A few weeks ago C and I spent a brilliant day at the School of artisan food taking part in the Introduction to cheese making course. This was my christmas present to C and had originally scheduled for January but due to the awful weather the the course was sadly snowed off. So, we re-booked and wait patiently for a few more months until cheese day finally arrived….
It was certainly worth the wait
The school is set in the grounds of Welbeck Estate which is in itself an incredible place to visit as it’s also home to the Harley gallery, Creswell Crags, Welbeck farm and Stichelton Dairy to name just a few highlights.
We arrived to a breakfast of bacon sandwiches served with fresh coffee and a selection of homemade bread, jams and curds before meeting the brilliant Lee-Anna, our tutor for the day. Lee-Anna took us through the process of making soft cheese, yoghurt, and butter at home
First we made a soft ripened cheese, made with rennet. We learnt how to separate the curds and whey before pouring the curds into moulds to drain.
The next process we learnt was Yoghurt and milk fermentation. We heated full cream milk on the hob and reduced it by a third. Then we added cream and live yoghurt to the milk and placed it in an oven set to 50°C for around 3 hours before cooling to an ambient temperature overnight so the yoghurt could set. When we came to take the yoghurt home it was still cooling, ready for breakfast the next day – particularly amazing served simply with granola and a drizzle of honey!
Next was lactic cheese. similar to a ricotta. This cheese is again made with rennet. Lee-Anna recommended we use an old pillow case turned inside out to strain the whey from the curds
We had an amazing lunch featuring many of the home smoked meats made on site – plus some very impressive homemade scotch eggs and seasonal vegetables, all locally sourced
We learnt how to churn butter from cream then used paddles to pat the butter into shape
The day would not have been complete without a Cheese tasting! This featured some amazing British produced cheeses including Stichelton which is produced on the Welbeck estate.
We finished our day with a tour of the on site creamery, and of course were able to take all of our homemade wares away with us. We learnt so much, and have some great ideas for further recipes too. Also attending the cheese course was Jessica from Leicester born and bread, Jessica had also been set to attend the course in January so it was great to finally meet, we have teamed up and ordered some ingredients to make our own cheese at home, so production should be starting shortly!
What’s your favourite cheese?