How Cheddar Is Made
This country is famous for its Cheddar and because of its popularity for both taste and keeping qualities, it is now made the world over. At Woolsery we also make a Cheddar, using milk, which is called Packwood.
The basic process for making a cheddar is as follows:-
Milk is warmed and a starter culture added in order to speed up the process of converting the lactose to lactic acid.
Next, rennet is added which will coagulate the milk and for cheddar it usually takes 30 to 40 minutes for a firm curd to form.
Throughout the process the acidity of the cheese will be measured as in the later stages this should be rising at a steady rate which indicates that the cheese is behaving as it should and will be safe to eat. It also allows the cheesemaker to achieve consistency with each batch of cheese made.
When the curd breaks cleanly it is ready to cut with special curd knives. These cut the curd into small particles and help release the whey from the curd. The curd is then stirred and heated, this is called scalding the curd and this helps to release more whey from the curd particles.
The curd is then allowed to settle to the bottom of the vat, this is called pitching and when ready the whey is drained off the vat leaving a mass of curd on the bottom.
The curd is then cut into blocks and stacked at the side of the vat. This process is called cheddaring and is repeated until the right texture and acidity are reached.
The curd is then ready for milling where it is chopped into tiny pieces, the salt is then added and mixed in well and the curd is ready for putting into molds and pressing in a cheese press.
The next stage will be storing the cheese and many of the traditional modern hard cheeses are clothbound in cheese cloth at this stage before being put into the store. This protects the cheese from losing too much of its moisture as it matures for weeks, months or years.
Whilst in store the various moulds will grow on the exposed rind or cheesecloth and this all adds to the final taste and texture of the cheese.
Our Packwood is handmade, stored and matured using these methods and the result is a natural, tasty cheese made how it used to be made hundreds of years ago.
In this country many people associate Goats Cheese with soft cheese and France. This is because in France there are hundreds of Artisan cheesemakers who make small quantities of cheese from their own goats or sheep and soft cheese is the easiest of all cheeses to make, requiring very little in the way of equipment or storage. The different areas, grazing, temperature, atmosphere, all add to the variance in the milk and its environment for maturing, hence the multitude of different tastes and types of soft cheeses available.
In this Country more goats cheese is now being produced, although as a Nation we are only just getting used to eating goats cheese and realising that it can be a very pleasant experience.
The following gives the basic process for soft cheesemaking.
First of all milk is warmed up and a starter culture added so as to speed up he process of converting the lactose in the milk to lactic acid. Milk would naturally sour if left but the addition of the starter culture prevents this as it works quickly and prevents unpleasant flavours developing.
Next the rennet is added and this has the effect of coagulating the milk. For soft cheese the curd is left for several hours in a warm place until it becomes firm and will break cleanly.
The curd is then ready to either ladle into small molds or muslin so as to drain. When curd has drained sufficiently to hold its shape it can be tipped out of mold and lightly salted, or if muslin drained, when the drips have almost stopped it may then be salted and stored in small pots.
This method produces a fresh cheese which will be very mild but is ready to eat straight away.
In France many of these soft cheeses are stored and left to ripen for weeks when they will become coated in mould and develop much stronger flavours.
At Woolsery we make several soft cheeses which are suitable for spreading, grilling and they come in pots, individual rounds or logs.
At Woolsery all our cheeses are handmade using traditional methods and the finest fresh milk to produce a range of cheeses from soft through to hard cheeses, in either goats milk or cows milk, which are guaranteed to excite your taste buds. We believe in everything being as natural as possible and no artificial additives or ingredients are used, just natural milk. The milk is handled with great care as is the cheesemaking process so as to produce premium quality consistent cheeses. We invite you to take a look around our web site, visit our on line shop for all your cheese purchases, learn more about the cheesemaking process, see pictures of Annette who founded the business in 1992 and find out where you can visit Woolsery Cheese at Farmers Markets across the country, plus much much more.
Health and Safety
Nutritional Value of Cheese
Cheese is a healthy food. As milk is the main ingredient of cheese, the nutrients are very similar 25g of hard cheese contains as much protein and calcium as 200ml of milk. Cheese is therefore an excellent source of calcium, protein and vitamin A and riboflavin (vitaminB).
The calcium in cheese is well absorbed by the body where it helps with the development and maintenance of strong bones and teeth. Vitamin A contributes to healthy skin and promotes vision in dim light, while riboflavin helps convert fat and carbohydrate into energy. The main protein in cheese is casein. This is a high quality protein containing all the essential amino acids in approximately the right proportions our bodies require. Cheese is also a good source of dietary sinc, phosphorus, magnesium and vitamin D. The energy in cheese is provided by protein and fat.
During the normal ageing process, our bones reduce in strength and density. For people suffering from osteoporosis, the bones become so porous and fragile that they are liable to break easily. This can result in painful and debilitating fractures. Whilst osteoporosis cannot be reversed, in most cases it is possible to prvent and treat it through a combination of diet, medication and lifestyle.
Calcium rich foods help to build and maintain strong and healthy bones. Dairy products such as milk, cheese and yogurt provide some of the best sources of calcium which are easily absorbed.
(Information courtesy of British Cheese Board)
Value of Goats Milk
Many people these days suffer from allergies and a significant proportion of the population have some degree of intolerance to cow milk. Some infants suffer from eczema or asthma and in such cases elimination of cow milk from the diet may result in a rapid improvement. Many of these sufferers have found that they benefit from substituting cows milk with goats milk and goats milk products.
The fat in goats milk is broken down into tiny globules, which makes it much easier to digest and also enables it to be frozen. There are now many varieties of goats milk cheese available and as well as being suitable for many people who have allergies etc., it also has the same nutritional value of cow milk cheeses.