Making the cheese
Stage 1 - The Curdling
The cheese making begins by heating the fresh milk from the farm in a vat, then adding a ‘starting’ and vegetable rennet. This causes the milk to curdle, forming small grainy lumps (‘curds’) within the residue (‘whey’). When ready the mixture is run off into a shallow tub known as the ‘cooler’.
Stage 2 - The Cheddaring
Here the ‘whey’ drains off while the ‘curds; set together and are banked up along the sides of the cooler. Then the traditional cutting of the curd into manageable sized wedges, and the hand turning, known ‘Cheddaring’ takes place. Each wedge is turned over 3 to 4 times to assist draining off.
Stage 3 - The Milling and Packing
After Cheddaring the curd wedges are milled and salted before being packed into cylindrical moulds, each weighing about 27kg (around 59lbs) when filled.
Stage 4 - The Pressing and Wrapping
The filled moulds are then stacked in a press. After several days the cheeses are removed, bathed in hot water and wrapped in cheesecloth. This supports their outer skin, while allowing them to ‘breathe’ and to form the traditional ‘rind’.
Stage 5 - The Maturing
The cheeses then go into a temperature controlled maturing store, Here they are regularly turned and checked for developing flavours, ensuring the unique finish and excellent taste of the cheese.
Many people love the taste of cheese but have little idea how it is actually made. This page aims to provide a quick tour through the major steps involved.