How Cheese Is Made At Kappacasein Dairy in Bermondsey, London
Last week I took a trip to Kappacasein dairy for the December issue of E9 magazine. The article will be about the Food Assembly for which Kappacasein are one of the producers. I had a very interesting time seeing how cheese is made the old fashioned way.
Kappacasien are small dairy making five different artisan cheeses using organic milk from Commonwork Farm in Kent. On my visit I watched the dairymaids make Bermondsey Friers and Bermondsey Hardpressed. Kappacasein also make Bermondsey Red, Spalactic and ricotta which can be purchased from their stall in Borough market or through the Food Assembly.
The organic milk is heated, curdled and cut in a 100 year old copper vat brought in from Switzerland. The curds are tested to see if they are ready by squeezing a small amount in the hand. The maids look to see if they bind together well and if the whey runs clear. They then eat a small piece for the taste test, the curd should be nice a squeaky for Frier and Hardpressed. The maids also test the whey for acidity levels before and after the curds are placed in the moulds.
Working quickly the dairymaids separate the curds from the whey and pack it into moulds. The round moulds are used for the hardpressed cheese while the square moulds which are hand pressed produce the Frier cheese. After repeated pressing, turning and salting the hardpressed cheeses then get transferred to the maturing room which holds around 300 wheels. The Frier cheese is eaten young and best used as a cooking cheese. I would describe it as a mild cheese with a texture like that of Halloumi. It’s great grilled over roasted vegetables or on a toasted sandwich!
In the maturing room the wheels get washed daily with brine water until they have reached maturity and pass the taste test, the results of which are logged on a blackboard outside the maturing room.
The dairy has a great ethos, not only making cheese using local organic milk, they also make the most of the leftover whey. They separate the fats, aka the cream, using a nifty siphoning gadget shown above which goes to make butter. The remaining whey liquid is sent off to a local pig farm which they feed to the livestock and what they can’t use up the remainder goes to a recycling plant.
The Kappacasein dairy is a Community Support Diary which is currently open for membership at this time of writing. Members make an investment for a months worth of cheese at a time collecting orders weekly. The scheme offers members a 10-15% discount on retail prices as well as offering freebies such as whey and buttermilk. Members also receive opportunities to come to the dairy and make cheese with them during the season. The scheme helps to build strong relationships between the dairy and it’s customers while the support helps them to grow. If you would like to find out more about the scheme get in touch with the dairy.