U dairy researcher Lloyd Metzger in front of the U's cheesemaking machine.
Making better cheddar
By Kate Tyler
From eNews, July 22, 2004
Making mozzarella stretchy and tasty enough to top off a pizza may not sound like the stuff of either high finance or high technology. Yet a gleaming new machine in the Food Science and Nutrition Building on the Twin Cities campus in St. Paul is testimony that high-quality cheesemaking is a major Minnesota industry. The brainchild of College of Human Ecology assistant professor Lloyd Metzger, the stainless steel colossus bedecked with hoses, vents, and porthole-shaped windows is essentially a state-of-the-art cheesemaking laboratory. Custom-made for the University and unique in the country, the "Scherping cheesemaking system" (named after the manufacturer) is a small-scale replica of the those used in industrial cheesemaking plants--the University's system processes 2,500 pounds of milk per batch compared with the 30,000-40,000 pounds a factory system can handle. For both University and industry folks, the partnership is a true win-win, says Metzger, who spent three years developing the U's machine with Sherping Systems. Dairy researchers at the University aim to generate knowledge that will apply to real industry situations, he points out, yet often have had to guess at how lab-based knowledge will translate to the factory floor. On the other side, he says, cheese manufacturers find it challenging to run experiments, try new techniques, or test alternative cheeses "because with their huge production systems, they'd have to throw out 40,000 pounds of milk for every test."
Cheese (and ice cream)
You can buy Minnesota Blue, Cheddar, Colby, Gouda or Havarti cheese for $2.50 to $4 a pound at the Food Science and Nutrition Dairy Sales Room Store on the Twin Cities campus in St. Paul. Or you can get a pint of Gopher Gold (French vanilla and raspberry swirl) ice cream for $1.50 and a half gallon tub for $4.
These dairy treats are made by U students and faculty during teaching demonstrations or as the control groups in lab experiments.
The store, located in room 166 of the Andrew Boss Meat Science Building, is open year-round on Wednesdays from 3 to 5 p.m. To find out what flavors are in stock before you visit, call 612-624-7776.