Second Mouse Cheese Company: Woltmanns’ second chance

A fascination with what can be done with milk led to a couple swapping their hectic lives in Sydney to open a cheese factory in Orange, in the Central West of NSW.

Kai and Annie Woltmann made the move three years ago and haven’t looked back since starting the Second Mouse Cheese Company.

“Sometimes it’s difficult work, and physically harder work than sitting at a desk, but you wouldn’t want to go back ever,” Mr Woltmann said. Their cheese can be found in Sydney, Katoomba, Bathurst, Orange, Dubbo and Parkes.

Mr Woltmann’s interest in cheese making started in his home country of Germany. Later, while working in Sydney, when he wasn’t travelling all over the world with his IT project management job, he was often enrolled in cheese making classes, and spent his holidays learning all about the industry. “I was fascinated by what you could do with milk,” he said.

Today demand for Second Mouse Cheese is on the rise. They have just increased their milk order by an extra 500 litres a week because a Sydney customer wants up to 40kg of Haloumi cheese for a Greek restaurant.

Second Mouse cheese: Kai Woltmann preparing the cheese. Picture: Gabrielle Johnston

Second Mouse cheese: Kai Woltmann preparing the cheese. Picture: Gabrielle Johnston

Mr Woltmann uses 1500 litres of milk each week, which comes from Dubbo’s Little Big Dairy, about two hours west of Orange. He likes the dairy because the cows are grass-fed.

“I have sourced my milk ­locally, but they didn’t have as much grass, which means the cheese isn’t as yellow,” he said. “The fat was not as nice and the protein was not as nice.”

Depending on the type of cheese, they produce about 200kg each week. The cheese making process is dependent on timing, pH and consistency. “Haloumi happens always at the same time, so that’s basically timed,” he said. “All the other cheeses are PH dependent and consistency dependent.

“I need to make sure the pH and consistency are the way I want them at a certain time.”

Between about 80 and 90 per cent of the milk is wastage, but it isn’t actually wasted, instead going to a nearby pig producer.

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