A flavoursome nutty cheddar.
Cheddar is one of the most famous
of all cheeses It takes its name from the village of Cheddar in
Somerset where the cheese was first made. However, to be called
a cheddar a cheese need only employ the making process called
Cheddar cheese is made with fresh
morning milk mixed with the previous evening's milk. A lactic
starter is added to promote souring, and then rennet is added
to cause the milk to coagulate and to form a curd. The curd is
then cut into cubes and the mass is heated and held at a temperature
just above blood temperature, for thirty to fifty minutes. It
is then allowed to settle and the whey is run off. The remaining,
drying curds starts to matt together and the mass is cut into
slabs, which are then repeatedly turned to help remove more of
the liquid whey. This turning process is known as 'cheddaring'.
When enough whey has been discharged the curd is then milled,
salted and packed into cloth lined metal moulds. They are pressed
for a day or more and then removed from the moulds to be wrapped
in cheesecloth and then moved to the maturing room. The atmosphere
in the maturing room is both cool and humid and the cheese sits
here from six months to two years.
The majority of cheddar is now
made on a factory scale. Huge automated machines are used which
can cheddar 14 tonnes of cheese in two hours. The curds are milled,
salted and pressed into square moulds to produce block cheddar.
Almost all the work from the emptying of the road tankers carrying
milk to the final blocks of cheese leaving the factory, is done
by machine and in only a few hours. The blocks of cheese are wrapped
in plastic and matured for only a couple of months. This modern
method of manufacture has led to a lowering in the costs of making
cheddar: the high cost of labour is drastically reduced; high
levels of stock maturing for long periods of time tying up capital
is avoided; plastic wrapping avoids moisture loss and since cheese
is sold by weight, the moisture is valuable to the makers.
The real hand-made cheddars are
far superior to the factory made alternatives and available to
those who are prepared to pay the extra. Of course, factory cheddar
is fine for topping ready made meals & basic sandwiches, but for
the cheese-board no less than a real Cheddar is acceptable. The
making of real farmhouse cheddar is now restricted to a hand full
of farms, and the traditional unpasteurised cheese is only made
on three farms. Ours is made by the Montgomerys' who have been
making the cheese at Manor farm for generations. Their cheese-maker
Harold was making the cheese at the farm for forty years, and
in the later years with his son Michael. Harold has recently retired,
but fortunately his son Michael has continued with the help of
a new cheese-maker called Stephen.
Montomerys' cheddar can be matured
for 18months to produce a full nutty flavour and a dry texture.
However, at the Teddington Cheese we prefer to mature the cheese
for 12 to 14 months where the full nutty flavour is accompanied
by a slightly moister texture. On stripping away the cheese-cloth
and cutting open the cheese the most amazing aroma fills the room
and the first taste of each and every cheese is one of the highlights
of being a cheese-monger. Cheddar is a very versatile cheese,
which can be cooked, grated or eaten on its own. However the quality
of Montgomery's cheddar ensures that it makes a statement when
added to the cheeseboard, and is sure to impress those who have
eaten nothing but block cheddar before.
Each cheddar truckle is approximately
40cm in diameter, 30cm high, 25kg in weight and has a fat content