Cheese Wire title graphic
Issue No. 2 - August/September 1998
  Drawign of a mouse on a cheese wire
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Cheese Focus:
Smart's Double Gloucester

Farm Focus:
Milking your goat

Tools of the Trade:
Curd Knives

Gift Vouchers
Baby Cheddars

Cheese tips:
Using hard cheese rinds for flavouring soup

Double Gloucester Soufflé Omlette

Gift Vouchers

Maybe the answer to those awkward gift choosing moments could be solved for ever, the sock drawer given a rest and the cheese larder restored.

Gift vouchers are now available at £10 and £20 which can be used both in the shop or for mail order.

Welcome to the second issue of the Teddington Cheese Wire. We would like to thank everyone who wrote to us or called into the shop to tell us how much they enjoyed the first edition. We hope that you will enjoy our second edition just as much.

Photograph of a small boy on a huge Cheshire cheese

The Biggest Cheshire Cheese
Taken at the Cheshire Cheese Fair, June 1909.

Following our first issue we have welcomed a number of new members to our cheese club which continues to go from strength to strength. Our caption competition proved to be popular and we hope that those who have not won this time will try again.

In our next and subsequent issues we will add a readers section where we answer any questions that you may have about the world of cheese. We will also bring you the results of the 5th British Cheese Awards to be held this September at Cadogan Hall in Chelsea.

This event gives us an ideal opportunity to make contact with new British and Irish cheesemakers and to meet with our regular suppliers.

We are planning more expeditions to small farms in various parts of Europe and we hope to return with some real cheese treasures.

For those on line and using the internet we have now updated our site ( which now includes a shopping basket system to make ordering easier. Why not take another look!


Photograph of baby Montgomery cheddar truckles

Baby Cheddars for Christmas

Montgomery baby cheddar truckles are made for us at Manor Farm in the Spring and are matured ready for the Christmas dinner table. Only a small number are made each year and this Christmas we are reserving these cheeses for individual customers on a first come first served basis. Each cloth bound truckle weighs between 5 and 6lbs.


Alternatively, why not try a piece cut from our 25kg (56lb) large truckles. Available all year round.

Photograph of Montgomery cheddar cheese

Drawing of a vertical cheese knife

Vertical cheese knife:
This is passed through the curd twice, the second pass at 90º from the first.

Tools of the trade
Curd Knives

Curd knives have been used for hundreds of years and they come in many shapes and sizes but their function is basically the same. To understand how and why they are used some knowledge is needed about how cheese is made: Milk is poured into vats and allowed to sour. Souring is accelerated by the addition of a 'starter' - this can be a little sour milk from the previous day or a manufactured dried powder.

When the milk has soured a 'rennet' is added - this is an enzyme which causes the structure of the milk to change and causes it to set in a similar way to a blancmange. It is at this point that the curd knives are brought into use. They are passed through the mass cutting it one way, and then the other until there are thousands of small cubes of approximately 1cm in size. The small cubes release a liquid (whey) and the cubes (curds) gradually dry and shrink. The whey is drained off and the curds are used to make the cheese.

Drawing of a horizontal cheese knife

Horizontal cheese knife: This is passed through the curd once

Photograph of Smarts Double Gloucester
Cheese focus:
Double Gloucester

Diane Smart, Birdwood, Gloucestershire, England

Along the Vale of Gloucester and the Vale of Berkeley is the land of Gloucester cheese. It is believed to have been made there for over a thousand years and has been known both as Gloucester and Berkeley cheese.

Gloucester cheese is available as both double and single. The double is larger and fuller flavoured than the single, which possibly explains its name. It keeps for longer and therefore travels better. This is why it is more well-known then the single variety. Single Gloucester is made

with skimmed milk from the evening milking mixed with full cream milk from the morning milking. Double Gloucester uses full cream milk from both the evening and morning milkings, another possible reason for it being called Double. Both Gloucesters are sturdy cheeses. In times gone by cheese buyers would actually jump on any doubtful specimens to test their strength.

Although old cheeses, the Gloucesters only became popular at the beginning of the eighteenth century. This increase in popularity was linked to a new rind treatment which enabled the cheese to travel to the major towns and cities without spoiling. The treatment involved leaving the cheeses on the curing room floor which was regularly rubbed with bean and potato stalks, leaving a wet black deposit. The cheeses were turned twice a week. They developed rinds as tough as leather and thus improved their keeping qualities. Later came the practice of using carrot and beetroot juice to colour the cheese. This was done since the myth was rife that the rosier the colour the richer the cheese. Nowadays annatto is used for colouring.

Gloucester cheese has a rich history. The cheeses are used in various festivals which mark the beginning of Spring. One of these occurs on Rogation Sunday in the small village of Randwick, which in old Anglo-Saxon means 'the dairy farm on the hill'. Three cheeses are decorated with flowers and carried through the streets. They are then carried into the church accompanied by singing and dancing. After the removal of the decorations, the cheeses are rolled three times anti-clockwise around the church. They are then dressed up again and taken back to Randwick where one is cut up and distributed to the parishioners. The other two are kept for Wap Fair, the following Saturday, when they are rolled down the hill. Another ancient custom was the event held on Coopers Hill near Gloucester City, laterly on Whit Monday, formerly on Midsummer's day. Four cheeses were decorated with ribbons and set off down the hill with individuals taking chase in an attempt to catch them before they reached the bottom. Unfortunately, bruises and broken bones were frequently the result. The event was halted only this year (1998) by the police in the interest of public safety.

Smarts Double Gloucester is made from unpasteurised cows' milk with a vegetarian rennet. It has a bright orange waxy paste, a strong mellow flavour and a tough natural rind. Cheeses are aged for at least four months but can be matured for eight months and more. Each cheese is approximately 3kg in weight, 50 to 75mm in height, 250mm in diameter and has a 48% fat content. The cheese is ideal in salads, can be used in cooking or as part of a cheese board. It tastes excellent with a glass of red wine and dry biscuits.

Double Gloucester Soufflé Omelette
serves 2

5 large eggs
100g Smart's Double Gloucester (grated)
2tbsp chopped chives
freshly ground black pepper pinch of salt
butter for frying

1. Separate the eggs.
2. Beat the whites until they form soft peaks.
3. Beat the yolks and season with salt and pepper.
4. Fold the yolks into the egg whites together with half of the Double Gloucester and the chives.
5. Warm the butter in a frying pan and then add the mixture and fry for 2 minutes.
6. Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top and place under the grill for 2 minutes.
7. Serve on a salad of mixed leaves.

- Cheese Tips -
Using hard cheese rinds for flavouring soup

Cheeses which are matured for one, two or even three years develop a rind which is thick, hard and dry. This rind is usually discarded and the inner softer cheese is eaten. The rind is basically concentrated cheese and forms a strong protective layer for the remaining cheese. Older cheeses, for example Parmesan, tend to be the most expensive and consequently, discarding the rinds can be particularly painful.

A solution to this problem is to be found in Italy where the rinds of Parmesan, when cleaned, are dropped into soup during its making and impart a wonderful flavour and aroma. After a little time the softened rinds are 'fished out' and eaten.

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Drawing number 1 showing how to milk a goat

Drawing number 2 showing how to milk a goat

Drawing number 3 showing how to milk a goat

Drawing number 4 showing how to milk a goat

Milking your goat

In our first issue of the Teddington Cheese Wire we outlined the points to look out for when choosing your milking goat. No doubt the many readers who have found and bought their goat will now need to learn how to milk it.

Cleanliness is of the utmost most importance during and after milking. You should arrange the milking away from the goat shed in a separate room or stall, with a further room next to the milking area which will be a dairy. There should be a door separating the two. When milking the goat, it can stand on a platform with the milker standing behind, or a small milking stool can be employed with the goat standing on the ground.

Whilst learning to milk it may be a good idea to distract your goat from your 'ham-fisted' efforts by giving it some goat concentrates to eat. Avoid foods such as turnips, swedes, kale and silage during, and for four hours before milking, since this will taint the milk. It is also advisable to restrain the goat with a collar until you can milk expertly.

Just before milking, when your goat is tied up and eating, her udder and hind quarters need to be wiped down with a damp cloth soaked in a solution of a suitable udder wash. A small amount of udder cream should be put on the teats and hands. If you have not yet taken possession of your goat, it may be a good idea to practice the milking technique described below, with the finger of an old rubber glove with a pin-hole in the tip.

Gently grasp the teat with the hand but never let the tips of the fingers touch the teat. Pressure is applied by the first finger in order to hold the milk in the teat, and then by the second, third and fourth fingers in turn in order to force the milk out. The grip is then relaxed to allow more milk into the teat, then the procedure is repeated. The arms should be kept quite still with the hands doing all the work. The first four jets of milk from each side should be milked into a strip cup. This is a special container, holding about one pint, with a handle and a shelf of black plastic halfway down the inside; with it you can detect flaky or stringy milk which will indicate mastitis and other problems.

When the milk stops flowing, gently massage the udder until there is more milk in the teats and then milk out as before. Continue until the udder is empty. Milking is easy once mastered but it important to avoid the bell ringers style, which although is the quickest , is not good for the goat. When milking is completed the churn should be taken to your dairy for making cheese or straining, bottling and cooling until needed in the kitchen.


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