The dairy where the cheese is made is located at Beesley Farm, Goosnargh, North of Preston in Lancashire. It is made by Graham Kirkham, son of the original Mrs. Kirkham, using milk from the Kirkham’s own herd of Freisian cows. The pasture that the cattle graze on is near to the Irish sea and the tasty quality of the milk, and therefore the cheese, is said to be due to the wind driven sea salt that impregnates the pastures.
Graham’s mother, Ruth Kirkham, began making Lancashire Cheese at the farm over 30 years ago. This was a skill she had been taught by her own mother and has now passed onto Graham, making him the third generation of cheesemaker in the family.
Unpasteurised milk is used to make the cheese, and the process is unique amongst English cheeses. Cooled evening milk is added to the warm morning milk and rennet is added; the curd is cut by hand with curd knives and then allowed to settle with a view to retaining as much fat as possible. The whey is drained off and the curd is stored for the night. The following morning the previous day's curd is milled and mixed with the day's fresh curd in a proportion of one to two. Keeping the curd overnight encourages the development of the acid that gives the cheese its striking whiteness and sharp edged flavour. The cheeses are then salted, pressed in muslin and allowed to dry out.
Clare says: ‘I love this cheese. It’s a farmhouse Lancashire, made using a traditional two-day curd method giving the cheese a distinctive sharpness in flavour and a melt in the mouth texture. It’s delicious with our Gooseberry Fruit Cheese (£4.50/120g). It’s also a versatile cheese to cook with and is perfect in a Welsh Rarebit.”