December Cheesepalooza Post

Once again I am behind the 8 Ball (Val!) and find myself a few weeks behind on my Cheesepalooza post for December; so while I wait for my January Cheesepalooza make to ripen, I thought I would get a start on this.

The December Cheesepalooza Challenge was Farmhouse Cheddar or Caerphilly and Irish Cheddar among a number of others as extras so ….drum role please I decided to make Double Gloucester.   This English cheese has been my son’s favourite cheese for several years so even though I have been wanting to make cloth bound Farmhouse Cheddar for almost 2 years I decided to go with Double Gloucester as a Christmas surprise for him.  Now that I have proper cheese aging equipment, I have been quickly filling it up with Brie (for my wife), Crottin (for me), the Double Gloucester (for my son) and hopefully soon a real Clothbound Farmhouse Cheddar, that is, once I get the Asiago out of the way.

A few words about Double Gloucester from the British Dairy Board website:

Originally cheese made in the Severn Vale was made from Cotswold Sheep. As early as 1498 so much cheese was being made in Gloucester that a permanent market was set up in Eastgate Street in the City of Gloucester. This is still the site of Gloucester’s indoor market today.

By Tudor times cows milk was the norm across the Vale of Berkeley and down to Bristol. This came mainly from Old Gloucester cows whose milk was ideal for cheesemaking with small fat globules that made a fine even textured cheese. In 1745 cattle plague all but wiped out the breed and was replaced by the Longhorn. Once re-stocked, farms began to supply more liquid milk into London. In 1789 production of Gloucester cheese was estimated at more than 1000 tonnes.

From Google Images:

Photo 2013-01-06 12 28 55 PM

Production had all but stopped by the end of the 19th century due to low priced imports and the easier profit made by selling fresh milk.

There are two types of Gloucester cheese – Double and Single. Various stories exist as to how the two cheeses differ. Was it due to the double skimming required of milk from Gloucester cows (cream rose slowly therefore had to be done twice)? Was it related to the size of the cheese? Was it the fact that Double had cream added taken from the morning’ milk and added to the evening milk for making? Was it because Single Gloucester was half the size of a Double Gloucester?

Single Gloucester used to be made from the partially skimmed milk remaining and as such was made smaller than the standard 20 inch wide and 5 inches high Double Gloucester. Singles were typically the same diameter but about half the height. Maybe it is a combination of these factors and clearly demonstrated the difference between the two – by size and flavour.

Whereas the Double Gloucester was a prized cheese comparable in quality to the best Cheddar or Cheshire, and was exported out of the County, Single Gloucester tended to be consumed within the County.

There are still a few makers producing Single Gloucester – Charles Martell, Smart’s, Godsell’s Church Farm and Wick Court Cheese – all in the County – all of whom also make Double Gloucester. This Single Gloucester is an EU PDO and is made from whole milk and probably bears little resemblance to the Single Gloucester described above. According to the specification it is a flat, disc shaped, hard cheese of natural colour made from cows milk in the County of Gloucestershire and producers of the cheese must have a registered herd of Gloucester cows.

The cheese is still made in the traditional shape using the traditional method and skills. After the addition of starter culture and rennet to the milk, the curds are cut and scalded at a temperature of 32-35°C with the whey for 20-30 minutes. The whey is then drained away leaving the curd which is milled and salted. The cheese is then moulded and mechanically pressed for up to 5 days and is ready for consumption at around 2 months. Single Gloucester was sometimes known as the haymaker’s cheese; as it was matured for a short time it was ready for eating by farm labourers during the haymaking season.

Double Gloucester cheese is made in many parts of the UK both on farms and in large dairies. It has a characteristic light orange hue given by the addition of annatto to the milk. This has been a traditional characteristic of the cheese since the 16th century when producers of inferior cheese used a colouring agent to replicate the orange hue achieved by the best cheesemakers who were probably making the cheese from the evening’s milking to which was added the separated cream of the morning’s milking. During the summer months the high levels of carotene in the grass would have given the milk an orangey colour which was carried through into the cheese. This orange hue was regarded as an indicator of the best cheese and that is why the custom of adding annatto spread to other parts of the UK with Cheshire and Red Leicester cheese as well as Coloured Cheddar made in Scotland all using this natural dye.

Double Gloucester is made in traditional wheels with a natural rind on some farms whilst in larger dairies it would be made in 20 kg blocks which make the cheese ideal for pre-packing.

Flavour levels depend on the age of the cheese. As it matures Double Gloucester becomes very hard and this may be one of the reasons why it is associated with the annual cheese rolling event at Cooper’s Hill in Gloucester.

From Google Images:

Photo 2013-01-06 12 32 40 PM

It is said that buyers of Double and Single Gloucester would often jump up and down on the cheese to assess its grade and suitability. Double Gloucester is sold at about 4 months of age and has a firm close texture and a clean mellow, creamy or buttery flavour. Older cheeses will develop more complex and nutty flavours.

The farm made cheeses tend to be kept a little longer adding to their flavour and where the cheese is cloth bound they are significantly harder and drier than their creamery counterparts and generally more expensive.  It is said that buyers of Double and Single Gloucester would often jump up And down on the cheese to assess its grade and suitability.

So there you have it from the historians at the British Dairy Board.  Double Gloucester is not a very common cheese in Alberta and I generally have the most luck finding it at the Italian Centre Shop here in Edmonton.  Sometimes it is sold in a striped wedge composed of up to 3 different British cheeses.

From Google Images:

Photo 2007-03-06 3 22 27 PM

Looking at the packaging (and price) I strongly suspect these are all factory-produced cheeses.  I do understand why my son enjoys this cheese so much.  The Double Gloucester we purchase here is fairly mild flavoured and the paste is somewhat creamy.  The colouring is also somewhat unique to your standard factory produced Cheddar.  These are all plausible reasons for why an unusual English cheese would catch the fancy of an adventurous Alberta boy.

Now that I knew what type of cheese I wanted to make I needed to find a recipe so a quick Google didn’t turn up anything special so I sent an inquiry out to the Cheesepalooza ‘hotline’ or rather Hashtag on Twitter.  Of course Ian, one of the Cheesepalooza founders, was quick to respond with a recipe he found on the site.  It was for a Double Gloucester made with chives and onion called Cotswold.  Turns out this posted recipe was a variation on a recipe from one of my cheese reference books “Making Artisan Cheese” by Tim Smith.

Since September, Ian has really turned into my cheese Yoda!  He is such as wealth of knowledge and chances are he has experience with what you are facing.

From Google Images and my own photos and editing:

Photo 2013-01-06 1 09 31 PM

The Cheese is strong in this one.

So on with the make.  I used Avalon Organic milk for this recipe but had to reduce the amount of milk to about 16 litres instead of the recipe, which called for 4.5 gallons as my countertop turkey roaster only holds about 16 litres comfortably.

Photo 2012-12-28 2 10 56 PM

This is a Collection of milk for my weekend projects and my cheese resource books.

This is really a pretty straightforward recipe; you can find it for your own use at  It was also the first time I got to use my countertop turkey roaster.  I found the roaster on Kijiji and got it for $30.  It was brand new and still in the box.

Photo 2012-12-28 2 36 50 PM

This picture shows the well.  I can add about 2 litres of water to this well (against warranty if you have one).  This water helps to equalize the temperature as the element goes around the sides of the unit.

Photo 2012-12-28 2 52 59 PM

Picture showing roaster full of milk and temperature probe that I purchased to go with the system.

I had issues with temperature control with the temperature going to 104 degF too (was supposed to be at 90 degF) soon but after this initial issue the temperature worked out fine.  I just hope the curds were not adversely affected at this stage.

After the temperature issues were resolved I added the rennet 8 minutes too soon after struggling to control the vat temperature.  This did not seem to affect the clean break.

I consulted with my son regarding the colour as the colour was very pale after adding the required amount of Annatto dye so we decided to double the amount; time will tell if we will end up with a mutant coloured cheese.  It has seemed to darken a bit over time but not excessively.

Photo 2012-12-28 5 37 41 PM

For the non-cheesemakers in the audience, Wikipedia provides the following explanation:

Annatto, sometimes called roucou or achiote, is derived from the seeds of the achiote trees of tropical and subtropical regions around the world. The seeds are sourced to produce a carotenoid-based yellow to orange food coloring and flavor. Its scent is described as “slightly peppery with a hint of nutmeg” and flavor as “slightly nutty, sweet and peppery”.

In commercial processing, annatto coloring is extracted from the reddish pericarp which surrounds the seed of the achiote (Bixa orellana L.). Historically, it has been used as coloring in many cheeses (e.g., Cheddar, Gloucester, Red Leicester), cheese products (e.g. American cheese, Velveeta), and dairy spreads (e.g. butter, margarine). Annatto can also be used to color a number of non-dairy foods such as rice, custard powder, baked goods, seasonings, processed potatoes, snack foods, breakfast cereals and smoked fish.

Photo 2013-01-06 12 20 46 PM

The curds are cut to ¼” cubes with the recipe having a final temperature of 104 degF.  You collect the curds in a cheesecloth lined colander and let the whey drain.  Once the whey has stopped running freely you pour them into a cheesecloth-lined mold.  For this exploration I used a St. Paulin/ Tome mold (200mm x 150 mm).  This has resulted in a cheese about 3 inches thick.  I now realize I need to get a few more sizes of molds that work with the volumes of milk I will be working with in my new turkey roaster.  I would have preferred to have a taller cheese.

I followed the pressing requirements in the recipe as follows:

Photo 2012-12-28 6 32 04 PM

10 pounds for fifteen minutes

Photo 2012-12-28 6 40 23 PM

unwrap and flip the cheese and rewrap and return to the mold

Photo 2012-12-28 6 45 59 PM

30 pounds for ten minutes

Photo 2012-12-28 6 54 02 PM

unwrap and flip the cheese and rewrap and return to the mold

Photo 2012-12-28 6 56 03 PM

40 pounds for two hours

unwrap and flip the cheese and rewrap and return to the mold

Photo 2012-12-28 7 13 03 PM

50 pounds for 24 hours

Photo 2012-12-30 1 52 10 AM

Photo 2012-12-30 1 52 05 AM

Fresh from the 50 pound pressing.


Remove from the mold and place on a board (I used a draining mat) turning twice daily until the cheese is dry to the touch.

I left my cheese on the draining mat for 3 full days.

Place in cave at 55 degF and 80 to 85 percent relative humidity.  Age the cheese for one to three months according to the recipe.

Wrap Up

For a fairly simple recipe I have several concerns relating to how my cheese will turn out.

The first was the too rapid increase in temperature of the milk during the ripening phase.

The second is of course what will the final colour of the cheese be.  I want it to look like a Double Gloucester not Leicester a very dark red-orange cheese from the same region.

Third, since I’ve made this cheese I have discovered that the pressing weights are related to the diameter of the cheese mold.  So I am not sure I pressed with enough weight for the large diameter wheel that I made.  I will need to do more research on this in the future.

Originally I had planned to cloth-bind this cheese but was not ready to accomplish this when the cheese was ready so I am now aging it with a natural rind.  I want to make it again soon with a cloth bandage so I can compare the results to determine if the cloth bandage is worth the effort.


The ‘Double Sandy Gloucester’ wheel is now residing alongside my Brie and Crottins, a wheel of Montasio, 2 wheels of Blue and a couple wheels of Caerphilly.  The cave is almost full!  This is also a real collage of flora and fauna.  So it will be interesting to see how things develop.

The ‘Double Sandy’ has been aging for 5 days now.  The temperature is holding rock steady at 13 degC and the Relative Humidity has held between 87% and 98%; depending on how much cheese is in the cave.  The ‘Double Sandy’ has developed some tiny spots of Penn. C. on the rind but not enough to clean up yet.  I turn the cheeses daily; no noticeable whey is coming out of it and it is firming up nicely.  Only time will tell how this turns out.

FINAL FINAL NOTE: HOPE YOU FOUND YOUR PHOTO HUMOROUS IAN! You will always be just like Yoda to me.


  1. Nice! Where did you get that much Avalon milk? I am not sure about being a Cheese yoda, I still think I have to take the Cheese Trials yet. I like the rind, you have a great knit on it.

    • I always get my ‘hi-end’ milk at Planet Organic as it is close to my house. I think we are actually in the cheese trials and you are leading us all down the path to cheesevana! I was very happy with the rind on this one. Not so much with the Asiago which I will post in a day or two. Needed much more pressing weight I think.

  2. Glen adams

    Nice job Rick ,looking forward to sampling it.

    • Thanks Dad!

      Of course you guys can try it.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Reluctant food blogger

a chef's various whims in cooking, eating, and drinking

Adventures to Feast Upon

A journey in my food life


experimental home cheese making

Feasts of Strength

Food, and my wicked attempts at creating it.


7,107 reasons to love the Filipino

Watch Sailor Rick Explore Old and New Hobbies

Watch Sailor Rick Explore Old and New Hobbies

Simple Pleasures

Watch Sailor Rick Explore Old and New Hobbies


Artisan cheese • Homemade

Much To Do About Cheese

A cheesemaker's quest for Cheesetopia

%d bloggers like this: