Lancashire Cheese

This is a cheese that is steeped in history; because a lot of the farmers in Lancashire were smallholders, when making cheese, they didn't have enough curd to make a full batch, therefore, they often lumped together the produce from two or three milking sessions. Here is a recipe that emulates the process the farmers of Lancashire went through; however, if you are unsure about using active ingredients, you can always use a starter and just add some single cream to give texture.

Ingredients:

1 gallon of full fat milk (5 litres)
½ pint of active buttermilk
4 oz. plain active yogurt
1 oz. Salt (non ionised)
15 drops of Rennet diluted in half a cup of boiled/cooled water,
(please note: you should check the cartons of Buttermilk and Yogurt to ensure they are active or live culture)

Method:

In a large pan, slowly bring the milk up to 88°F or 31°C. Shake up the buttermilk in the carton and add it to the milk and stir until fully mixed in, (if using starter and cream now is the time to add these). Add the yogurt to the pan and whisk to ensure it is fully diluted into the milk.

Leave the milk to rest at temperature for 30 minutes, then add the rennet and stir well. Cover and leave for 60 minutes at 88°F or 31°C or until a clean cut can be achieved.

Once a clean cut is achieved cut the curds into 1/4 inch cubes. Using a slotted spoon, gently fold the curds upwards so that you can break up any large squares of curd. Rest the curds for a further 30 minutes at temperature.

After 30 minutes the curds should have sunk to the bottom of the pan. Stir for a further 30 minutes just to ensure the curds don't matt together.

Line a Colander with a cheese cloth then ladle or spoon the curds into the colander to drain. Tie the corners of the cloth and hang curds to drain for a further 30 minutes. Once drained, place the curds (still in the cloth) into a 4" or 10 Cm (Tomme) mould and press at 10 lbs for 4 hours.

Remove from the press, unwrap the curds and break them up into ½ inch sized pieces, add the salt and gently mix together.

Put the curd back into the mould after lining it with the cheese cloth and press at 15 pounds of pressure for 24 hours, after which time the cheese should be able to support itself. Place the cheese on a cheese mat and turn twice a day for at least a week, then once every couple of days there after.

I'm a natural rind cheese maker, so let the cheese form its own rind over the next 3 months, just dressing the cheese occasionally with salty water to remove any mould, it should be ready to eat within 3 to 6 months.