HUM­BLE BE­GIN­NINGS

Derbyshire Life - - Food & Drink -

While it’s com­mon to bor­row the odd bit of milk from your neigh­bour, So­phie and James took it to an­other level with their busi­ness and use milk from a neigh­bour’s herd of tra­di­tional black-and-white (Hol­steinFriesian) cows mixed with some Brown Swiss. ‘The milk is col­lected in our 1,000 litre tank and driven the very short jour­ney back to our farm. We then start the long process of mak­ing the mill­stones.’

The whole process is like a well-oiled ma­chine, but orig­i­nally the busi­ness started with more hum­ble roots and, as with many small busi­nesses, the kitchen ta­ble was at the fore­front of the ini­tial pro­duc­tion. ‘We started mak­ing cheese in the home kitchen be­fore we had fin­ished cre­at­ing our cream­ery,’ ex­plains James. ‘The cheese was first launched at a very good lo­cal Christ­mas mar­ket and through lo­cal sup­port­ive re­tail­ers, mainly in Sh­effield. We did most of the build­ing works on the cream­ery our­selves and bought nearly all of our equip­ment sec­ond hand from a cheese­maker who was given the op­por­tu­nity to buy the farm they were ten­ant farm­ing and couldn’t con­tinue to make cheese.’

‘We were very lucky,’ adds So­phie. ‘We had to source a stan­dard size up­right fridge from France that has very high hu­mid­ity and higher than nor­mal fridge tem­per­a­tures. This is the bloom­ing fridge and helps the cheeses to grow their white coat with­out them turn­ing into hard hockey pucks. Soft cheeses are very sen­si­tive to room con­di­tions and can dry out very eas­ily. An­other of the many vari­ables that can af­fect a cheese make.’

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