Our second budding cheese maker in September was Ian from Preston who arrived promptly at 8am and made and took away with him a 2kg Wensleydale Goat cheese.
We started the day by filling our crates, 20 litres of goat milk into the smaller inner crate and then two buckets of very hot water into the larger crate. The ambient temperature in the dairy was slightly lower than our last cheese making class, but the outer crate only needed two little top ups of hot water, it held its temperature very well.
We added the starter when the milk reached 30 oC which was about 8.20am and we ripened for an hour. Then we added 5mls of rennet, stirred for only a few seconds and let it set. We checked the set after about 30 minutes and then Ian cut the curd. We find it is easier to cut into larger cubes initially and then cut to the size you require, taking care to cut horizontally too which is a little tricky in such a small ‘vat’. Ian then stirred the curd for 40 minutes, keeping an eye on both the milk and the water temperature and noting down
all parts of his make on his make sheet and making comments.
Then we took the whey off, gently draining the vat through a colander into a bucket. Ian made a nice block from the curd, turned it until the acidity reached the desired level and cut into cubes. Ian was very quick to master performing acidity checks using our acidity meter, he was very impressive. I loved his descriptions of the shades of pink he achieved in the TA readings: pepto-bismol, starburst, strawberry yoghurt and so on. Very inventive and very entertaining!
We added salt and then improvised milling by crumbling the curd with our fingers so that it resembled a cheesey version of a crumble topping. You had to be there!
We always run cheese making classes at the same time as making a large vat. We find that this helps because it allows the person taking the class to see that what they do is identical to us, on a larger scale. It also provides a second chance to compare how the smaller ‘vat’ looked and felt to our larger vat – it is the same, takes the same amount of time except where we have a large vat, it takes longer to block and shovel the curd compared to the small crate system.
As a result, Ian very gamely joined in (which was much appreciated, thank you!) helping Stu, Lydia and I make the large vat: 1,800 litres of Original Goat. Ian helped to block, turn, shovel and mill the cheese. He then went on to help us pot up and cloth up which was very good of him and I hope he
found it interesting. He was a huge help to us for the day and it was a pleasure passing on our knowledge to him: great to meet you, Ian and good luck with your future plans, really hope it all works for