The real dairy queen

The real dairy queen

The real dairy queen 2000 1333 Table Under a Tree

Debbie Allard is an absolute cracker. She is so funny that sometimes I forget to talk to her about all things what she knows best. She is, of course, an expert on cheese and when you get her talking about the subtleties and intricacies of all kinds of dairy products, it’s hard not to be impressed.

She can tell you all about the Berg, her Jarlsberg style cheese. Her Berg has a particular bacteria added to the milk while she’s making it. She stirs the curd is slightly, and then removes 30% of the whey before adding hot water increase the heat and reduce acidity. The bacteria creates a yeasty flavour and also opens any tiny holes in the cheese as it ages (for at least six weeks).

She can tell you all about Bluey, her Roquefort style cheese. She adds Penicillium Roquefortii to the milk, along with bacterial cultures. Once the curd is in the hoops (that’s some fancy cheese talk there!) it usually takes seven days to develop a beautiful blue mould but another five weeks to really be ready to eat. Batches of her Bluey will chance throughout the year though, based on the hay and grass the cattle at eating at the time. Seasonality at its best!

The trickiest cheese to make? Ask her that and she’ll tell you about her washed rind Velvet Chausette. Tricky, but satisfying. It is a Reblochon style cheese whose rind is carefully wiped with a salt brine inoculated with specifically designed Brevi bacterial linens every few days for a month. The rind will picks up the fragrance of the aging room making the cheese smell amazing, while the buttery, Jersey milk flavour will make any cheese-lover grin from ear to ear.

Have you tried kefir? Debbie can tell you about that too, about how it is high in B vitamins, folic acid, magnesium, calcium, live yeast (good yeast to fight bad yeast) and live enzymes. For those who are trying to take care of their gut, a few tablespoons of this kefir will do you wonders. Debbie and Jim even drizzle some kefir into the milk their calves drink at the dairy every morning!

And have you ever cooked with buttermilk? Debbie’s buttermilk is the by-product of the cultured butter she makes and she’ll tell you to use it in baking, curries, casseroles, soups and even to throw it into marinated ribs that you slow cook in the oven. Because the buttermilk has live enzymes, the meat will break down faster while cooking giving you the most melting texture. Debbie even uses buttermilk on her weetbix for breakfast. I might have to give that a try too.

Now, if she’d stop making me laugh when I see her, I might be able to get more of the rundown on her cheeses to share with you another time!

Meanwhile, I’m off to have some kefir…



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