Cracking Wensleydale, Grommit!

Today was the day… the grand cheese tasting.

I think we'll call him Horace!

I think we’ll call him Horace!

I made my first hard cheese on a snowy day back in January and since then it has been maturing. It’s been quite difficult to hold my nerve and watch it develop a coating of mould. I would probably have been more comfortable if it had been wax-coated, but I want to keep the process as natural as possible, so I simply wrapped it in muslin, attached with butter. It is possible to buy wax, but it is petro-chemical in origin. To begin with the cheese had to be turned daily, but then only weekly, whilst also keeping an eye on the humidity.

Removing the muslin

Removing the muslin

Watching something go mouldy goes against the grain as it feels like the food must be spoiling, but the instructions were clear that this is what should happen. Today, however, we peeled off the muslin to reveal 700g of creamy white cheese. The texture and taste are closest to Wensleydale, and it made a very acceptable cheese sandwich for lunch… Wallace and Grommit would be proud! If you are local and quick, call round for a taste!

Peeled cheese

Peeled cheese

Now I have convinced myself that it is possible, I will have a go at making some more. I’m pleased to say that I have been put in contact with someone local who will supply me with unpasturised organic milk, so fingers crossed for future experiments.

Final texture

Final texture

 

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19 Comments

  1. What an achievement!

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  2. Oh, bravo! At first sight I thought it was one of those cheeses the French roll in wood ash, but then realised it was mould. Congratulations on holding your nerve… Is there any reason why you can’t use beeswax instead of the artificial stuff? I’d have thought it would perform the same function, and ought to be recyclable too…

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  3. Go you! It looks yummy!

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  4. Wow! Looks wonderful! I’d be over the moon with Wallace and Grommit, sharing my cheese!

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  5. I have to say, the first photo looked most unappetising, but the last one, scrumptious! I went to write “How clever are you?” but it made me realise that once upon a time making cheese would have been such a routine thing. We have come so far from what we used to know. Good on you for trying to reclaim some of that lost knowledge.

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  6. What a wonderful success story. I’m so glad it turned out well for you. I can imagine cheese truckles adorning a shelf in the kitchen maturing fro now on. Do you have any idea what it cost you to make in the end?Less than the commercial cheeses I hope.
    xxx Hugs to you both, Have a Great Easter Monday break xxx

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  7. Congratulations! I hope Hector tasted delicious and is just the first of many tasty treats.

    A slightly more visually appealing cheese could be produced by wiping the mould off the developing surface every day or so with a cloth soaked in either whey or salty water. Whilst the mouldy surface can easily be cut away, discarding less translates to eating more!

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  8. Maybe we can rewrite Mae West’s famous line now – “Beulah, peel me a cheese”.

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  9. What a grand accomplishment. To see it through and have it turn out so well IS something to be proud of. Here’s a toast to more cheese. (virtually, of course). 🙂

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  10. I bet Horace is a mere memory now. I WAS going to book myself a ticket but decided that by the time I got to Wales, you would have completely forgotten who Horace was! ;). I just finished your square and another one that I can’t quite work out how to put together so I might just pack it up with the completed square and send it off to you to do with what you will. I will let you know when I post it. I have to pick up something to add to it when we are next in the city and then I can send it/them 🙂

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  11. I can vouch, totally unbiased of course, for its yumminess!

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  12. I am so impressed, well done. My girls are veggies and I bought them cheese making kits but they haven’t really taken to it so maybe I should have a go myself. You have inspired me, thank you.

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  13. Did you have to cut the moldy part off? I’d be very interested to try this.

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    • Yes, but it turned out to be only a thin layer once the muslin was peeled off. I think in future I will follow Andrea’s advice and wipe it down every few days to reduce the amount of mould growth.
      All-in-all, I’m delighted by this first attempt and I just need to find time now to make some more!

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  14. Oh wow, look at that! Yuuuuum! You’re lucky I didn’t stumble on this post earlier, or the Beasties and I would have been beating a path to your door to take you up on your offer to try some! I’m sure it was delicious, well done!

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