HOW WE MAKE OUR CHEESE
In general, cheese is made the same way; milk is preserved (as a solid) by a process of steps usually involving coagulation, cutting and draining which produces cheese curd. This curd can be eaten 'fresh' or matured, and the variations of shapes, strengths, colours and textures are endless! We make the only Authentic Cheddar Cheese in the world, and this is how we do it:
Milk is delivered each morning and our open cheese vat is filled. We buy our milk from one local farm, monitoring the quality, composition and temperature of the milk as it arrives.
We don't pasteurise our milk, preferring to preserve the naturally occurring bacteria within the milk. We believe this contributes to the complexity of flavour as well as the health benefits of good quality raw milk cheese.
We gently warm the milk before adding the starter cultures (additional vital bacteria) which ripen the milk. These, amongst other things, help to determine the flavour of the final product.
Next we add vegetarian 'rennet', which coagulates the milk, forming a solid mass -rather like blancmange.
Once set, we cut the coagulum by hand.
This separates the Curds and Whey which we then scald and stir before draining.
The remaining curd is transferred to a cooling table where the famous Cheddaring process takes place.
Cheddaring is a critical developmental stage which involves a series of cutting, turning and stacking, allowing the curd to cool and 'knit' together again over a period of time. The cheese maker monitors the acidity and temperature of the curd closely here which is unique to cheddar cheese. This stage contributes enormously to the final taste and texture.
Finally, the curd is milled into small chips before being salted. These are then filled into our large traditional cheese moulds before being pressed.
After pressing the whole cheese are dressed in traditional cotton cloth before being transferred to the maturing stores.
Our whole cheeses are matured for up to 20 months in our closely monitored cheese stores.
Generally, the older the cheese the stronger the flavour. In December 2006, we started maturing some of our cheese in the natural caves within Cheddar Gorge. The environmental conditions were perfect for cheese maturing; constant temperature and high humidity. The Cave Matured cheddar has been an outstanding success; its flavour is complex, & truly unique; and we now sell this cheese to compliment our authentic cheddar range.
Cheddar from Cheddar………History in the Making!