Second Cheese Making Class of February 2013: Alan

Stu just adding annatto to the milk

Stu just adding annatto to the milk

On Monday, we had retired psychology teacher Alan come to make cheese with us.  Alan had previously booked with us

Alan cutting the curd into 2" cubes

Alan cutting the curd into 2″ cubes

during that (which one!?) very cold and snowy spell we had earlier in the year.

Stu was making a small vat of Tasty Yorkshire at the same time, so it was interesting to compare the progress of the crate system where we were making a Wensleydale with the more commercial sized vat.

As usual, we ripened the milk at 33.5 oC for one hour, (slightly warmer than we would normally, but it is so cold in our

Stu cutting the small vat of Tasty Yorkshrie

Stu cutting the small vat of Tasty Yorkshire

little dairy), then we added rennet.  Because our little dairy was so wretchedly cold, renneting took 50 minutes after

Alan cutting his block

Alan cutting his block

which we showed Alan how to test for set.  There are many ways to check for a set: some people put the back of their hand on top of the milk – if the back of the hand comes way sticky, it is not yet done.  I am not convinced that this method is that reliable.  Another way is observe if the side of the curd has come away from the inside of the crate – this is more reliable as you should be able to gently pull the curd away from the sides and see the whey take its place.  The method we use is to put a short, wide bladed knife into the curd at 45 degrees and gently lift the blade up to encourage a split in the curd.  If the curd splits cleanly, without any small jagged pieces coming away, then your curd is ready to cut.

First we have liquid, then we have a set, then we cut it, then we form a block and then we cut it again and finally we mill it.

First we have liquid, then we have a set, then we cut it, then we form a block and then we cut it again and finally we mill it.

We let the curd settle for a few minutes after cutting as it is very delicate at this stage.  After this, we stirred the curd for

Alan proudly holding his newly made pot of Wensleydale cheese

Alan proudly holding his newly made pot of Wensleydale cheese

almost two hours as it was very cold in the dairy until the curd cubes had shrunk significantly.We then took the whey off and made a brick shaped block, turning this until more whey was expelled until it was ready to cut into small cubes.  The rest of the make went really very quickly and just 15 minutes later, we had added the salt and milled the cheese, ready to put up.

Alan has since been in touch with us and has already bought some crates from Solent Plastics, where we bought ours, some starter and rennet and is about to start experimenting making cheese at home.  Now that’s enthusiasm for you!  I am hoping that Alan will keep in touch and let us know how he gets on.

Advertisements

4 Comments

Filed under Ribblesdale Cheese

4 responses to “Second Cheese Making Class of February 2013: Alan

  1. I love that you don’t have a minimum number in a class. I have been helping out at a local creamery, making cheese and instructing on cheese classes.

    • Hello Ian

      Thanks for getting in touch. Great that you are also involved in cheese making and teaching too! We must swap notes some time! Am following your gouda making with a good deal of interest.

      With best wishes

      Iona

      • Thank you, often think that no one actually reads my blog. Smoky Valley is a small artisan producer, 1 x 300L Vat. I love reading about your classes and your makes.

      • Thanks, Ian; I love reading about other people making cheese, it is fascinating. I found your escription of making your gouda very interesting – as you may know, we also make a (goat) gouda.

        Hey, it doesn’t matter if Smoky Valley has a 300 litre vat or a 3,000 litre vat – still making cheese! Still takes the same amount of time.

        I think you may have an awful lot more readers than you think!

        But thank you for your kind comments. We have had some great people come to learn to make cheese with us and it is a pleasure to try and teach people – I always learn something from it…

        With best wishes

        Iona

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s