- 10 weeks plus
- colston bassett dairy
Traditional finest blue Stilton with a balanced strong flavour. Made by Colston Bassett Dairy in Nottinghamshire, England. Colston Bassett Stilton is quite simply one of the world’s great cheeses. Creamy, fruity and well balanced, it is consistently one of the best cheeses in the our shops. Colston Bassett Dairy was established as a local farmers’ cooperative in 1913 for the specific purpose of making Stilton and makes every effort to keep all aspects of production as close to traditional practices as possible. The continuity of tradition at Colston Bassett is reflected in the fact that the coops has only had three different cheesemakers since its inception in 1913.
It takes 72 litres of milk to make a standard 6.5kg wheel of Stilton. The milk is pasteurized upon arrival at the dairy it is cooled to 30 degrees and put into vats. Starter and penicillum roqueforti, blue mould culture, are then added. Vegetarian rennet is used to set the curds, which are cut an hour later. The mixture is then left to settle, allowing the curds to separate from the whey. The whey is drained off and the curds are ladled into trays for the night. The following day the curd is milled, salted, mixed and placed into hoops where it drains for a further five days. Once the curd has drained and solidified sufficiently the cheese moulds (hoops) are removed. The surface of the cheese is then rubbed over with a knife, thus smoothing the exterior and facilitating the later development of a natural rind. The cheese is then aged for 20 days to allow the surface to dry out. By the end of this period it is ready for the maturing room.
The young Stilton is kept in the maturing room for around six weeks. Towards the end of this period the cheese is pierced with long stainless steel needles at regular intervals around its circumference. This allows air to come in contact with the penicillum roqueforti and lets the cheese develop its latent blue potential. As the blue culture reacts to air it is concentrated along the lines left by the needles giving Stilton its characteristic blue veining. The cheeses are given a second piercing about a week later, at which point they are ready for sale.