Making--Stilton

Making Britain's Favourite Blue How is Stilton Made?


Stilton is still hand-made by master cheese makers in a process which remains unchanged for countless years.
The entire process takes about nine weeks in total - from milk to shelf.


Stage 1

Curd Forming

Fresh, local milk is poured into an open vat. Essential ingredients are added at this stage – acid forming bacteria known as starter cultures, a milk-clotting agent such as rennet and penicillium roqueforti – which is the blue mould spores, essential to give the cheese its famous veining. Now the curds begin to form, whey is removed the the curds are left to drain overnight.

Stage 2

Hoop Filling

Fresh, local milk is poured into an open vat. Essential ingredients are added at this stage – acid forming bacteria known as starter cultures, a milk-clotting agent such as rennet and penicillium roqueforti – which is the blue mould spores, essential to give the cheese its famous veining. Now the curds begin to form, whey is removed the the curds are left to drain overnight.

Milling

The milling process breaks the curds down into small pieces, which form the basis of the cheese

Rubbing Up

The cheese maker uses a knife to smooth of the edges of the roundel, preventing blue mould growth at this point.

Stage 3

Sealing

After five or six days, the hoops are removed and each cheese roundel is sealed by smoothing or wrapping, to keep air out. The cheese maker uses a knife to smooth of the edges of the roundel, preventing blue mould growth at this point.

Stage 4

Ripening

The cheeses are now moved to a store, which is carefully controlled for both temperature and humidity. During this ‘ripening’ period, the cheese continues to be turned regularly, for about five weeks.

THIS IS WHEN THE DELICIOUS STILTON RICHNESS DEVELOPS

Stage 5

Piercing

Fresh, local milk is poured into an open vat. Essential ingredients are added at this stage – acid forming bacteria known as starter cultures, a milk-clotting agent such as rennet and penicillium roqueforti – which is the blue mould spores, essential to give the cheese its famous veining. Now the curds begin to form, whey is removed the the curds are left to drain overnight.

Stage 6

Grading

After about nine weeks, the cheese is ready to be sold. But first it must be graded. A cheese grader is a highly skilled expert, often with years of experience in assessing the quality of cheese. Using a cheese iron, they take a core from the roundel of Stilton, and based on its smell, taste, appearance and texture, decide if it can be sold as Stilton, or just ‘blue cheese’.

Only absolutely top quality Stilton can bear the famous name, as customers rightly expect to experience the same delicious blue cheese every time they buy it.