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First Sheep Make of 2014 Part 1

Andrew, our favourite milk delivery driver dropped off 1,500 litres of sheep’s milk with us yesterday.  It is always nice to see Andrew – it has been almost a year.  He is in

Pasteurised milk going in to the vat through the swinging arm

good health and continues to go to his dancing dos.  It was nice to see him and I swear, he does not look a day older.

So, this morning, Stu pasteurised 1,500 litres of sheep’s milk and added the starter culture at around 9am and ripened for an hour.  He renneted at 10am and cut at about 10.30am.  Sheep’s milk is always sets quickly.  It always amazes us at how thick, creamy and rich ewe’s milk is, compared to goat or cow.  It does handle differently, though I think cow and goat milk are pretty similar in the way they behave; cow’s milk is slightly thicker and creamier, on account of having higher solids, particularly fat, but they handle in a very similar way to my mind.

A filched picture of Simon Stott’s milking parlour

We are lucky to have such a good source of ewe’s milk, from Simon Stott’s SMUK, based in Chipping, in Lancashire.  All of the cheese makers close to us in Yorkshire who process ewe’s milk use Simon’s milk, e.g. Shepherd’s Purse and Wensleydale Dairy and all of our Lancashire cheese making friends such as Carron Lodge, Greenfields, Chris Sandham, Butlers and Singletons.  I am quite proud of our association: Ribblesdale Cheese, my uncle before me, have been dealing with Simon and

Stu cutting the curd

his father before him, for at least 20 years.

Andrew has arrived, at 11am and is washing Wednesday’s Superior Goat Gouda make pots which Stu vac packed this morning and I weighed.  Andrew will help

The curd cutter, which is heavy, standing upright in 1,500 litres of sheep’s milk

Stu after the whey has been taken off.  Stu is now in stirring mode.  The shovel can stand upright as there is so much curd in the vat.  I would expect a yield of around 17% for this make, which should make around 120 pots or so.

In Part 2, I will show us taking the whey off, blocking and potting up when I will also give Stu and Andrew a hand.  We had to make two batches of Superior Goat Gouda this week because we do not have enough space in the press!  Such is

The curd after being stirred


At 11.30am, it is snowing outside, but not yet settling here, by our front door, so there is still no winner to the snow book!

#Ribblesdalesheepcheese #howtomakesheepcheese #RibblesdaleCheeseBlog #makingsheepcheese #SMUK #processingewesmilkintocheese

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