After a while of stirring, Stu let the whey off. This is one of my favourite parts of cheese making, seeing the mountain of curd at one end of the vat as the whey runs off. After the whey is run off, Andrew starts to help after his cheese polishing or pot washing duties and between them they cut the curd into gargantuan blocks and slide them down the vat.
When all the blocks are cut and positioned separately down the vat, they are turned over to help expel more whey.
When the acidity has reached a certain level, the blocks are then cut into cubes and shovelled to expel more whey as the acidity gathers pace.
One of my mantras when taking cheese making classes is telling our attendees that cheese making is all about time, temperature and acidity. After a while, when the acidity has reached the right level, which should hopefully coincide with the right
amount of whey being released, the curd is salted and then it is milled.
Once the curd is milled, Stu and Andrew pot the curd up in the vat which involves putting curd straight into the pot and
transferring the pots to the curd table, piling them three high, allowing them to rest a little. Then we turn the pots upside down and empty the set curd on to a blue cheese cloth, wrap it up and place it back in the pot and then back in the press.
Then comes the cleaning down. As sheep’s milk has a high amount of fat, cleaning the vat can be quite a task if it is left
for too long or if it is very hot in our dairy – no chance of that today!
The cheese will stay in the press until Monday when we will pot out: take the cheese out of the pots, take the cheese cloth off to be washed and vac pack the cheese, to be stored in the cold
We made 126 pots, which at a guess will give us about 270kgs and a yield of about 18%, which is pretty darn good!