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July 3, 2015 / Apley Estate - Hamiltons

Apley cheese making by Mr Moyden

2015-05-30, Agata Summer film, Mr Moyden (9)

Removing the cheese from the mould

2015-05-30, Agata Summer film, Mr Moyden (7)

Mr Moyden cheese labels

2015-05-30, Agata Summer film, Mr Moyden ( - Copy (11)

Dutch cheese press

2015-05-30, Agata Summer film, Mr Moyden

Maturation room – racks of cheeses

A month ago on Saturday 30 May, I was out filming around the Apley Estate with AgWa Media creating a Summer film. But first we began 30 mins away from Apley, at Martin Moyden’s Creamery, near Market Drayton. He recreated our very own Apley cheese – last made on the site of Apley Farm Shop 60 years ago. Having never visited a creamery or cheese maker, it was fascinating to see how he does it. Of course, I asked lots of questions:When did he become a cheese maker ?

Martin really began making his cheeses in Feb 2005 – so this year is his 10th anniversary.

How & why did he become a cheese maker ?

Martin’s grandparents sold milk via horse & cart directly to the public. This inspired him to look at ways to sell directly & cheese making soon captured his imagination. So on leaving Walford Agricultural College, he began using his Grandmother’s jam pan at home & quickly progressed to a 50 litre vat.

What is the cheese actually made in ?

As well as one 1000 litre rectangular vat, he now uses two 700 litre vats – one round, one rectangular.

How is cheese actually made ?

The milk is poured into the vats where mechanical paddles keep it constantly moving. Gradually the curds (the hard bits which become the cheese) separate from the whey (the watery bits). Whey is fed to local pigs so nothing is wasted.

He bought a Dutch cheese press in 2006. Weights are attached to the ends of a pulley system, so that a specific amount of pressure is applied to each type of cheese, for a measured amount of time.

Once the cheese has been put in their moulds, it’s left under the Dutch press with weights to squeeze out the final wheys.

Where does he get all the milk from ?

He gets milk from a herd of Montbeliarde cows on a friend’s farm only 1 mile away.

Martin collects the milk in 1000 litre tanks – large square plastic cubes transported on pallets. He collects 2000-4000 litres per week with which to create 2-400 kg of cheese per week. The milk to cheese ratio is 10 litres to 1 kg.

Cows are milked twice daily 5am & 5pm, every single day of the year.

The milk produced at 5pm (night milk) is cooled within 15 minutes & reaches Martin’s Creamery at 8am the following morning.

Morning milk (produced at 5am) however, is warm as it is straight from the cow!

What are his cheeses called ?

Of course he makes the Apley cheeses which are only 3kg each when whole rounds.

His first cheese was Wrekin White. Another of his cheeses is Caer Caradoc which is produced as 5kg rounds.

Now he produces 7 which are sold all over the UK. As some cheeses are sold through wholesalers, he can’t always be exactly sure where they end up.

How does he feel after 10 years in the business ?

“It’s incredibly time consuming” he began, “but you’ll only get the quality from a combination of freshness & attention to detail – and that requires a lot of time. My wife Beth & I had our second child in November last year, so there are demands on my time from two directions now ! “

Where does he make the cheeses ?

His creamery is a very warm & humid room with white plastic ceiling & walls, plastic windows, easy to clean industrial flooring & lots of very clean stainless steel surfaces everywhere.

How much is he producing per year now ?

He now produced 12-15 tonnes per year, using 150,000 litres of milk.

How does he know when the cheese is ready to sell ?

He tests small amounts, but doesn’t eat a lot of cheese himself. He even disliked blue cheese until he started making it !

For how long are the cheeses left to mature ?

In the maturation room, the youngest cheeses get turned daily (young means 0-30 days). The oldest cheeses go on the top shelves. Cheeses settle after about 1 month, so they only get turned weekly after that. After 1-2 weeks, he pierces the Wrekin Blue cheese (none of the others) to let in oxygen which creates the blue mould. The natural moulds & yeasts on the outsides of cheeses help the cheeses mature & create their unique flavours. His smoked cheeses are kept wrapped sealed in plastic, to contain the smoked flavours.

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