It is almost 4 weeks to the day that we started our first ever cheese make in our new cheese making room at the farm, and we are starting to feel settled in. The new rooms (cunningly fashioned from converted shipping containers) were designed around our own cheese making process and we are enjoying the way the making process flows. Fraser is very capably demonstrating his vat stirring abilities above!
We are also enjoying the splendid view across the field to the Wittenham Clumps and the 'real' Sinodun Hill. 2018 has been pretty rainy and muddy on the whole so far, but in amongst all this there have been some lovely early spring afternoons peppered around with golden sunshine and long shadows.
Moving a cheese making process is however notoriously difficult! Cheese is incredibly sensitive to its environment and can change a lot depending on the climatic conditions around (the humidity, temperature and even atmospheric pressure can play a part). It is also very sensitive to the local microflora which can affect the flavour and appearance of the rind, amongst other things. So we were full of trepidation about the move and what unforeseen issues might be thrown up! Although we were only moving 8 miles, we were coming from high up in the Chilterns to a low lying position by the River Thames, and an entirely new maturing environment.
Luckily the move seems so far to have had little impact on the cheese however and we've been pleased to find the flavours, texture and rind of the cheese behaving well.
We have - of course - been working through slight niggles as we get used to our new environment. We have a new wash trough for cleaning equipment, for example. It's higher than our old stainless steel sink and therefore much easier on the back. However it doesn't have a draining board....so where do you put the clean equipment when it's been freshly washed??
We have come up with a solution, but I'll leave you to ponder that one...
Meanwhile, do admire our lovely floor drains and the racks of new cheeses in the maturing room.
On a side note, I was amused when I visited Cogges Farm in Witney recently to see that in their dairy (where the local cheeses of yesterday would have been made) they also have a draining table and floor drains, not so different from the ones we have. So maybe not much changes for those of us who undertake building cheeserooms......