Cheesemaking at Rainton Farm, Gatehouse of Fleet

  'The Disappearing Craft of Farm Cheese-making. Rainton Farm, Gatehouse-of-Fleet, Kirkcudbrightshire, 1969.   a. Large stainless steel vat in which milk can be quickly heated to the temperature required, contains the evening milk and the morning milk from the herd of this typical cheesemaking farm. A 'starter' has been added early in the morning to advance lactic fermentation, and one hour later, when the milk was sufficiently sour and the temperature raised to about 84 degrees F., the time had come for the addition of the 'rennet', the enzyme which causes the curdling of the milk. In less than an hour the curd had risen to the top of the whey, and breaking the curd in the whey with the curd 'knives' had reduced it to uniform particles about the size of a pea, which tend to clot together.   b. The curd is therefore agitated with the curd rake to keep the pieces floating separately until they are firm enough and settle to the bottom. Some hours will elapse during which from time to time the contents of the vat are stirred again and once more left to settle, when the time has come for the drawing of the whey. With the drawing of the whey the body and texture of the cheese have been firmly established.   c. The curd is still draining in the bottom of the vat. When firm enough it will be cut.   d. The curd is cut with a cheese knife into brick sized blocks that are turned, (e) piled and cooled between each turning (every fifteen minutes) to maintain temperatures and increase expulsion of moisture.   f. Testing the texture of the curd.   g. Grinding or 'milling' tears the curd into pieces of walnut size, bringing it to a condition where salt can be added and absorbed before moulding. The salt is mixed into the curd and distributed by hand. The salted curd is packed firmly into moulds lined with dressing cut to cover the finished cheese entirely. The curd must not be allowed to become chilled. Old wooden moulds, 'chessats' which hold the temperature much longer, are used in preference to metal moulds. One of the main objects of moulding and pressing is to give shape to the cheese which is rubbed over with lard before bandaging. The cheesemaker is sewing bandage to preserve the shape of the cheese.   h. Metal cheese presses dating from the mid-nineteenth century were still in general use until recently.   i. In a few weeks the young cheese is ready to be eaten, in about three months it is ready for the market.'   Dr Kissling's note, 1978   These photographs were taken two years before cheese making stopped at Rainton Farm in 1971. Featured in the photographs are John and Euphemia McCarlie who worked in the dairy and lived on the farm with their family.   Research note, 2019
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Dr Werner Kissling
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Accession number :
PP/KISSLING COLLECTION, Retrospective 1978/54-62
Copyright :
Dumfries & Galloway Council
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