Cwmglyn Farmhouse Cheese


Hand-made by Traditional Methods

Please note - All our cheese is now made using raw milk (MPI approved)

Sad news at Cwmglyn - Biddy has died. See News section for more details...

Each Cwmglyn (pronounced coom-glin) Farmhouse Cheese is individually handmade
from the milk of one or more named cows, grazing the mixed-herb organic pastures
of Cwmglyn Farm possibly the smallest commercial dairy farm in New Zealand!
The farm is situated near Mt. Bruce in the foothills of the Tararua Range,
9 kilometres South of Eketahuna at Middleton Model Railway.

The cheesemaker, Biddy Fraser-Davies, milks the cows (in a single herring-bone cowshed)
and then makes the cheese in her licensed and purpose built cheese room.
The cows are loved and respected and live a stress-free life without
pesticides on their pastures, chemical drenches thrust down their throats or ladled on their backs.
Their contentment is obvious in the quality of their milk!

Cwmglyn cheese is made in the traditional English farmhouse style with a wholly natural rind.
Most cheese is matured for 3 to 7 months. The wheel (or "truckle" as it is
known in Britain) of cheese is usually made from about 20 to 45 litres of
milk and spends between 24 -72 hours in a cheese press before going into
storage where it is wiped and turned daily.

Our cheeses are on sale at the Farm Shop (Open daily, except Thursday, 9:30 to 4:30) or from selected outlets.

How to Find Us        How to Contact Us

The Milking Cows


DIZZY (born 26/08/2004) was purchased from a neighbouring farm. Her pedigree name is Braidwood Disney Aura.
Originally a show-cow, Dizzy is confident around people and has a great liking for sheds!
She has taken well to our eccentric ways at Cwmglyn and has even developed a few eccentricities of her own.

LILY (Born 08/03/2014) is Dizzy's daughter. We are hoping that she has inherited all her mother's good points!

PATSY (born 26/08/2004) came from another neighbour, initially on loan, but subsequently purchased.
She initially didn't like being milked on her own, but has since become a very placid milker. She
remains slightly stand-offish but is bright and tractible.

The Basic Cheesemaking Process

The illustrations are numbered and a brief description of each step is given after the illustrations.

                              (1)        (2)                          

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  1. The cow's udder is wiped to ensure cleanliness and to stimulate her to let down her milk.
  2. The cups from the milking machine are attached.
  3. The milk is poured from the collecting vat. The sieve is a precaution against solid contaminants.
  4. The milk is now filtered.
  5. [STEP NOW OMITTED] The milk is thermised. The milk is heated in a water bath to 65 degrees Celsius and held there for 19 seconds.
  6. The milk is cooled rapidly using cold water and frozen cold packs
  7. A measured amount of freeze-dried cheese culture is added to the thermised milk in the cheese vat.
  8. The temperature of the milk is adjusted as required and the milk is allowed to stand for a measured time to allow the cheese culture to grow.
  9. Rennet is measured out. This is an extract from calve's stomachs which causes the milk to curdle.
    For vegetarian cheeses a rennet-substitute of microbial origin is used.
  10. The rennet is added to the milk with stirring.
  11. After around 20 minutes the milk has set solid as the curd forms.
  12. The curd is cut with a knife twice at right angles.
  13. The curd is now cut horizontally into cubes using a special curdcutter.
  14. The curd is stirred, holding it at the desired temperature for 45-60 minutes, until the pH has fallen to 6.2-6.1.
  15. The curd is separated using a colander and is kept warm (at 38 Celsius) while developing texture and the required pH.
    The colander is placed over a bucket of hot water and is kept covered to maintain the temperature of the curd.
  16. The curd is cut into blocks for the cheddaring process.
  17. Cheddaring - the cut blocks of curd are allowed to stand to allow acidity to contiue developing and to obtain curds of the required consistency.
  18. A curd mill. This is a type of peg mill in which the curd is broken up by the fixed and rotating pegs.
  19. Milling the curd using the curd mill. Sometimes the curd is passed through the mill a second time to obtain smaller pieces.
  20. Salt is added to the curd.
  21. The salt is mixed into the curd, a process naturally called "salting".
  22. The curd is scooped up and packed into a prepared mould, lined with cheesecloth. The inner section of a pasta-cooker forms a suitable mould.
  23. The curd is packed into the mould.
  24. The cheesecloth is folded over the curd and a "follower" is added.
  25. The filled mould is placed in the press.
  26. The cheese being pressed. Extra weight is added as the excess whey is squeezed out of the cheese.
    The cheese is also removed from the mould after some hours, turned over and replaced in the press.
    This is done initially after 15-20 minutes and subsequently every 12 hours or so. This helps to obtain a uniform cheese with a smooth finish.
  27. This is a cheese being removed for turning.
  28. A cheese after it has been pressed for the first time. It will be trimmed, turned over and returned to the mould. It will then be pressed for another day or two.
  29. A new cheese is removed from the mould after pressing has been completed.
  30. New cheeses are air dried for several days and then coated with our own clarified butter. Nothing else is added.
  31. The coated cheese is placed in our purpose-built cheese store. The temperature is maintained between 10 and 15 degrees Celsius with a humidity of 80%.
    A natural rind forms on the cheese.
  32. To encourage a uniform rind and even maturing the cheeses are wiped and turned daily.

A complete description of the process for making Cwmglyn Farmhouse Cheese is available as a pdf file (20Kb): Click here for pdf file

The End Product

Cheesemaking DVD

In this professionally filmed DVD Biddy Fraser-Davies demonstrates the entire process of making farmhouse
cheese, from the milking to the finished product.

Copies are available at NZ$15, plus postage of NZ$4.50 if required.

Farmhouse Cheese Handbook

To accompany the DVD and to provide further information for small cheesemakers, Biddy has written a Handbook which can be viewed as a pdf file (142Kb) .

Click here for pdf file

Notes on Making Compliant Hard Cheese

To assist other small cheesemakers, Biddy has written these notes on making sure your cheese complies with regulations. It can be viewed as a pdf file (20Kb).

Click here for pdf file

Cheese Press

We can supply plans and instructions for a cheese press similar to those which we use ourselves. The charge for these is NZ$15 including postage.

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