23 Jul 18

The art of cheesemaking

Incredibly we’ve been eating cheese for more than 4,000 years – there’s even illustrations of cheesemaking in Egyptian tombs – and if anything, we love it more now than ever before!

If statistics are needed to confirm our obsession for cheese in all its 1700 different forms, Americans consume an average of 35 pounds of cheese a year, whilst in the UK, the average cheese intake per person is 22 pounds (10 kilos) a year.

And whilst it can be made from milk from just about every animal, our passion is for the cheddar we make from our herd of 2,000 beautiful Holstein Friesian cows. 

First, you need a happy herd

Taking ten liters of delicious milk to make one kilogram of cheddar, we make sure our cows want for nothing, and spend their days out in the fresh air, dining on delicious fresh pasture.

Taken straight from the milking shed, their milk is pasteurized at 162.5F for no less than 15 seconds and then mixed with a natural mixed starter culture. The culture is bursting with vital friendly bacteria which are critical to the whole cheese making process. 

Are you cultured about cultures?

But, different cultures create different cheeses. For example, our sweet and nutty Rustic Red, is the result of a happy mistake.  The addition of a Helveticus culture – which comes from the alpine region of Europe – was added in error but the result was our stunning Rustic Red.

Rennet is then added to the mix, and this is when things really begin to happen.

Within 30 to 40 minutes of adding the rennet, the mixture starts setting and spereating the curds from the whey. Once fully set, we start cutting the curds by hand into small pieces. The greater surface created by the smaller curds then allows the whey (the watery part of the milk that stays after the curdling process) to escape. What remains is all we need to make our deliciously tasty Vintage Cheddar and Rustic Red.

Skilled hands get to work

It’s at this stage that our six generations of cheese making expertise really comes into play.  Each curd is turned by hand – a process known as ‘cheddaring’, which incidentally how the world’s favorite cheese got its name, and it’s at this time that subtle changes to the cheese can be made or characteristic flavors added.

With the hand-turning complete, the curds are then salted to preserve and protect the finished cheese.  Milled into chip-sized pieces the curd is then pressed into blocks and stored in traditional wooden cheese boxes (we have half a million) for anything up to two years. 

Finally, mature to perfection

Our Vintage Cheddar spends a total of 18 months maturing, whilst our Rustic Red ripens for 14 months.  Whilst it may be boxed away our cheese is never forgotten. Our cheddar experts grade each cheese at least three times during this stage to ensure when it reaches your plate it’s nothing short of perfect.

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