Keep meaning to answer this, finally have a few mins. Traditional Beaufort is very similar to emmenthaler, except it uses less propionic, doesn't have a warm aging for the eyes, and has more salt and different culture. Also the ST strains seem to differ. Emmenthaler will drop pH pretty quickly in 6 hours, and beaufort will still be at 6 or so after 6 hours, then drop quickly.
My target ph for the culture is to hit 5.9 after 6 hours, and then the acidity should spike and after 8 hours be at 5.3-5.4, and ready for brining. So similar to yours, that little bit amount of ST kicks in later on in the make. The culture should be predominantly LH, with various naturally occurring strains of mesophilic. I like to add a little FD (.1-.2% bulk starter equivalent), ripen that in the milk for an hour along with the rest of the culture at 90F, and then kill it off by heating. I'm looking for the complex mix of proteases and peptidases from the cocci with that approach, and there's just enough there after heating the milk to add a little character. Sort of like adding flavoring. For acidification, the ST does most of the work. And the lactobacilli are there and keep multiplying in the aging room, then autolysing as aging progresses.
The longer floc times, I completely agree with you. Seems that by letting the milk sit undisturbed longer, the curd is better. It's not the same thing to reduce total set time and use more rennet. Might be a function of acidity because as the acidity develops, rennet is more effective. Except, in Beaufort, that acidity is like 6.3-6.4 by the time it's drained, so I'm just not sure acidity plays a big part.
Beaufort is cooked faster than other similar cheeses, from 90 all the way to 127 or so in a little more than half an hour, then cooked until the curds are the right consistency