The perfect introduction to the washed rind style, our King River Gold has a soft interior, a slightly gritty rind and a rich, almost smokey, nutty flavour.
It was one of the first cheeses we created and is still the most popular among our customers today.
Source the milk
The first step in the process is to source fresh milk from the Mountain Milk Co-op located in the Alpine Valleys.
We bring the milk temperature up to 72C for 15 seconds to kill all known pathogens. This process is also a legal requirement in the cheese making process.
To begin the flavour and acid development of the cheese, we add cultures, along with rennet which ‘sets’ the milk, turning it into a solid milk jelly.
Cut the curd
Once we have ‘set’ the curd, we then cut them. We do this with a tool that is akin to a tennis racquet, cutting the jelly into cubes. We now have both curds and whey, the whey is the liquid that exudes from the firmer curd particles.
Depending on the style of cheese we are crafting, we treat these curd pillows very differently. Harder, drier styles of cheese will have smaller curds allowing for more surface area to exude more whey.
Softer styles of cheese like white moulds and washed rinds have larger cubes of curd, slightly larger than a dice size. This allows more moisture to stay within the curd which ends up allowing the cheese to break down and become soft and creamy.
Once the curds have been cut, we need to agitate the curds so they don’t become one big clump at the bottom of the vat. We do this by hand with a paddle to gently rotate the curds, allowing them to firm up for the next step…
Once the curds are ready we ladle them into hoops (we don’t call them moulds as that can cause confusion!) which allow the curds to knit into the shape that we want.
Once the curds have been turned by hand a few times and have become a cheese that holds its shape, they then get brined. Put into salty water to help preserve the cheese and add flavour. From here they are then placed into maturing rooms where white mould starts to grown on the outside of the cheese, the rind.
A good coverage of white mould appears within a week to 10 days. White moulds are then wrapped to continue their maturation, while the washed rinds are about to earn their name!
The white mould growth on the outside of the cheese needs to be washed off, we quite literally wash these in the kitchen sink! Running the cheese under running water and giving them a gentle scrub with a scrubbing brush.
This removes the white mould, leaving a moist salty environment for the bacteria to grow. Brevi bacterium linens is the wonderful little bacteria that grows on the rind, developing a rich orangey pink hue and quiet distinctive smell of washed rind cheeses, ironically the cheese we wash the most is the cheese that smells the worst.
We need to wash the cheeses every week to keep the white mould from returning and giving the brevi the right conditions to flourish. Our King River Golds get individually washed by hand every week for roughly 6 to 8 weeks before being wrapped and let loose on the world!
If you get a King River Gold home and notice a little bit of white mould on the rind, don’t be worried! This is entirely the natural maturation process of the cheese, it just hasn’t had a wash since it left us. It is completely safe to eat, however if you feel uncomfortable with it, you can do what we do - give it a rinse in cold water and a wipe with a new and unused chux before eating.