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