The Munster appears for the first time in the Middle Ages (VIIIth century) and was originally manufactured by the monks of the valley of Munster in Alsace.
In 1929, Xavier Haxaire founded the company and the Haxaire refining cellars at Lapoutroie. A few years later, his son Jacques succeeded him and, in 1996, the Pays Welche cheese dairy, the first cheese dairy to make Munster in Alsace, was built. In 2001, the Haxaire cheese factory expanded with the cheese factory of the Vergaville Abbey, located in Moselle, which specializes in the manufacture of soft cheeses, pressed or spun and cheese specialties from the Lorraine region. The cheeses are made from milk sourced exclusively from local producers. Although the Vosges breed is strongly represented in these herds, other mountain dairy breeds adapt perfectly to the particularities of Vosges mountain farms.
The Vosgienne is a small rustic cow, with black and white dress, perfectly adapted to the mountain. Grazing in the grasslands and fed traditionally, these cows produce milk that contains all the richness and flavor of pastures. It contains acidifying and aromatic lactic acid bacteria that favor the production of Munster Denomination of Protected Origin.
The processing of milk meets very specific rules. It is first skimmed slightly and then gently heated. Rennet is added, it acts on the casein and milk calcium to form the curd, which is then cut. The whole is brewed to promote the release of whey and homogenize the temperature. The whey is then removed using a strainer and a copper bowl perfectly matching the shape of the colander.
The cheeses are formed in perforated molds surmounted by a riser to allow a good drainage. They are then returned to their mold 2 to 3 times the first day to continue the dripping and form the faces of the cheese. After being unmolded, the cheeses are salted manually. The salt will allow the formation of the cheese crust, as well as the reduction of the water content of the dough. It also brings its flavor to Munster.
Finally, the cheeses are placed in a drying cellar where fresh air is constantly circulating which takes care of their humidity. They remain in drying (drying operation) for several days and are then ready to enter the cellar refining. In the ancestral cellars of the Haxaire family, temperature and hygrometry constitute a favorable environment which must be adapted according to the nature of the product and the external climatic conditions. Several times a week, it is rubbed with mountain water to maintain moisture on the crust. The cheese will generally become rousseau (variety of red) and, after 21 days minimum, will take its famous yellow / red / orange permanent hue.
Throughout the ripening stage, the master-ripler keeps a constant watch over the Munsters. It checks the maturity of the cheese at the end of cellaring time according to the wishes of each customer.