Let's go back to the start! It starts with milk (obviously) which can be either fresh or pasteurized...
Coagulation is the step that brings milk from a liquid state to a more solid one. It can be obtained by using Starter Culture &/or Rennet*depending on the type of cheese.
(FYI For Blue Cheese: it’s during this step that Penincilium Roqueforti is added)
Different steps can be used separately or altogether:
Cutting the curd: separates the whey and makes the curd become grainy.
Stirring & heating up: keeps the separation going and dries the curd.
Pressing: makes the grains in the curd stick to each other (pressing can be repeated).
Depending on the cheese it can be soaked in a salted brine or just sprinkled/rubbed with salt
Some cheeses don’t require affinage (Fresh cheese)
Affinage can take between a few days and a few years!
For Blue Cheese: holes get drilled at that stage, allowing the blue mould to grow (beware: smurf cheese!)
For Washed Rind Cheese: well…that’s when the rind gets washed!
*starter culture: bacteria that turns lactose (milk sugar) into lactic acid
*rennet: Rennet is a natural enzyme from animal or vegetal origin that starts the thickening process, coagulating the milk into cheese