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Ingredients:

  • 8 litres Somerset Dairy whole milk
  • 3.5ml vegetarian rennet
  • DVI starter

All photos were taken on my iPhone (hence the poor quality) and posted directly to the handyface twitter – follow me!

The recipe is a combination of information found on the Stichelton and Stilton websites.

Somerset Dairy milk

Somerset Dairy milk

Adding the DVI starter

Adding the DVI starter

Heat the milk to 29C, add the penicillium roquefortii and DVI starter, stirring well.

Leave for 30 minutes.

Adding the rennet

Adding the rennet

Add the previously diluted rennet and leave to set in a warm place for around 60 minutes.

A comparatively small amount of rennet was used so the curds would set slower, as we’re trying to achieve a creamy texture so need to slow the whey draining as much as possible.

Interestingly, the Stichelton website indicates that they use an extremely small amount of rennet, and leave to set over a long period.

This is what gives Stichelton it’s lovely creamy texture – nicer than Stilton in my opinion!

Cutting the curd

Cutting the curd

Cut the curd into 2cm slices and leave to rest in the whey for around 45 minutes.

Resting cut curds

Resting cut curds

Give the curds a gentle swirl by hand to release more whey, and leave to rest for another 30 minutes.

Draining the curd

Draining the curd

Gently ladle the curd into a cheesecloth-lined colander (or similar) to allow more whey to drain away.

Further draining

Further draining

Once the curd has solidified a little, tie a knot (ideally a Stilton knot, if you can!) in the top of the cheesecloth and allow to drain for around 90 minutes.

Final draining

Final draining

Finally, place the tied curd on an angled board and allow to drain until the whey has stopped streaming out – about 40 minutes or so.

Drained curd

Drained curd

Slicing the curd

Slicing the curd

Carefully open release the curd from the cheesecloth and leave to rest for a few minutes before slicing.

I say “carefully”, as the first curd set I tried draining in this way was completely liquid in the middle, and burst out everywhere when removed from the cheesecloth!

Salting the curd

Salting the curd

Cut the curd into 2cm cubes and sprinkle on some salt – around 20g per kg of curd.

Curd in moulds

Curd in moulds

Ladle the curd carefully into sterilised moulds and leave for 5 days, turning each day.

This will allow the curd to naturally drain further, without being pressed.

The cheese is not pressed, as the holes left between the curds will be where the blue mould eventually grows inside!

First signs of blue

First signs of blue

The first signs of blue mould start appearing after 3-4 days on the top and bottom (i.e. the exposed parts) of the curd.

After 5 days of draining

After 5 days of draining

After smoothing

After smoothing

After 5 days, remove from the mould and smooth out the holes using a knife.

There’s a great instructional video on how to do this on the Stilton website.

Wrapped up

Wrapped up (before I remembered cheese can't breathe in clingfilm!)

Wrap the smoothed cheese in cheesecloth (not film as shown above!) and put away to mature (10C) for a few weeks, turning daily, until blue veining starts appearing.

They’ve been maturing for a week or so now – some blue has appeared but not much, so I might increase the temperature slightly and maybe take them out of the film for a bit to allow air to circulate and a rind to form.

Once they’re ready, i’ll update the post with the skewering to allow mould to grow inside!

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