When I first decided to make this cheese as the monthly recipe for April, I felt that it would be a rather straight forward, easy, and early aging cheese (the magic combo!) for our cheese makers.
Well, this proved to be wrong. As I began to dig back into the literature from many sources I found procedures going back to the early 1900's but very few similarities between the various methods. I think the reason for this could be that the cheese was developed in the small scale dairies of the late 1800's and then soon moved to production in the larger cheese factories. I am sure that changing customer expectations had something to do with this as well, as consumer taste moved toward the milder flavors.
Fortunately, I remembered back to my visit with Widmer Cheese in Wisconsin several years ago. Joe Widmer is the 3rd generation cheese maker in a business that his grandfather started in 1922. Joe's grandfather came to Wisconsin from Switzerland (as you can see by the flags above the entrance to their plant).
Joe is still making cheese in the original building his grandfather started making cheese in as well. This was a common split level construction for the cheese makers of the time with the family living upstairs, the cheese aging downstairs and the cheese making room set off a half level from each. When I visited Joe, his family was still living there but not the cheese making.
Joe has maintained the traditional process for Brick Cheese that was handed down to him. He even presses his cheese with the same bricks used by his grandfather for weights. Now that's a true legacy!