Lyburn farm, run by us (the Smales family) for the last 50 years, is situated along the Northern Edge of the New Forest, Salisbury. From raising the home-bred cows to milking them, and making cheese, the entire process requires team-effort and patience. Although our cheese is pressed, they’re nothing like your standard cheddar cheese. They are, in general, a softer and a more continental type of cheese (except Old Winchester).
To make our cheese, we start work at 6 am, once the cows have been milked. The milk, about 3,000 litres, is then quickly pasteurised, taking approximately 2 hours, and then cooled down to around 28 degrees. James, one of our cheesemakers, will then add the starter to create the ideal conditions for the rennet. When the rennet is added, it has the effect of turning the milk into a block of soft curd just like a blancmange, and then just at the right moment, the curds are cut to release the whey.
Again, times and temperatures are critical, and this is where the skills of the cheese-making come in - James has to know precisely when to put the curds into the moulds. The whole operation is then finished by about 1 pm. The cheese then spends up to 18 months in the ripening rooms until the time it is packed and sold.