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Moorlands Cheesemaking                                                  Welcome to our blog

 


Novemeber 2018. Stocking Fillers


                      

               If you have an accomplished or budding cheese maker in the family why not spoil them this year with some little cheese making treats, stuffed deep in their stocking.

The Combined Cheese Kit remains our best seller, but once someone has a kit there are numerous extras just to show you care, even if you don’t necessarily understand their addiction!

Moorlands has a range of useful essentials which we have put together as perfect stocking fillers, from cow and goat labels, white and blue mould bacteria, stocking size 60ml bottles of annatto, calcium chloride and rennet, little pots of organic salt and citric acid, twin pack syringes, dinky plastic moulds, a handy humidity meter and even useful, cut to size plastic matting to aid whey drainage, to name a few ……

If you are buying a loved one a starter culture they have been dying to try or more supplies of rennet, these will need to be added to the stocking last minute/night before and will be provided in an insulated jiffy bag. Full storage instructions will be on all labels.

For the practically well behaved, a smart stainless steel cheese iron says it all really, especially if it’s engraved with the recipient’s name.


October 2018.  Christmas Stilton

Christmas is galloping towards us having just recovered from last years it seems!

A homemade Stilton has to be one of the show-offiest contributions anyone could bring to a feast; knocking homemade Slow Gin right off the table. Undoubtedly the biggest mistake is to over mature. A large stilton (7kg) is only 8-10 weeks old at point of sale, the smaller (2kg) stilton probably only 6 weeks. Of course your home made cheese will continue to dry out as it is consumed over Christmas into the New Year, so important not to make it too soon, allowing it to dry out before you even start to eat it.

A Stilton-style cheese can be made using either the Moorlands Combined or Hard Cheese Making Kit following the easy step by step instructions for the Hard Cheese and introducing Penicillium Roquefort at the same time as the mesophilic starter. Once out of the mould, use the smallest, sterilised knitting needle or skewer you can find, prick your cheese 20 -25 times, from top to bottom encouraging blue mould growth throughout. Continue to turn your cheese regularly over the next 6 weeks.

Crackers, of course, fresh figs, grapes and apple are ideal accompaniments to your Stilton, which should always be served at room temperature. Two other useful tips, store your blue cheeses separately to avoid pungency cross contamination and wrap in our waxed or ultra-fine cheese wrap to ensure freshness. 

You still have plenty of time, so seriously, why not have a go ........


September 2018. Kefir, a 'Very' Good Bacteria 

There are almost too many reasons why we should all be drinking Kefir every day. This probiotic culture, enjoying a revival right now, for good reason, is simply bursting with antioxidants, antibodies, metabolites, vitamins and minerals. Over the past 40 years we have been told ‘not to eat this, not to drink that’, but now finally through better education we have the truth on good and bad bacteria. ** The same also applies to healthy and unhealthy fats **.

Originating from Eastern Europe, Kefir can be sweetened with honey, maple syrup, sugar or pureed fruit. Making your own Kefir will provide your gut with live bacteria, essential for helping maintain a healthy, well balanced bowel while aiding your immune system. Another incentive, if you needed one, it’s cheaper to make your own.

Heat 4ltrs of milk to 30c, add and mix in 1 sachet of Kefir culture. Cover and let set at room temperature, undisturbed for 12 hours or until thickened to desired consistency. Your finished Kefir may be stored in the fridge for up to one week. May also be re-cultured. Kefir is truly the ultimate culture that keeps giving.

 


August 2018     Fascinating History

Image result for pont l'eveque

Pont l’Eveque is an ancient rind washed soft cheese made from cow’s milk, similar to a Brie or Camembert only with a richer, deeper flavour with an aroma to match. In the thirteenth century known as Angelo, Norman farmers developed Angelo into the soft cheese known today as Pont l’Eveque.

The flavour is not for the faint hearted, nevertheless being consumed all over France for hundreds of years, where its great character is second to none and considered a delicacy. Rather harshly, the aroma of Pont l’Eveque has been likened to a ‘dirty farmyard’; perhaps ‘Normandy countryside’ is a more appealing description for its infamous, full bodied bouquet.

Maturing times for this old soft cheese are relatively short, eaten fresh within 7-8 days from production or wrapped and stacked together on a shelf, between 12 – 16c will be ripe in 5-6 weeks. Make and enjoy both ways ….

Everything you need to have a go yourself making this super little cheese is available from Moorlands. The traditional Pont l’Eveque small square mould below will produce a 450 – 500g cheese, coming with a free practical fact sheet.

 


July 2018    Lost, Not Forgotten

Junket is an old English pudding made with milk hardly ever mentioned anymore, when it is, it’s with a great fondness. Years ago given to poorly children with inflamed throats to soothe away pain, while nourishing the body when perhaps the appetite was lost.

Being so easy to make, with very few ingredients, Junket is an ideal treat for busy families packed full of healthy reasons to give it a go this Sunday for pudding; Calcium, Protein, Potassium, Vitamins D and A to name a few ……

Gently warm 1 pint of milk to blood temperature. Add 1 teaspoon of liquid rennet, sugar to taste and a drop of vanilla essence. Stir then pour into a waiting pudding bowl or individual dishes and chill until set. Once set, finely grated nutmeg over the top really does create a taste sensation. Junket is delicious on its own, served with fresh fruit or used like a custard, dished up with crumbles and tarts.
 

Junket, a little different to cheese making although the principle remains the same, magically/biologically turning a liquid into an edible solid.

For more useful information on cheese making, please visit www.cheesemaking.co.uk/qa


June 2018     TASTE THE BEER

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One of the many advantages of making your own cheese at home is you have free rein to add the ingredients you find most appealing.Popular flavourings include spices, herbs, onions/chives and fruits such as cranberries and apricots, but have you ever thought of adding beer. Using a mature cheese, like Cheddar, break up into small bits and add the beer.You then reform and repress the cheese, now with its delicious, added flavour. In fact, this is how the majority of flavoured cheeses are made.

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If you prefer, you can rind wash the cheese in beer, a process generally used for small cheeses of around 2kg, a method used down the centuries by Cistercian monks. Simply wash in a beer solution, to which 3% salt has been added, twice a week. The cheese needs to be kept on racks in 100% humidity, resulting in a very tasty, if smelly, cheese. This can be applied to a variety of cheese types, including Stinking Bishop, which is a semi soft cheese washed in a perry made from stinking bishop pears. Caerphilly is another popular cheese which is often rind washed.

Whichever method of adding beer to your cheese, we’re sure you’ll enjoy the result. For more information about cheese making, please visit www.cheesemaking.co.uk/qa


May 2018     Revival of an Old French Tradition

The use of ash on cheese is traced back to small farmhouse cheese makers in France, who preserved their autumn cheeses through the winter months by coating them in an ash and salt mixture. Ash was originally made from grape vine cuttings or charcoal from the fireplace, providing an instant rind for protection and neutralised surface acidity, while allowing natural moulds to continue to grow. The ash, or activated charcoal which it is sometimes called, allowed moisture to be drawn out and the curd to mature without the rind becoming rancid or sticky. The end result is a condensed, nutty texture with a strong creamy flavour. Ashing will sweeten the surface of your cheese and prepare it for Penicillium Candidum mould growth, inhibiting unwanted bacteria.

 Brief directions for use: - Mix ash with your salt before applying and within a few days the black rind become greyer as the white mould grows through – within 8-10 days the entire rind should be white

Witnessing a new trend amongst Artisan and home cheese makers is always exciting; ever keen to try something new to them, but which was tried and tested many generations ago.

Ash is readily available from Moorlands https://www.cheesemaking.co.uk/cheese-making-ash
 


May 2018     The Waiting Game

Once bitten by the cheese-making bug, you will go to extraordinary lengths to provide the perfect maturing cave.

Moorlands has dedicated, imaginative customers sharing their solutions to ensure their home-made cheese has the best start in life.

UK cities are particular hot spots, with cheese making happening in flats, terraces and even bedsits. Under stairs cupboards are being turned into caves; insulated boxes are springing up on balconies, in garden sheds and garages. Very important to make sure your insulated box is rodent proof though ...  

Of course, most modern fridges have much better temperature control nowadays, with the bottom salad compartment being perfect for maturing soft cheeses and great to store matured, hard cheese between meals. Making hard cheese is all about the waiting game, but making cheese regularly will reward you with a succession of delicious achievements.    


March 2018     Top Ten Cheese Making Tips

Making cheese at home is something most people are capable of doing, it’s just a case of bearing in mind a set of basic tips, which will enable you to get great results.

1.    Be sure to keep all equipment and preparation areas really clean to prevent unwanted mould growth.

2.    Get organised. Check that you have everything to hand before you start with regard to ingredients and equipment. If you don’t already have them, you’ll need to invest in some basic equipment before starting out in cheese making, including a large bowl, long-handled spoon or skimmer, cheesecloth, a colander, large pan, thermometer and measuring cups/spoons. If you’re making hard cheese, then a press will also be required. You can buy good quality equipment at www.cheesemaking.co.uk

3.    Write everything down. In the back of 'An Introduction To Cheesemaking At Home' there are blank pages to do just that. When you turn out your first home made cheese and it tastes delicious, you will be able to do it all again. Perhaps it may need tweaking, i.e. a little less salt or a few more herbs, keeping notes will help you create your ideal cheese.

4.    Use good quality, fresh milk to make your cheese – UHT milk is not suitable! Ideally raw (untreated) milk is best, although you can use pasteurised milk, preferably organic. The most important point about the milk is that it must be non-homogenised.

5.    Depending on the type of cheese you choose to make, you will need rennet and specific cultures, all of which can be obtained from the Moorlands website.

6.    If you’re just starting out in cheese making, the best option may be to purchase one of our comprehensive kits that include full instructions, together with items such as rennet, starter, cheesecloth, thermometer, mat etc, depending on which kit you choose www.cheesemaking.co.uk/cheese-making-cheese-making-kits

7.    The best place to make low temperature cheese is in your kitchen sink! To gently heat your milk, place it in a pan placed in a sink of hot water, topping up the water from a kettle as required.

8.    You don’t necessarily need to buy specific cheese salt, fine grade cooking/table salt will suffice.

9.    If applying wax to your cheese, ensure that the cheese is completely dry before you start, to prevent mould growth.

10.  Be adventurous. Cheese making is not an exact science.

For more information and advice please visit our Q&A page

www.cheesemaking.co.uk/qa    


February 2018     Know Your Source

You may have made various food related New Year’s resolutions that you may or may not have succeeded in keeping. Perhaps you vowed to give up chocolate, eat more fruit and veg, limit the carbs or cut back on alcohol?

Whatever dietary promises you made, a good approach to food is to eat a balanced diet (a well-worn phrase, but a good mix of different foods in moderate amounts seems wise) and to understand more about where your food originates and what it contains.  

We certainly care more about the use of additives, rearing of livestock and source of origin than we did in the past, which is very positive. Of course, the more we make our own foods, using locally sourced ingredients where possible, or at least those with a reliable provenance, the more we can be sure of what we’re eating.

You may bake your own bread, make meals from scratch and even grow some of your own veg, so why not add cheese making to your list? By making your own cheese you can select the type of milk you use (sheep’s, cow’s or goat’s) from your preferred source, use our high quality rennet (including vegetarian and GM free) and cultures/starters and add natural flavourings and herbs of your choice for added interest. That way you’ll know exactly what’s in your cheese and how it was made!      


January 2018     A New Start

With the start of a new year you may be considering taking up a new hobby or pastime. There are so many great activities available, but if you’re looking for something really different that provides a tasty end result, then cheesemaking could be the pastime for you.   Cheese is a very nutritious foodstuff (an added bonus if you’ve made a New Year’s resolution to eat more healthily) as it is a great source of protein, calcium and vitamins.

The options you have when making cheese are also endless, with a great variety of hard and soft cheeses to choose from and the scope to add herbs, seasoning and flavourings of your choice to create even more possibilities.   A great way to get started is with one of our comprehensive kits that include the essentials to get you started, together with full instructions.www.cheesemaking.co.uk/cheese-making-cheese-making-kits

We also supply a range of equipment and ingredients, such as rennet, to provide you with everything that you need to make delicious cheese.   So what are you waiting for? Take up cheesemaking today!  


December 2017     Christmas With Moorlands

 

It’s that time of year again when you find yourself scratching your head, trying to think of unusual Christmas gifts for those hard-to-buy-for people.

Maybe you’re looking for a present for someone who seems to have just about everything! Or perhaps you’re searching for something to give to a couple or a whole family as a joint gift. You may be totally out of ideas, so we have a great suggestion - choose one of the great cheese making kits from our selection at Moorlands!

From budding young chefs to seasoned food connoisseurs, our kits are sure to please everyone. Our popular kid’s kit is a definite winner, whilst our combined kit contains what you need to make both hard and soft cheeses.

Take a look at these and more at:
www.cheesemaking.co.uk/cheese-making-cheese-making-kits

Of course, by giving a cheese making kit this Christmas, you’re not only giving the opportunity to enjoy a pleasurable pastime, but the ongoing gift of lovely fresh cheese to enjoy!   Merry Christmas from Moorlands!
 
 


November 2017     A Cheesy Tradition

A traditional part of Christmas is to serve a tasty, festive cheeseboard, whether that’s after a hearty lunch or dinner for family, or as part of an informal drinks party for friends and neighbours. A Yorkshire tradition is to serve cheese with the Christmas cake, a practice that dates back to the 1900s.   Favourite choices for your festive spread may include vintage Cheddar, Stilton, Brie, smoked cheeses and maybe some Wensleydale with cranberries or White Stilton with apricots. What would be your number one Christmas cheese choice?  

Whichever specific cheeses you choose, it’s a good idea to have a mixture of hard and soft cheeses, offering a variety of flavours and textures. What you serve them with is up to you: savoury biscuits, grapes or simply a glass of wine or port.   Of course, to add even more variety to your cheeseboard, you can make your own cheese, to which you can add your personal choice of herbs, spices and flavourings, giving your Christmas spread that truly unique touch.   Regardless of which cheeses you select or how you serve them, there’s no doubt it’s just not Christmas without some delicious cheese!    
 

 

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