First Cheese Making Class of April 2013

Anna making notes of times and temperatures

Anna making notes of times and temperatures

Monday was a Bank Holiday, but cows do not stop producing milk to accommodate us cheese makers.  So I drew the short straw and went to work

Chris and Anna cutting their curd after rennetting

Chris and Anna cutting their curd after rennetting

to meet Thomas our lovely cow milk farmer and took in the milk for Tuesday’s make.  Thomas even gave me first and only Easter egg which was very kind of him.  I think it was a consolation prize.

Anyway, Anna and Chris arrived and soon we had them clad in their cleaned up wellies and our ever present sexy blue hair net and whites and off we set to make a small vat of Wensleydale alongside a larger vat of the same.  A customer had commissioned the larger vat as Unpasteurised Wensleydale so we were ultra careful about our hygiene.

Anna tumbling the curd cubes around

Anna tumbling the curd cubes around

It was however extremely cold in our little dairy as there had

Not to be outdone, Chris tumbling his curd cubes around

Not to be outdone, Chris tumbling his curd cubes around

been no activity since the Thursday as we had taken Friday and Monday off.  It didn’t take too long to heat our small vats up, and because it was so damned cold, we ripened for an extra 15 minutes just to be sure that we could get the acidity going.

Whilst the small vats were renneting, Anna and Chris walked up to town as Tuesdays is market day and they had a little look around.  We showed Anna and Chris the different ways of seeing if the milk had set well and eventually it was ready to cut.

Anna potting up her curd

Anna potting up her curd

We were careful not to over cut it and in about one and a half hours of stirring, the curd had shrunk to small sized pebbbles and it was ready to take the whey off.  Chris’ vat was closest to the door where the temperature is a little lower, so his vat, newly christened ‘the vat close to the door’ was running a little behind.

We always say to people who come in twosomes that it is not a competition, but there might have been a little bit of rivalry going on!  As we explained to Anna and Chris, we go with the milk, if it is being slow, we wait for it, if it is going fast, we get our skates on.

Blocking ensued and then after little whey came out, we cut Anna’s small vat

A team effort potting up Chris' curd

A team effort potting up Chris’ curd

and tumbled it around until no more whey came out and salted, then rubbed the curd together to form a fine crumb and potted up.  Chris was about 15 minutes behind, but it was worth waiting for.  As Chris has a small press at home, they said they would  continue to press the cheese at home.

Towards the end, we worked without an acidity meter as we could not get any whey out to test, so this was good practice for us too and we were pretty spot on with the final acidity we wanted to achieve.

Great to meet you guys and good luck with your potential next venture.

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2 Comments

Filed under Ribblesdale Cheese

2 responses to “First Cheese Making Class of April 2013

  1. Steve

    >Towards the end, we worked without an acidity meter as we could not get any whey out to test

    I learn so much from reading the exploits of others – I was making 34L of raw milk cheddar last weekend and at one point there was so little whey coming off that getting 10ml from the whole lot took 3 minutes – it was cheddaring beautifully and going plastic, but there was hardly any whey to test. I ‘felt’ that it had ripened enough, and when I got 10ml it was at about 6.5, but I was beginning to wonder whether it was OK to not get any whey to test, and whether I’d gone wrong. It’s reassuring to know that this happens on other makes and that it’s OK.

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