A cheese extruding machine and process for producing pieces of cheese of an exact
weight directly from unaged or semi-aged cheese curds of semi-hard and hard cheeses.
The cheese extruding machine includes a standard screw-type vacuum filler which
receives large blocks of compressed curds, grinds the blocks into pieces, and compresses
the curds into an airless, homogenous cheese flow without significantly damaging
the curds. The cheese flow is forced through an elongate cheese forming tube of
a desired cross-sectional shape for the cheese. A water jacket disposed about a
second half of the cheese forming tube chills the periphery of the cheese flow
to increase the firmness and maintain the shape of the cheese flow upon extrusion
from the cheese forming tube. Frictional engagement between the cheese flow and
the cheese forming tube produces back-pressure against the vacuum filler to maintain
the cheese flow at a predetermined extrusion pressure and consistent density. A
cutting device disposed at the end of the cheese forming tube cuts the extruded
cheese flow into the exact weight pieces of cheese based on rate of cheese flow
from the vacuum filler.