Making raw-milk products involves much more than simply not heating the milk. Raw milk contains a highly diverse microbiome. In order to ensure food safety and enjoyment, holistic production systems that encompass the entire value chain from pasture to plate are essential. In this way, the desirable bacteria are able to develop their full effect and the undesirable bacteria die off. The decades-long – sometimes even centuries-long – experience that has been collected, nurtured and passed on is of inestimable value.
At the Centre of Excellence for Raw-Milk Products, Hans-Peter Bachmann, a project leader at Agroscope, attempts to document, understand and scientifically classify this experience. His parents run a village cheese dairy, so the topic is one that has been with him and fascinated him his whole life. After studying Food Sciences, he wrote a dissertation on the food safety of raw-milk cheeses.
His sense of curiosity and 30 years’ experience in cheese research will lead him on a journey of discovery throughout Switzerland. Every two months or so he will visit experts who either manufacture raw-milk products themselves or who otherwise champion them. His travel reports will aim to document things that particularly take his fancy, and the new knowledge he gleans along the way.
Our third trip takes us to Les Bioux in the Vallée de Joux, to the Poncet family’s alpine cheese dairy La Duchatte. Here, they demonstrate that is also possible to make outstanding soft cheeses from raw milk.