Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Keen's Farmhouse Cheddar

Traditional Farmhouse Cheddar has been made by at Moorhayes Farm (Wincanton, Somerset) England since 1899 when the Keen's family moved there. The damp climate of Somerset has throughout history been recognised as the best for growing lush pastures.

The cheddar is made with milk produced by the cows on the farm, using a recipe which has been passed down through the generations, and time-honoured methods of cheese making. Using unpasteurised milk, it is very important to keep a strict eye on the animals, their feed, and milk output. An un-pasteurized cheese has more character than that of a cheese made with pasteurised milk. All the natural flavours are kept in the milk and not removed through the pasteurisation process, producing a sweet, creamy, rich cheddar.
Milk from our own cows, which are grazed on the lush pastures at the northern end of the Blackmoor Vale, is warmed with a traditional starter culture which sours the milk, before adding natural rennet to produce a junket. The cheese maker cuts the junket in to curds and whey. Heating again hardens the curds and when the correct acidity is reached the whey is drained from the curds and the Cheddaring by hand process starts.

The curds are textured by cutting into blocks, layering and turning. To arrest the acidity growth the curd is broken up and salt added. After curing the curds are put in moulds to be pressed. Cotton cloth is smoothed onto the skin with lard and the cheese is ready to mature where temperature and humidity are closely monitored.

The traditional method of cloth wrapping creates a 'rind' or 'skin' from the cheese itself. This allows the cheese to literally breathe which leads to natural changes, developments and complexities in the flavours. Matured to a minimum of 10 to 12 months , though it can be aged for up to 18 months.

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