7 days a week, 365 days a year. ‘Our cows need milking every single day so that we can make our award winning Barber’s cheddar cheese’ says Anthony Barber.
‘We’ve been making cheese since 1833 and we still turn it all by hand to make sure it’s absolutely perfect for our robustly flavoured cheddar. Of course we also embrace modern technology, just as our ancestors did in their time, to consistently make the best cheddar that we possibly can.’
‘Our day starts at 1.30am when Mark from our Dairy team gets ready for the day’s cheese-making. The cows are milked at about 4am and again at 4pm and our experienced team will be busy, non-stop, in between.
‘We heat the milk to pasteurise it, then use some of our unique starter cultures (naturally occurring friendly bacteria) to begin the cheese making process. This is when the real art of cheese making comes in - Depending on the time of year and what the cows have eaten, we adjust the amount of starter culture we use. In the summer the lush Somerset grass contains plenty of natural bacteria from flora in the fields so we need different amounts than we do in winter – no two days are ever the same. We then use vegetarian rennet to turn the milk into curds and whey - or solids and liquid.’
‘Touching, feeling and stretching the curd by hand is critical – but we have to be careful! Too stretchy and our curd won’t have the structure to mature into a full-flavoured cheddar.’
The cheese is then salted and compressed into traditional wooden boxes to help retain structure; it is then stored in our temperature optimised maturation store. This is when our experienced in-house graders set to work to ensure that each batch of cheese matures to the very best of its potential – and that may take up to 2 years!’
So it’s not just as simple as turning milk into cheddar . We like to add years of experience and plenty of character to make it absolutely perfect for your cheese board.