Artisan cheese making

The Process of making cheese


1 Stirring the milk Adding the starters

Warm milk & add starters

Sheeps' milk is pumped directly from the bulk tank into the vats and the starters are added as the milk slowly warms.  The milk is then left for around an hour and gently stirred at intervals by hand. 

We collect our cows' milk directly from our next-door neighbour's farm in Dunsyre in our own little tanker directly after their morning milking.  This ensures we get only afternoon and morning milk and allows us to keep in touch with what's happening with the cows and helps with the cheese making process.

2 Add rennet and allow to set

Add rennet & allow to set

After the milk has been warmed and been given time with the starters the rennet is added. We mix this with our own farm spring-water and add to the milk stirring very briefly.  The ewes' milk only takes a short time to set whereas the cows' milk can take up to an hour.

3 Cutting the curd Cutting the curd

Cut curd

Once the milk has set it is checked and then cut with stainless steel knives vertically then horizontally to form small cubes.  We then leave the curd for a little to allow it to heal.

4 Stirring Stirring

Stir

Once the curds have healed they are then stirred very gently.  This heals the curd further. When we are making Corra Linn we turn the vat back on and scald the curd, stirring continuously. This takes more of the moisture out of the curd.

We then pull the curds back and allow them to settle.  This helps pitching and minimises the amount of curds draining away with whey.

5 Drain off the whey

Drain off the whey

The whey is drained off slowly after the curds have settled.  We then slowly form a chanel in the centre of the curd which eventually allows all the whey to be drained, leaving curd up each side of the vats.

6 Fill the moulds Fill the moulds

Fill the moulds

Once the whey has drained off the curd we fill the moulds with the curds and move through to another warm room. 

When we are making Corra Linn we cut the curds into blocks and turn every half hour or so as the acidity rises. Once the acidity is where we want it, we then mill the curd into the vat and salt the curd. The curd is then placed in moulds, lined with cheesecloth and put into the press.

7 Turning

Turning

We turn the cheese five times thoughout the afternoon.  This assists with drainage of the whey and helps the cheese to form a uniform shape. We check the titratable acidity during this process to ensure that it is rising. The following morning the cheese is turned once more and moved to a cooler room.

When making Corra Linn we take the cheeses out of the moulds, trim and rub a local rapeseed oil on the surface of the cheese, then re-cloth in traditional muslin cheesecloth and turn and re-press until the following morning.

8 Salting Salting

Salting

We dry salt our cheese by hand during the afternoon and place onto racks.

The Corra Linn is put into a separate maturing room on wooden racks after the cheese has been taken out of the press.

9 Piercing Piercing

Piercing

The piercing follows the salting and is presently done by hand using stainless steel skewers which we had purpose made.  The cheese is turned again and put back on stainless steel racks in our maturing room.

10 Maturing Maturing

Maturing

Our traditional farm buildings make perfect cheese making maturation rooms. Due to their thick stone walls they help keep a high level of humidity which is essestial for our cheeses.

The cheese is turned twice a week by hand until it is ready for sale or alternatively it is wrapped in foil and moved to a lower temperature room to continue its maturation.

The Corra Linn is rubbed down once a week and turned to ensure even maturation until it is ready for sale.