The craft of farmhouse cheesemaking
The first step in the cheesemaking process is of course milking. Our herd is milked each morning and evening. Already some of the qualities of the final product have been determined; the breed of our cows, the pasture where the cow has been grazing, the time of year, the climate and even the time of milking. All of these elements come together to give us our main ingredient.
2. Into The Cheese Vat
The fresh milk flows under gravity from the milking parlour to the cheese dairy, where it is pastuerised and poured into the cheese vat where Norma, our cheesemaker begins to apply her craft, using her own particular method to begin transforming our herd’s milk into cheese. The process begins by adding starter cultures to ripen the milk and then a vegetarian rennet, which causes the milk to coagulate into a jelly-like mass.
3. Separating Whey From Curd
This solid mass is gently cut, then slowly heated and stirred until the desired curd texture has been achieved. The vat is then pitched and the whey is drained. Our whey is used to feed our pigs and as a fertiliser.
The cheddared cheese blocks are milled. At this point the milled curds have a delightfully squeaky texture. We sprinkle salt on to the milled curds and they are allowed to mellow.
6. Filling The Moulds & Pressing
The curds are then piled into moulds by hand and placed in our cheese press overnight. At this stage the curds knit together to form Bó Rua Farm cheddar.
7. Into The Cellar
The next morning the cheddar is removed from the press and moved to the maturing room where it is placed on timber shelves. It will spend the next nine months in this room at a constant controlled temperature and humidity. It will be turned at regular intervals through the maturation phase. This is an important time for our cheese and will often mean the difference between a good cheese and a great one.
8. To The Shop
We regularly taste and grade each batch and only when we believe the cheddar is perfectly matured we cut, pack and dispatch to our customers all over the country.