With Cheese Please! Cheesemaking with Corleggy’s Silke Croppe

Having you ever met someone who was so full of spirit that you cannot help but be inspired by them?

That’s Silke Croppe in a nutshell.

IMG_3827

Founder of Corleggy Cheeses, Silke is our go-to cheesemaker in Cooks Academy. Gathering around her, she began by telling them a bit about what they had to look forward to for the day.

It was to a slow process, but a very rewarding one.

Raw milk
The litres and litres of raw milk ready to go.
Taking milk temperature
Bringing the milk to the right temperature.
Adding rennet to cheese
Adding rennet to cheese
Taking out the whey
Separating the curds from the whey.
Piercing bottles for moulds 2
Piercing leftover bottles for cheese moulds.
Cutting bottles for moulds
Homemade cheese moulds!

Soft cheese into homemade moulds

Pouring cheese into mould
Pouring out the whey for the bigger hard cheese mould.
Placing cheese in mould
Placing the soon-to-become hard cheese into the mould.

Cheese in mould

Cheese with weight on it
The cheese is under the weight trying to push out any excess whey.
Looking after cheese
It’s alive!
Cheese out of mould
Getting ready to be salted! The cheese will then have to be left along to mature, while the students must make sure to turn it and look after it.

About Corleggy Cheese

Using raw goats milk, Corleggy Cheese began back in 1985 when Silke began making her own goats cheese to use up excess milk at her farmhouse in Corleggy, Belturbet.

She learned by trial and error (something which is tough when you consider the amount of work that goes into a product based on the texture and smell). It’s such a natural process.

Initially Silke kept her own herd of goats on the farm, but these days all the milk is sourced from local farmers.

Cutting the curds

Produced daily by Silke in small batches, with all the milk coming from one herd, the cheeses are then matured for 1-4 months.

During this time the young cheeses are carefully minded and regularly turned as they develop a hard outer rind. She has definitely established herself as one of Ireland’s finest producers of artisan raw milk cheeses.

Raw Milk

These days the raw milk movement in Ireland has come under a lot of pressure with the Food Safety Authority of Ireland calling for a ban on the sale of it in 2015, following a report.

However, Campaign for Raw Milk Ireland spokeswoman Elisabeth Ryan described the study as not relevant, “to consumers who buy raw milk from small, careful farmers who are aware that their milk is destined to be consumed unpasteurised.

“Unsurprisingly, there is no mention of any specific study of farms where the intention is to sell or consume raw milk”.

The sale of raw bovine milk was banned back in 1996, but the EU Hygiene legislation in 2006 superseded this ban.

“Banning raw milk was a real threat to us [small producers]” says Silke.

Irish advocates argue that raw milk can be beneficial in helping people against allergies, as well as boosting the immune system.

The campaigners for raw milk accept that there’s a risk associated with it but stress that people should be given the choice to buy it – just like there’s a risk when buying eggs and shellfish.

“It’s really all about choice” says Silke, “raw milk is full of everything. When you pasteurise it, it loses a lot of calcium. It kills the layers of taste.

“Taste it and make up your own minds. We have the very best milk in Ireland, why should we make all this effort and be scared of it?”

Students with Silke

You can find Corleggy Cheese on Fridays from 10am-1pm at Cavan Farmers Market, Cavan Town and 3pm-5pm, Belturbet Farmers Market, as well as on Saturday, 10am-4.30pm at the Temple Bar Farmers Market in Dublin.

If you’d like to join this course, check out the next upcoming dates on our website here.

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