Colwick Cheese recipe

This is a new cheese on the block (or Cheeseboard) for the majority of people; however, the reality is it’s a revival of a cheese from the 1600s. It’s a fresh, soft curd cheese with an individual or ‘signature’ bowl shape. This bowl shape can be used to hold fruit, jam (jelly), honey, or savoury filling can be used such as onions, chutneys or even a gently homemade pesto; of course, it can be eaten just on its own (Fig 1).

 

Its sudden notoriety has been fuelled by Jamie Oliver and Jimmy Doherty in their new show on British TV.

 

The village of Colwick is a small rural community south of the City of Nottingham, situated on the River Trent. Recently the cheese has been revived by Alan and Jane Hewson using traditional methods and milk from their rare breed, Red Poll Cattle. See their fabulous website here.

Figure 1

How I make Colwick Cheese:

Interestingly enough, the recipes I have been able to find do not use starter cultures and that may be because historically milk was not pasteurised or had cream removed. Most recipes also produce quite large amounts of cheese; this is for a smaller amount of cheese. It will make about 300 grams or ¾ lb of cheese. I have used two round moulds (95X80mm) and one square mould (11X11mm) (Fig 2).

 

Ingredients:

 

3.5 Litres Pasteurised, semi skimmed (2% fat) cows milk.
¼ teaspoon Mesophilic starter.
¼ teaspoon Calcium Chloride (optional).
½ teaspoon Rennet diluted in half a cup of boiled then cooled water, (for this recipe because Alan and Jane Hewson use it, I have used vegetarian Rennet).

Figure 2

 

Method:

In a stainless steel pan warm the milk to 86°F (39°C) stirring regularly. Add the starter and stir it in (I usually introduce the starter as I warm the milk in all of my cheese making). Leave the warm milk to stand for about ¾ to 1 hour.

If using, add the Calcium Chloride and stir this in, leave it to stand for 5 minutes. Add the Rennet and stir in well with a slotted spoon or whisk (about 1 minute). Leave the milk with the lid on the pan to help retain temperature for about one hour, it should be set and giving a clean break by then, this is what you want to achieve.

I have seen a recipe that suggests you can mark the curd with the top of the mould and cut this shape out, lift it and set to one side (this is to place on the top of the mould after filling) but I don't do this.

Line your mould with damp cheese cloth and then gently remove the curd and place in the mould. No, I have not forgotten to cut the curd into squares, this cheese calls for uncut curd to be placed in the moulds to drain naturally; this is how the bowl shape is formed.

As the cheese drains in the mould top it up until you have used all of the curd in the pan (Fig 3). As the cheese drains it will cling to the sides of the cheese cloth in the mould.

I use the back of a dessert spoon to go round the sides of the mould gently rolling back the cheese and letting it form the lip of the cheese (Fig 4); as I do this, I pull the cloth tight.

Once the cheese has reduced by about a third, cover the cheese by folding over the spare cloth which has been left due to the drainage of the cheese and your folding down of the cheese. Leave the moulds on a draining rack for 24 hours, the cheese should, by then be manageable (Fig 5).

Figure 3 Figure 4 Figure 5 Figure 6 Figure 7

 

Remove the cheese from the mould by pulling it out using the cloth. Gently fold back the cloth (Fig 6) and place on the draining tray to continue draining – in theory it's now ready to eat, I prefer to leave it for a further 24 hours sitting in a draining box in the fridge (fig 7). The cheese will continue to drain for a few more days in a draining box, therefore this will require you to empty the box every 12 hours or so.

In the fridge this cheese will last for about two weeks, by then it will have formed a natural dull white mould skin.

 

It's a fresh Cheese, it indicates that English palates are becoming more discerning, so please, make this cheese and enjoy it.

 

The penultimate picture is at 24 hours (Fig 8), and with some of my honey it's delicious (Fig 9).

Figure 8 Figure 9