Crafting of Pyengana Cloth Bound Cheddar Cheese
You might have heard that Pyengana Dairy has been making their Cloth Matured Cheddar with unique cheesemaking traditions that have been developed over 130 years in the Pyengana Valley. But what exactly are these “unique cheesemaking traditions”? Read below to discover how the creamy milk of the Pyengana valley is transformed into the bold full flavoured cheddar for which the region has become known.
Pasteurisation is a heat treatment to kill bacteria providing a blank canvas for the cheese making process to begin.
Starter cultures are bacteria added to the milk that will influence the development of flavours in the cheese. Our cultures have been carefully selected to retain the unique flavours of Pyengana Cheddar.
Rennet is a coagulating enzyme added to the milk to set it like junket or jelly. We use non animal rennet in all Pyengana Cheese.
Cutting into curds and whey happens when the milk has set. The curds are what become the Pyengana cheese whilst the whey is a by-product.
Heating & Stirring of the curds and whey is how we remove moisture from the curd to create a cheese that will keep for years. The warmer we heat it the dryer the finished cheese becomes.
Working the curd is the hard work that begins when the whey is removed from the vat. The process of working and breaking the curd has remained largely unchanged in the Pyengana valley for 130 years. This hand crafting process is a major factor in what creates the unique Pyengana Cheddar.
Salting the curd happens when the curd reaches the right consistency. Salt has been added for thousands of years to preserve cheese and enable it to mature for several years.
Filling the moulds is the final step in the cheese making vat. The shape of the cheese is determined by the shape of the mould. At Pyengana we make large traditional round shaped 40lb (18.5kg) wheels working down to our tiny Truckle weighing 3lbs (1.3kg). We line the moulds with traditional muslin bandage that becomes the cloth that protects the maturing cheese.
Pressing the cheese is how we squeeze the last bit of moisture out of the curd. The cheese stays on the press overnight before the finished cheese is knocked out of the moulds ready for maturing.
Maturing the Cheese is the final step in the process. When first made our Pyengana Cheddar has a very rubbery texture and little flavour. We mature the cheese in our specially designed cheese cellar to mirror the cave conditions that Cheddar cheese was originally matured in. The longer we mature the cheese the stronger the flavour becomes.
Visit the Pyengana Dairy Farmgate Café and you may see the cheese being made through the viewing windows.