Making Cheese with
BY NICK MACMAHON | 25 MAY 2019
At the start of the day, hundreds of litres of milk are delivered from a dairy farm in Kent to Kappacasein in Bermondsey, South London. The cows were milked only a few hours earlier, so the milk is still warm.
Bill acquired his knowledge for cheesemaking working in Switzerland. He then went on to work for Neal’s Yard Dairy, where he helped develop the semi-soft and semi-famous “Ogleshield” and since 2008 has been making his own cheese as Kappacasein. You may know his Borough Market location, famous for their melted raclette on potatoes and decadent cheese toasties.
Today, he is making a single wheel of his gruyere-style ‘Bermondsey Hard Pressed’. The milk is poured into a 600L copper pot and heated. Starter cultures are added and quickly the curds begin to clump and separate from the whey.
The curds are then ‘cut’ until they are small, rice-sized grains. Different cheese styles require different sized curds, the more it is cut, the more whey is lost and the drier the cheese will be. A dry cheese like a parmesan requires super-fine curds, whereas a semi-liquid camembert is only lightly cut, leaving big clumps of curds.
The curds are then moved from the pot into a mould and pressed.
After all whey has drained, the cheese is then moved into the ageing rooms where it will slowly mature for 18 months.
The remaining whey is then made into ricotta. This is the traditional way of making ricotta, as a byproduct of the cheesemaking process. It is quite a different flavour to the ricotta we usually buy in supermarkets but this is the real deal. Same ricotta texture, but less creamy and rich, more milky, more acidic.
Kappacasein Dairy is situated in Bermondsey, South London. You can visit the dairy on Saturday's 9am - 2pm, to try their cheeses. They make and sell, various aged and fresh cheeses, as well as yoghurt. If you're lucky, they may have some of their fresh cheese curds for sale which are highly prized morsels of fresh cheese.
There are many other food producers in the area that sell their produce on Saturday so it's worthwhile making the trip. Monday to Saturday, you can visit them at Borough Market where they sell cheese toasties and their raclette melted over potatoes and pickles.
1 Voyager Industrial Estate
Kappacasein Borough Market
1 Stoney Street