Sawatch mountains hero
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Who We Are

We pride ourselves in making the highest quality farm-to-table dairy products which are produced just about 4 hours southeast of our location in Colorado Springs, CO. Just like The Sawatch - Colorado's highest mountain range - we strive for the highest quality artisanal products.

Knowing where your food comes from is important to us - which is why our milk arrives fresh each day from local dairies, where we take the milk through the entire process from start to finish. We take pride in everything we create and won't make anything we don't fully believe in!

Bread and butter on table
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Our Artisan Butter

This isn't your run-of-the-mill butter you find in the grocery store. Our European-style Artisan Butter reminds you of how butter is supposed to taste. This is the kind of butter that plays well with others but holds its own in the spotlight!

Our butter reminds you of why the phrase "smooth like butter" exists. The higher butterfat and patiently-cultured cream creates a harmonious taste - without overwhelming the balance between creamy texture and clean flavor.

Sawatch butter with bread
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Our Butter Process

All of our artisan products are created using fresh milk delivered daily from local dairies. Most butter is made using pre-processed cream run through high heat pasteurization, and put right into a huge industrial continuous butter churn. We handcraft our butter and tumble churn the old fashioned way!

Pasteurization

The process begins with fresh, raw milk delivered daily from our local dairies, which is run through a cold milk separator to obtain the cream, then taken through the pasteurization process, using lower heat for a longer period of time to preserve the integrity of the cream. It takes a bit longer, but it's worth it.

Ripening & Churning

After pasteurization, we ripen our cream to enhance all the delicious flavor profiles. The ripened cream is then ready to become butter! It is brought to the batch butter churn, which separates the solids and the liquids - otherwise known as the curds and the buttermilk.

Separation & Seasoning

We drain off the buttermilk and replace with cold water before churning the curds again for a second time. This process results in a butter with a higher butterfat content and extra creamy flavors! Salt can then be added during the final churning process and the butter is ready for packaging!

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Our Artisan Cheeses

Here at Sawatch Artisan Foods, we believe the way our products are made is just as important as what they are made of. Just like our signature European-style butter, our artisan cheeses are perfected in small batches using fresh milk delivered to our facility daily. We are positive that our artisan style cheeses will be an excellent addition to your next cheese and charcuterie boards; simply grab a glass of your favorite wine and enjoy!

Cheeses in Aging room
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Cheese Curd Process

Cheese curd is fresh young cheese - typically a cheddar style - before it has been pressed and aged. Quality fresh cheese curds are not easily found in our area as it takes fresh ingredients and getting them to the customer very quickly to be able to call them Fresh Cheese Curds!

The texture of a fresh cheese curd is slightly rubbery, and you’ll know it’s exceptionally fresh when it squeaks when you eat it. The squeak is due to the high moisture content and the air trapped inside of the porous cheese. As the days pass over the first 2 weeks, the cheese is ever changing and naturally cheddars as the whey and air is expelled. As a result, the squeak disappears and begins to resemble a cheddar flavor. However, you can reveal the “squeak” again if the curds are quickly warmed for a few seconds in the microwave!

We recommend consuming your fresh cheese curds within the first 2 weeks, otherwise they can be frozen for up to 3 months (you can make some tasty dishes with these curds after they’ve been frozen, too)!

Pasteurization and Cooking Process

Our cheese curd process starts with fresh raw milk delivered from our local dairy farmers. The milk is transferred to our cheese processing vat where it is carefully pasteurized and then cooled down. Once cooled, our cheese maker adds the culture followed by the rennet to coagulate the milk and begin to form the curds. This allows the proteins and fats from the milk to bind together and separate from the whey. Many other cheese makers may add a dye, such as annatto, to give the cheese an orange color. Not us – we think the natural white color of the milk is perfect the way it is.

The temperature is gradually increased and as the temperature rises, the mixing speed is meticulously increased as well until the curds reach just the right texture and acididy level.

Cheddaring Process

Once the curds are ready, we push the curds to the back of the vat and drain off all the whey. Then, by hand - we cut, stack and repeatedly turn the curd to ensure that all the moisture is drained away. This is the famous process of ‘cheddaring’ and a crucial part of the process. This multistep process is what gives cheddar its distinct texture and flavor.

Handcrafting

The blocks of cheese are cut into smaller blocks to prepare for milling. A worker then attaches our mill, where the cheese is pushed through and milled into 2 to 3-inch pieces, which break naturally to form the various shape of the curds. We simply add a bit of salt for flavor and manually toss the curds for a uniform distribution. This handcrafting process is the true definition of our artisanal product!

Packaging

Each container is carefully packaged by hand, weighed and labeled. They are ready for us to deliver fresh directly to our customers and are ready to eat!

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Gouda Process

Here at Sawatch Artisan Foods, we believe the way our products are made is just as important as what they are made of. Just like our signature European-style butter, our artisan cheeses are perfected in small batches using fresh milk delivered to our facility daily. We are positive that our artisan style cheeses will be an excellent addition to your next cheese and charcuterie boards; simply grab a glass of your favorite wine and enjoy!

Pasteurization and Forming the Curd

Our Gouda process starts with fresh raw milk delivered daily from our local dairy farmers - It doesn’t get any fresher than that! It is then transferred to our cheese processing vat where the milk is pasteurized. Our cheese maker then combines rennet, and starter culture to the mix to coagulate the milk and begin to form the curds. Once the curds are formed, the cutting blades cut the curds into small pieces and release the whey. A large portion of whey is released from the vat, and hot water is added while stirring. Diluting the whey and raising the temperature helps to release more whey from the curd.

Molding

When the curds are firm enough, they are compressed to squeeze out more whey and help them bind together. The compressed curds are cut into blocks and hand packed into 14 lb molds before going under the press.

Brining & Curing

Once the wheels are ready, they are immersed in a brine solution. Our Gouda wheels are brined for 48 hours and flipped for uniformity. Brining contributes to cheese flavor and helps to form a natural rind. The wheels enter a curing room to ensure maximum moisture is removed before aging.

Final Wax Coat & Aging

A hand painted wax coating is then applied to the Gouda wheels. This coating allows excess moisture to exit while allowing the cheese to breathe as it matures. The Gouda wheels are then transferred to a special aging room where they are aged on traditional Dutch pine planks. The wheels are aged for 4-12+ months and trust us, the wait is worth it!

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Lamphier Process

Lamphier cheese is our version of a white cheddar-style artisan cheese that has been aged for at least 3 months! This young, mild cheese can stand alone or make an excellent addition to your charcuterie tray. Artisanal in nature, our Lamphier cheese is produced in small batches allowing it to receive the maximum amount of control while it ages.

Our Lamphier cheese pairs perfectly with your favorite Riesling or Moscato on a nice summer evening; melt it on a mouth-watering burger to elevate it’s flavors, or shred it to top your favorite dishes and enjoy!

Pasteurization and Cooking Process

Our Lamphier cheese process starts with fresh raw milk delivered to our facility from our local dairy farmer partners. The milk is transferred to our cheese processing vat where it is pasteurized and then cooled down. Once cooled, our team adds culture followed by the precise amount of rennet to coagulate the milk and begin to form the curds. This allows the proteins and fats from the milk to bind together and separate from the whey.

Cheddaring Process

When the curds are ready, we push the curds to the back of the vat and drain off all excess whey. We then manually cut, stack and repeatedly rotate the curds to ensure all moisture is drained. This is the famous process of ‘cheddaring’ and a crucial part of the process. This multistep process is what gives Lamphier cheese its distinct texture and flavor.

Handcrafting

When the whey is drained, the cheese blocks get cut into smaller blocks and prepare for the milling process. A worker then attaches our mill, where the cheese is pushed through and milled into 2 to 3-inch curds. We simply add a touch of salt for flavor and manually toss the curds for a uniform distribution. This handcrafting process is the true definition of our artisanal product!

Molding

The curds are placed by hand into 20lb blocks and placed under a press to remove any additional excess moisture. The Lamphier blocks are then transferred to our aging room, where they age for a minimum of 3 months until they are ready to be enjoyed.

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Contact Information

13710 Struthers Road
Suite 125
Colorado Springs, CO 80921

+1 800-454-8013
hello@sawatchartisan.com

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