Food Unwrapped Channel 4Simon Spurrell
How is Blue Cheese Made
We were visited way back in October 2019 but due to Covid, the episode featuring our creamery has only just aired on Channel 4’s new series of Food Unwrapped.
The TV crew wanted to film a segment with their presenter Andi Oliver of Great British Menu fame, being shown our process of making our Stilton Cheese. Hartington Creamery is the only Stilton making using artisanal methods and the only element not undertaken by hand is the milling of our curds. This part of the process has been mechanised for over a century and we even have one of the original mills and presses at our creamery shown in the images below.
Andi wanted to know how we get the blue veining into our cheese? Alan Salt the co-founder of our current site on Pikehall Farm and a near 50 years veteran of Stilton making, took Andi through the process from milk to cheese. A blue cheese mould called Roquforti Penicillium is introduced to the milk at the beginning of the making cycle. This is the same mould used for all blue cheese around the world although ours is a specific and secret recipe which Alan explained to Andi that if he told her the secret then he would have to kill her 😂
Unlike Cheddar, Stilton is not compressed, it is left loose to create the sought after crumbly texture. The blue veining occurs after we pierce the cheese with multiple metal rods all around the cheese. This happens about 6 weeks into the maturation process which causes a reaction with the mould starter and the air creating the legendary blue look and taste we all look for. Our Stilton is particularly creamy and we mature ours for approximately 12 weeks before cutting and selling our Hartington Stilton.
You can watch the episode by clicking here