First Cheese Making Class of May 2013 with Tina

All the equipment you need to make hard cheese: a two crate system, a sharp knife, colander and jug - that really is it

All the equipment you need to make hard cheese: a two crate system, a spoon, sharp knife, colander and jug – that really is it

Tina, an insurance specialist came to make a Wensleydale cheese with us today.  We have changed starter and changed our cow milk supplier.  The day started inauspiciously with the forks refusing to move up and down so it was er…challenging to remove the milk from the trailer on which it was placed.  But with a little ingenuity, Stu managed it.  A little later, Ron our best mechanic friend took a look and narrowed the problem down to the motor.  A call to Linde, the maker, elicited little help and no return call as promised.

But back to Tina, an interesting lady who bakes and is married to an Italian.  She was an absolute pleasure to spend the day with, showing her the various steps involved in making a Wensleydale cheese.  We explained the science behind cheese making, that milk is a liquid comprising fat and protein.  When milk is acidifies, it allows the protein to be denatured i.e. come out

Checking the set

Checking the set

of the solution, forming a sponge, trapping the fat within it.  It is this fat and protein that we cheese makers want.  Acidification happens by adding starter culture which helps to convert lactose, the naturally occurring sugar in milk into lactic acid.

It was a very quick make today: we ripened at 30 oC for one and a quarter hours, then we rennetted, achieving an excellent set which was lovely to cut.  We let the curd settle for five minutes or so before stirring it gently with our hands.  The acidity ramped up very quickly and we could tell this by the colour of the whey which changed from transparent green to milky green.

Cutting into cubes

Cutting into cubes

We quickly drained the curd off, formed a block, though our curd today was quite crumbly.  We then cut it and as no more whey appeared, we quickly salted and potted up.

Tina does not like having her photo taken, which is fine by us, as

Salted curd, prior to potting up

Salted curd, prior to potting up

we always ask our cheese making friends, so I have included pictures but not of Tina herself.

Tina, it was lovely to have you with us today and I hope that we imparted some knowledge and confidence for you to practice hard cheese making at home.

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