Let me introduce Simon, our latest budding home cheese maker who came to see us from Weardale. Simon is the MD of a distribution company and has a yearning to learn how to make cheese at home.
Simon came to us on a Monday at the beginning of the month when we were making Wensleydale cow’s cheese, so we decanted 20 litres from the vat as the pasteuriser was still running and put it into the small crate. We then filled the outer crate with hot water, gave it a good stir, got the temperature up to 30 oC and added the starter culture. It was very cold in our little dairy that day which has an effect on the length of time we take to ripen, so we ripened it for a little longer.
We then renneted and let the cheese set. Simon then cut the ‘little vat’ and let it rest before stirring it until the acidity reached the desired level. We poured off the whey into a bucket and sent it up to the whey tank. We formed a nice block (it really does look like chicken breast at this stage!) and turned it, then cut it into cubes and when the acidity reached the right level, we salted it and milled it with our fingers and hey presto, a cheese for pressing.
We gave the cheese a quick head start for Simon in our mini press and he took it home with him together with some wax
so that he could wax it, to allow his cheese to mature. It is really important when taking your cheese home with you to continue to press it so that as much whey as possible is drained off, otherwise, it will make a very soft cheese and may not keep as long.
There is no reason at all why people at home cannot make good cheese, all you need is starter culture and rennet and of course milk. There is a post on this blog about making cheese from homogenised supermarket bought milk – it is possible. You may make a nicer cheese using unhomogenised milk from a local farm which may have more flavour, but it is still worth giving supermarket milk a try to get your technique right and perfect your recipe. Some people buy their starter culture and rennet from Moorlands cheese making supplies or you can buy it from us, but our starter is frozen which makes it tricky to send by post.
Simon, it was a pleasure to have you with us and I hope you enjoy your cheese at home and have a go yourself and a BIG thank you for the crab apple jelly, it was very yummy and me and Stu tried not to fight over it, so we each baked bread and left the jars at work and had bread and jam – absolutely gorgeous, we think you should win prizes for your jam……cheese next!
Simon, we look forward to hearing about your home made cheese, so please do keep in touch.