Interessen und Ziele als ein Grosskonzern in Bezug auf Energie, Absatzmenge, Export, Hygienevorschriften etc.

    Für eine weitere Ausführung der Arbeit wäre sicherlich ein Vergleich mehrerer ähnlicher Betriebe (Grösse, Produktionsmenge, Personal etc.) interessant gewesen. So hätte man beispielsweise Lösungsansätze zur optimalen Nutzung der Ressourcen ausarbeiten können.

    Für weitere Fragen stehen wir Ihnen sehr gerne zur Verfügung.

    Freundliche Grüsse

    Ladina Guggiari
    Assistentin Konzernkommunikation
    Emmi Management AG

  4. Hallo ihr Käseliebhaber

    Gillian hat mich um einen \”Experten-Kommentar\” gebeten, um den Text objektiv zu beurteilen. Leider sind meine Englischkenntnisse nicht genug gut um den ganzen Text zu verstehen, deshalb hat mir Gillian den Text, soweit es nötig war, übersetzt. Den Kommentar schreibe ich deshalb auf Deutsch.

    Mara und Gillian, euer Beitrag ist sehr interessant. Ich finde, ihr wart mit grossem Interesse dabei, was man auch spürt. Das Interview mit Stefan Buerki finde ich ebenfalls sehr spannend. Für das nächste Mal wäre es noch interessant, wenn ihr genaue Berechnungen des Energie-Verbrauchs einbringen würdet. Auch wäre es für mich persönlich hilfreich gewesen, mehr Wörter in Deutsch übersetzt zu haben. Was ich aber auch verstehe wenn es nicht möglich ist, denn das war nicht der Sinn der Sache – das Projekt war ja schliesslich auf Englisch.

    Ich bin stolz auf euch!
    Liebe Grüsse
    M. Haene, Mutter von Gillian

  5. Cool articke with a lit if interesting background information!
    I never thought of all these complex steps of cheese making-next time I will eat the foundue wirh another look at it.
    Whike reading I feel like having a Fondue soon and why not order one from Stefan.

  6. Dear Fondue-Team
    Your topic is very interesting, especially the part with the interview with Stefan Buerki. We\’ve found it very surprising that 3 liter of water are needed to produce 1 liter of milk!
    While reading your contribution, the question arose if the little diary from Stefan Buerki is as economic as a big diary and if a big diary is less energy-consuming like a little one.
    We think it would be a nice addition, if we had a comparison of the energy consumption with a new and modern diary.
    Thanks for your Engagement
    Ronja and Sarah

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