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Hand-crafted cheese takes months to age

ROCK STREAM—The word artisan implies that something is made by hand and usually with traditional techniques.
When it comes to artisan cheese, it means producing something that is different from what is sold in mass quantities. It also means creating cheeses that may not be ready for months.
Mark Hostetler is currently making artisan cheeses in Rock Stream that are undergoing this aging process. He started Shtayburne Farm to create and sell this kind of cheese.
Hostetler said the cheese needs to age, and depending on the kind it can take up to several months. He said a flavored cheese can take about a month to age, while a mild cheddar takes between two and three months. Hostetler was just making a mild cheddar last week.
He added a sharp cheddar needs around nine months to age. On the other hand, cheese curds are available the day the cheese is made.
What some might find surprising is what differentiates making one cheese over another. Hostetler said the surprise for him was how similar each “recipe” is.
“You really don’t add much to the milk,” he said, beyond the culture, rennet and calcium. Hostetler said what makes each cheese different is the temperature and how long it is heated. The process all happens in the workroom of Shtayburne Farm, which is off of the retail front. There are even windows looking into the “kitchen” for people to watch. Hostetler added he wants to have a video of the process playing on days when cheese is not being made.
“I want to educate people on how cheese is made,” he said.
The business is not open to the public yet, while Hostetler waits for the cheese to age. He said he is also a part of the Finger Lakes Cheese Trail and will be open to the public for a December event.
Hostetler learned how to make cheese in Pennsylvania, at the start of this year. However, he has a lot of experience as his family has been in the dairy farm business for over three generations. He decided to get into the cheese making business partially because the milk prices for dairy farmers were going down.
Shtayburne Farm is located at 2909 Chase Road in Rock Stream, just off Route 14. It is also right next to the family dairy farm. Hostetler said his father runs that, while he handles the new cheese venture. Hostetler said construction of the business finished in the beginning of October.
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