Dairying is our chief occupation in the outlying areas with many fine farms in the area. Much of the milk is used to make cheese at a local factory.
The Rudy Manthei Cheese Factory is one of the few to survive for 40 years in this area. Cheesemakers are finding it hard to survive as they cope with rising prices and government regulations. In 1920, there were 2807 licensed cheese factories in the state. By 1950, that number was down to 1313, and in 1978, there are fewer than 350.
Manthei's factory is located just west of Suring on top of the hill and to the right. He has reason to be proud of his cheese because his factory has won the Wisconsin State Fair Governor's Sweepstakes for cheese in 1975, 1976, and 1977.
Manthei and his seven full-time employees start work at 4:00 A.M., six days a week. Most days they process 55,000 potHids of milk into 5,500 pounds of cheese. The milk comes from about 56 local dairy farmers whom Manthei commends for producing high quality milk.
At the beginning of the workday, milk is run into the cheese vats, and starter is added. After about 45 minutes, which is what it takes for starter to work, rennin is added to coagulate the cheese, a process that takes about 20 minutes. The cheese then is heated to 99 degrees F. to drive out the whey. Manthei holds the whey on the cheese about two hours, until it reaches a specified acidity level. This acidity indicates how the lactic bacteria are developing.
After the whey has been drained off, the cheese is cut into slabs. They are flipped occasionally to allow more whey to drain off and allow the slab to settle into mats. The mats are shredded into curds and the curds are salted. About 3 pounds of salt are added for every 100 pounds of cheese.
Fresh curd should be alive and
almost rubbery. You should be able to stretch it and bend it. Curds are
packed in 40 Ib. boxes which are shipped to Kraft. They allow the
to age and sell it as cheddar. Besides cheddar, Manthei makes Colby
for retail sale; he also handles specialty cheese (such as salami
and pepper cheese), as well as maple syrup and a few other items.
GOVERNOR DREYFUS VISITS SURING
Governor Dreyfus visited Suring on March 1, 1979. He was the keynote speaker at Suring High School second annual Awareness Day.
The audience made up of Suring, Gillett high school students and parents listened as the Governor talked on being aware of everything around you. He told the students that the only barriers they face are of the mind. The Governor noted that the Suring High School mascot, the eagle, is also unique among birds, and quoted Gothe. "The crow flies in flocks and makes a lot of noise, but the eagle flies aione."
To commemorate the Governor's
visit. Joel Hischke. Suring Student Council President, presented the
with a plaque. The plaque was the key to the village.