With cheese stocks low after Christmas – January and February at our Dargate Dairy has been spent producing new batches of some of our delicious cheeses.
We are a local, artisan cheesemaker and we make our cheeses in small quantities – they are lavished with a huge amount of care and attention before they reach your fridges.
One chilly day in early February, we videoed Jane, Mica and Ali starting a batch of Canterbury Cobble and Ashmore cheeses. It’s fascinating to see the subtle differences in the process of producing the two very different products.
Making Canterbury Cobble and Ashmore cheese
Canterbury Cobble is a semi-hard cheese with a grey-white, velvety rind. In order to achieve a softer texture, the milk is heated to a higher temperature and gently, intermittently stirred. This helps keep more whey in the curd which creates the softness. Ashmore, however, is a hard cheese which needs to be stirred constantly to knock more whey out of the curd.
The first stage in cheesemaking for both products involves an awful lot of stirring! The curds are also regularly ‘cut’ to help create the perfect consistency.
When ready, the Cobble mixture is transferred by hand to colander-like moulds where the whey is able to leak out.
Cheeses are then squeezed in vintage presses to remove even more whey – particularly important for harder, dryer cheeses such as Ashmore which are pressed for two days.
The cheeses are then transferred to our maturing room – as they mature they develop a stronger, richer flavour. Our Ashmore cheese takes between five months and two and a half years to age, whereas the Canterbury Cobble is ready in just eight weeks.
Behind the scenes at Cheesemakers of Canterbury
It’s such an interesting experience watching cheesemakers at work, especially those as passionate about their products as our team at Cheesemakers of Canterbury.
We will be continuing to record other cheesemaking processes at the Dairy as they give a fascinating insight into how your favourite cheeses are made.
During lockdown, locals are very welcome to come up to the Farm Shop at Dargate to buy our cheeses and other products. They’ll be served by one of our cheesemakers who love to answer any questions about the cheesemaking process and provide insights into the different cheeses we make.