The structure development of a soft cheese curd model has been studied in relationship to its rheological properties and its biochemical characteristics (pH, amount and partition of minerals, casein proteolysis) at different technical steps including cutting, drawing, three turns and demoulding. Scanning electron microscopy was used to observe structural changes during the drainage of a fat-free soft cheese. The micrographs provided visual evidence of changes in the casein matrix from casein particles aggregated in clusters to uniform strands observed at the demoulding. The initial increase of loss tangent and of the exponent of the power law between G′ and G′′ and frequency (that were maximal at the second turn) was related to the solubilization of micellar calcium phosphate, while intact caseins and large casein fragments accumulated in the curd. After the second turn, the strength, Youngs' and loss moduli of the curd increased greatly. The hydrolysis of αs1-casein into αs1-I-CN f(24–199) may facilitate the rearrangement of casein particles within the curd. The pH-induced solubilization of calcium phosphate continued throughout the manufacture process but was unexpectedly incomplete at the end of the drainage. Combination of electron microscopic observations with dynamic rheological measurements and chemical and biochemical assessments provided increased knowledge about the structure of soft cheese during drainage, an important but poorly understood cheese making stage.