Bruce Workman, Master Cheesemaker of Edelweiss Creamery in Monroe, Wisconsin was on a mission to restore old Swiss cheesemaking tradition in the United States. A big dream for a very big cheese. Bruce spent several years as a cheesemaker at Rothkase before fulfilling his dream of owning his own cheese plant to make traditional 180 pound wheels of Swiss Emmentaler.
Bruce set out to turn Edelweiss Creamery into a traditional Swiss cheesemaking plant. To ensure the plants authenticity, Bruce imported an entire Swiss cheese plant including a traditional copper lined kettle from Switzerland. The addition of the Swiss copper vat was crucial in recreating the classic big wheel of Swiss Emmentaler. He was determined to forego industrialization and standardization commonly found in cheesemaking today and create an authentic historic cheese.
The copper vat has the capacity to hold enough milk (1,700 gallons) to produce four 180 pound wheels of Emmentaler at one time. Only raw milk from five local farms is used in production to guarantee quality and consistency. The combination of quality raw milk and the copper vat used to stir the curds creates the desired rich, nutty flavor of the cheese. After the curds are pressed and formed into the wheel they are hand washed twice a week with a salt water solution for two months to develop the quarter size eyes and thick rind. The end result is a classic Swiss style wheel of Emmentaler.
A dream come true for Master Cheesemaker Bruce Workman. Edelweiss Emmentaler won 1st place in the category for domestic Emmental style cheese at the American Cheese Society’s annual competition in 2010. Bruce can proudly say he is the only cheesemaker in the United State to produce traditional Swiss or Emmentaler.