Wensleydale Cheese recipe

Yet again, one of my favourite English cheeses, it was originally made in North Yorkshire by Monks; it is reputed to have been introduced to North Yorkshire by the French Monks who settled there, originally it utilised the milk of the sheep which the monks bred for meat and wool, however, it is now made with Cows milk. I have to pay homage to Wallace and Gromit for reasserting this cheese onto the world stage.

It has a mild acidic taste with a creamy yet slight crumbly texture. It takes me back to my youth because it was one of the cheeses I could enjoy when my palate was young. I remember it as a white cheese; however, there is a train of thought which suggests it should have some Blue in it.

Ingredients:

10 Litres of full fat milk

½ teaspoon of Mesophilic starter

15/20 drops of Rennet diluted in a ¼ cup of boiled then cooled water

½ tablespoon of salt

½ teaspoon of Penicillium Roqueforti if you wish to add this.

Method:

In your usual cheese making pan warm the milk to 30°C (86°F) and stir in the starter (include the Penicillium Roqueforti at this point if you are going to add it.) Once at temperature with additives in, stand for about 1 hour.

Add the Rennet and leave for about an hour or until a clean cut can be achieved (Fig 1).

Cut the curds into 5cm or 2inch cubes and allow to rest for 30 minutes or so (Fig 2) whilst gently warming the curds and whey to 35°C (82°F); then stand for 15 minutes.

Using a slotted spoon, transfer the curd into a cheese cloth lined colander and allow to drain for 30 minutes.

Place the curds back into your drained pan or a plastic bowl, then break them up into 1 cm pieces and gently rub the salt in.

Transfer the curds into a Cheese cloth lined, 1 Kilo Mould, fold over the cloth and using a follower press at 5 KG (10 pounds) for 12 hours.

Figure 1 Figure 2 Figure 3 Figure 4

 

After 12 hours the cheese should be manageable, gently take it out of the mould, remove the cloth and if required, put back in the mould at 10 or 12 Pounds for a couple of hours, just to remove the cloth creases (Fig 3).

Once this is done, and you are happy with the shape of the cheese (Fig 4) you can bandage the cheese using lard or you could wax it; you could however, just do what I do, let the cheese form a natural rind in a ripening box, especially if you have added the Roqueforti, it will need the air to turn blue.

It will be ready to eat at about 6 to 8 weeks, or leave it a little longer for slightly more Piquancy, serve with a sweet pickle or Apple sauce.