On the trail of milk & cheese

More knowledge and quizzes about the nature trail in Kleinarl

You have already hiked the nature trail "On the trail of milk and cheese" and would now like to expand your knowledge with further information? Then this is the right page for you :) - We are happy to guide you into the world of milk and cheese. Here you can learn exciting facts about regional milk and cheese production.
Now dive deeper into the interesting topic of milk and cheese. On your hike you will have come across 7 interesting stations - here you will find more details about all of them. A lot of additional knowledge about the journey from the cow to the cheese awaits you.
What did you learn on your hike along the educational trail "On the trail of milk and cheese"? Are you already a milk and cheese expert?
There is a quiz about each of the various topics - test what you have learned. Have fun!

Station 1

Dairy farm animals in the region

Did you know?

Sheep, goats and cattle are among the milk-producing farm animals in our region. They belong to the group of ruminants. In the process, they regurgitate their swallowed food several times and chew again to digest the food more easily.

A mother cow only gives milk after she has given birth to a calf. The first milk a cow gives to her young is called colostrum or beestings. It is particularly rich in nutrients and antibodies. The cow gives colostrum for a total of 5 days, after which produces the white cow's milk we know.

Milk is produced in the udder. The udder of the dairy cow contains 4 independent complexes, also called "quarters". These consist of an udder body and a teat.

Milk production: The hormone prolactin in the brain of the cow stimulates milk formation in the udder even before the calf is born. In the digestive tract, the feed is broken down and processed. This produces nutrients that are transported through the blood into the udder. There, a multitude of mammary gland vesicles (alveoli) filter ingredients from the blood and convert them into milk. Approx. 400 - 500 litres of blood flow through the udder to produce one litre of milk.

Milk storage: Milk is produced and stored in the mammary glands or alveoli.

Milk release: External stimuli such as the sound of the milking equipment, massage of the udder or sucking of the calf cause the milk to be pressed out of the mammary glands by muscles. Fine milk ducts take up the milk and transport it to the 4 teats of the cow's udder. A ring muscle closes the teat on the udder and prevents the milk from flowing out uncontrollably.

There are about 450 breeds of cattle worldwide. A distinction is made between dairy breeds and beef breeds. In Austria, dual-purpose cattle (milk and meat supplier) is very widespread.

Cattle breeds in Austria:

In our region ÔÇťFleckviehÔÇŁ is predominant, but there are also some other breeds:

  • Fleckvieh: brown-white spotted, white head, dual purpose cattle
  • Braunvieh: uniform brown to grey-brown, light border around the mouth, dual-purpose cattle
  • Schwarzbunte: black and white spotted, dairy breed
  • Pinzgauer: chestnut brown with a white stripe on the back, rump and belly, dual purpose cattle
  • Grauvieh: grey to silver-grey with a white border around the mouth, dual-purpose cattle
  • Meat breeds: Limousin, Charolais, Angus, Galloway, Highland Cattle, White-Blue Belgians, Wagyu

Station 2

The diet of a dairy cow

Did you know?

The diet of a dairy cow influences the quantity and quality of the milk. The basic feed (hay, silage, grass) is usually produced on the farm and supplemented with concentrates (energy and protein feed) and mineral feed.
The dairy farmer must know exactly the ingredients of his basic feed, in order to be able to select the appropriate supplementary feed.

Why does the farmer mow his fields in summer?

By mowing the fields, the farmer conserves some of the grass in summer for the wintertime. 2 important forms of conservation are the fermentation process (silage) and the drying process (hay).

  • Silage: The grass is preserved by fermentation processes and stored airtight. As a result, various bacteria (lactic acid bacteria) begin to preserve the fodder. Silage processes are round bale pressing and storage in high or mobile silos.
  • Hay: dried grass. Drying is done by sun and hot temperatures in the field or by additional hay ventilation systems in the barn. Storage takes place in boxes in the barn, by pressing round bales and in the "Stadl" in the fields.

Diet of an "organicÔÇŁ hay-milk cow

Detailed diet of an organic dairy cow per day:

Basic feed:

  • 70 kg grass (pasture)
  • 5 kg hay

Mineral feed:

  • 80 g various minerals, vitamins and trace elements
  • 40 g salt


  • 70 - 100 litres

Basic feed:

  • 20 kg hay (1st, 2nd, 3rd cut)

Concentrated feed:

  • 3 - 4 kg field beans, peas, maize, grain

Mineral feed:

  • 50 g various minerals, vitamins and trace elements
  • 30 g salt


  • 50 - 70 litres

Many stomachs and the digestion of a cow

Cattle pluck off the grass with their rough tongues and swallow large amounts in the process. First, the grass travels from the mouth to the rumen.

The rumen is the first and largest forestomach. It resembles a huge fermentation chamber. This is where the feed ends up almost unchewed. It can hold 50 - 60 kg of feed. With the help of bacteria, cattle begin to break down hard-to-digest plant matter.

When the rumen is full, the feed moves on to the reticulum.

In the reticulum, there are many cellular mucosal folds that resemble a net. Here the feed is formed into fist-sized balls. These are returned to the cattle's mouth by being strongly contracted.

Ruminating begins. The cow lies down and begins to chew the food pulp. The feed is crushed and mixed with saliva. Afterwards, the mash is swallowed again and passes through the reticulum into the stomach.

The omasum is the last forestomach. Here, water is extracted from the food pulp before it enters the abomasum.

The abomasum is the actual stomach of the cow. Similar processes take place in it as in the stomach of a human being. Stomach acid is produced and thus the food pulp is broken down into further smaller parts.

In the small intestine, nutrients (fats, proteins and carbohydrates) are further broken down and absorbed into the blood through the intestinal wall. Substances that the body does not need are thickened in the large intestine by dehydration and excreted.

Station 3

The spring

Did you know?

There are about 1,458,703,000 cubic kilometres of water on our Earth, which is about 72% of the Earth's surface. That is why our Earth is also called the blue planet. However, of the total amount of water on our planet, only about 2 % is fresh water, the rest is salt water.
Water moves in a cycle and changes its state of aggregation, i.e. its form of appearance, and its location.

States of aggregation (forms of appearance) of our water:

  • Liquid water: Between 0 and 100 ┬░C, water has a liquid state.
  • Solid water, i.e. ice: Below 0 ┬░C, water begins to freeze and solidifies into ice. Examples of this are frozen lakes, ice cubes in drinks, snow or huge icebergs in the sea.
  • Gaseous water vapour: Above approx. 100 ┬░C, water begins to evaporate and reach its gaseous state. An example of this is rising steam when water is heated in a saucepan.

The water cycle

The heat of the sun causes water to evaporate from the sea, lakes or forests.

  • It rises and enters our atmosphere, where it collects in the form of water vapour.
  • This water vapour becomes visible as clouds. The clouds are transported by the wind and reach a mountain range.
  • By cooling, the clouds become water again, which falls to the earth's surface in the form of rain, snow or hail.
  • Part of the water reaches the sea via streams and rivers (the water cycle begins again), the other part seeps into the ground and reaches the groundwater. Springs can be formed. This spring water is captured, collected and piped to our houses or flats.

The water cycle is important for all life on earth, for humans, animals and plants. When we cut down large forests, we reduce the water cycle and change our climate on earth.

A person in Austria needs about 135 litres of water every day.
Tips for saving water:

  • It is better to take a shower than a bath! When taking a shower we use about 44 litres of water, when taking a full bath about 150 litres.
  • Turn off the tap while brushing your teeth! You can save up to 2 litres of water by using a toothbrush mug.
  • Only switch on the washing machine and dishwasher when they are full! Use an economy programme!
  • Collect rainwater in a barrel and water your plants with it!

Station 4

Cheese production

Soft cheese, semi-hard cheese, hard cheese

Today we distinguish between soft cheese, semi-hard cheese and hard cheese. The decisive difference lies in the way the so-called curd is cut into pieces.

The more the curd is cut into pieces, the more whey is deposited and the harder the cheese becomes. With soft cheese, the pieces are larger (the size of a walnut), with semi-hard and hard cheese they are smaller (about the size of a grain of wheat).

Amount of milk required: for 1 kg approx. 12 litres

Aging process: 3 - 12 months, sometimes longer

Varieties: Parmesan, Emmental, Bergk├Ąse, Dorfk├Ânig

Rennet, which consists of the enzymes chymosin and pepsin, is extracted from the rennet stomach of young, milk-drinking ruminants. Enzymes, by the way, are giant molecules, in this case mostly protein molecules, which act as catalysts to accelerate certain reactions. In cheese production, rennet breaks down the milk protein casein, thickening the milk without turning it sour.

Of course, there is also synthetic rennet, which comes from the laboratory.

However, most traditional cheeses use animal rennet according to ancient recipes. This means the cheeses remain natural products.

Station 5


Did you know?

To make our contribution to sustainability, we should look for seasonal and regional products of organic quality when shopping.

What does seasonal mean?

In agriculture, the term seasonal refers to natural (location) and climatic (temperature, precipitation) conditions. Seasonal fruit and vegetables are grown and ripen at certain times of the year. They are then harvested and sold directly.

What does regional mean?

Regionality describes the origin of a product. Regional products are produced in a region, packaged and sold there. Short transport routes protect our environment and support local producers.

What does organic mean?

Organic products are produced according to the principles of organic farming. All raw materials are natural. No artificial substances are used in cultivation and processing.

In the tabs below you will find examples of quality seals for sustainability in SalzburgerLand.

The SalzburgerLand certificate of origin identifies food and primary products that come from the SalzburgerLand region. They are produced and processed there.

Ideas for sustainability at school

  • Walk or cycle to school
  • Separate rubbish, avoid waste
  • Use reusable drinking bottles
  • Pack snacks in a box. Avoid aluminium foil or cellophane
  • Switch off classroom lights at break time
  • Use cardboard folders, exercise books and colouring pads made of recycled paper, watercolours in metal boxes with replaceable colours.
  • Pencils and crayons are made of FSC or PEFC-certified wood. In the production process, attention is paid to the preservation of our forests.

Station 6

Then and now

Did you know?

In the past, farmers produced their own food. They kept farm animals (sheep, cattle, pigs, goats and chickens) and grew crops (such as cereals and potatoes). This gave them everything the family needed to feed itself. As there was no machinery, everyone had to help, farmer, farmer's wife, grandparents, farmhands, maids and children.

Maids and farmhands were also called servants. They earned very little and often had to work hard. The working year for servants and maids on a farm always started and ended on 2nd February, on "Candlemass Day". They received their wages and their service booklet and moved (in former times the term "schlenkern" ÔÇô to swing - was used for this) from one farm to another. All their possessions consisted of the clothes they wore and a box with their personal belongings.

Whereas today, during the hay harvest, the grass is brought in with agricultural machinery after a short drying period, in the past the cut grass had to dry in the meadow. It was often turned by hand before it could be pulled to the farm by horses. Farmers needed good weather to work in the fields. By observing nature, plants and animals, they established rules for the weather. This is how the so-called "farmers' sayings" came into being. These were passed down from generation to generation.

"If the swallows stay for a long time, do not be afraid of winter."

Swallows are migratory birds. When it gets colder, they head south. As long as swallows can be seen, there is no need to fear the onset of winter.

"Of night frost thou art not safe till Sophie (May 15th) be past."

Many country sayings refer to the so-called "Ice Saints", named Mamertus, Pancras, Servatius, Boniface and Sophie. They refer to the period between 11th and 15th May. During this period, there are often cold spells and even frost.

"If Saint Martin has a white beard, the winter will be severe and hard."

If there is snow on 11th November, Saint Martin's name day, a cold and snowy winter is expected.

"Morning dew makes the sky blue."

Morning dew on leaves indicates that the night was dry and clear. The weather is expected to remain fine for the next few hours.

In the tabs below you can see farming tools related to milk production and hay making from the past:

A device that separates cream from skimmed milk by spinning the milk. The cream is also needed for further processing into butter, among other things. The skimmed milk is used to make certain types of cheese

The skimmed cream is put into a butter churn or a mixing bucket. This was usually made of wood. The cream is then churned or beaten into butter. Nowadays, butter churns are electrically operated.

A butter mould (form for the butter) is usually made of wood and is often elaborately decorated. It gives the butter a compact, pleasant shape during production.

A Swedish rider is a method of hay drying and was used mainly in mountainous areas for haymaking until the second half of the 20th century. Swedish riders were erected directly after mowing in the fields for "safe" haymaking, in order to dry the hay suspended on tensioned wire in this way despite damp weather.

Station 7

Dairy products

Did you know?

Cow's milk contains many valuable ingredients:

  • Water (approx. 87 %): The main component of cow's milk is water. In the beginning, the milk serves as a thirst quencher for the newborn calf. The water content decreases over time in favour of other ingredients.
  • Milk sugar (approx. 4.9 %): Milk sugar is also called lactose. In order for our body to absorb and digest lactose, it must be broken down into its components by the enzyme lactase. People with lactose intolerance lack this enzyme, which can lead to diarrhoea, abdominal pain, etc.
  • Milk fat (3.7 %): The fat content in milk varies greatly. It depends on the breed of cattle, the husbandry and the feeding. Milk fat can be easily absorbed and digested by the body.
  • Milk protein (approx. 3.6 %): It consists of 80 % casein protein and 20 % whey protein. Milk protein has a high proportion of amino acids and is very important for building up our muscles and organs.
  • Minerals, vitamins (approx. 0.8 %): Many important minerals (e.g. calcium, magnesium, iron) and vitamins are contained in milk.

Recipe: Cream cheese/cottage cheese

Try a cottage cheese for yourself


  • 1 litre pasteurised milk
  • Juice of a large, squeezed lemon
  • 2 teaspoons salt

You will also need:

  • a saucepan
  • a whisk
  • a wooden spoon
  • a large sieve
  • a clean tea towel
  • a bowl


  • Put the milk and 2 teaspoons of salt in a saucepan and heat it to about 85 ┬░C, stirring constantly. Make sure that the milk does not boil.
  • Now carefully stir in the lemon juice and the milk will slowly start to flocculate.
  • Continue stirring gently until solid pieces separate from a milky to clear liquid.
  • Put a clean tea towel in a sieve and place it on a bowl. Now use a ladle to put the solid pieces of cheese into the tea towel. Let them drain there.
  • The liquid that remains is the whey. You can use it for baking bread, for example.
  • Finally, you can season your cottage cheese and refine it with chives or herbs.

Good luck!