Using the raw (unpasteurised) milk produced by our goats, we make two soft cheeses (Stawley and Kittisford), a hard cheese (Wellesley) and fresh goat's curd. Production is seasonal, from when the goats kid in March until early December, when they (and we) get a rest until kidding begins again.
Our cheeses are made using the evening and morning milk. The evening milk is ripened overnight with specific cultures and, once combined with the morning milk, is fed down to the dairy by gravity to minimise agitation. We use traditional animal rennet in all of our cheeses.
Stawley is a soft goat's cheese named after the village that we live in. The curd is formed slowly over 24 hours, and ladled by hand into small, cylindrical moulds. The cheeses are then drained, salted and moved between dry and humid environments to allow the cheese to develop its texture, rind and flavours. It can be eaten young from ten days old, when it has mild, creamy, lactic flavour, or matured for four to six weeks, to produce a more complex cheese with a firmer texture. Kittisford, named after a neighbouring village, is made using a similar method, but with a different shaped mould. This results in a smaller, younger cheese, with a lighter texture than Stawley.
Wellesley, our hard cheese, is named after the Duke who took his title from our local town, Wellington. Unlike Stawley and Kittisford, the curd is formed quickly, cut into small pieces, drained and then placed into large, circular moulds. Once the cheese has been salted, it is left to mature for up to six months. We turn the cheeses regularly during this period, tasting them to monitor their development; once they have developed nutty, sweet flavours and a firm texture, they are ready to eat.