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Stilton Cheese

Information about Stilton Cheese plus stilton cheese recipe collection

 

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January

2002

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Known as “The King of Cheeses”,  Stilton is one of the few British cheeses granted the status of a “protected designation origin” by the European Commission. 

Whilst it is an excellent eating cheese (Stilton and Port is a delight which should be savoured by all at some time during their life) Stilton is also a wonderful cheese for using in recipes,  a selection of which are featured below.

Origins and History of Stilton Cheese

 

Stilton takes its name from the village of Stilton in Cambridgeshire, England (about 80 miles north of London). 

In the 18th century, the town of Stilton was a staging post for coaches. Travellers journeying from London to York would break their voyage there to refresh not only themselves, but more importantly, the horses. A Mr Cooper Thornhill who was landlord at the  Bell Inn at Stilton, introduced the weary travellers to this creamy, blue-veined delight and it is thought that he purchased the cheese from a farmer's wife called Mrs Frances Pawlett, although it's likely the original cheese bore little resemblance to the blue Stilton cheese produced nowadays.

 

How Stilton cheese is made

Only cheese produced in the three counties of Derbyshire, Leicestershire and Nottinghamshire in England can be called Stilton and it must be made according to a strict code .

Stilton is made from fresh pasteurized cows' milk  to which acid forming bacteria (starter cultures), a milk clotting agent (such as rennet) and “penicillium roqueforti” (blue mold spores) are added. Once the curds have formed, the whey is removed and the curds allowed to drain overnight. The following day, the curd is then cut into blocks to allow further drainage before being milled and salted. Each cheese requires about 11kg/24 lb of salted curd which is placed into cylindrical moulds. The moulds are then placed on boards and turned daily to allow natural drainage for 5 or 6 days. As the cheese is never pressed, it creates the flaky, open texture. 

After 5 or 6 days, the cylinders are removed and the coat of each cheese is sealed by smoothing or wrapping to prevent any air entering the inside of the cheese. After 6 weeks of regular turning, the cheese has formed a crust and is then pierced with stainless steel needles which allows air to enter the body of the cheese and create the  blue veins.

It can be sold at about 9 weeks and at that point weighs about 8kg/17lbs.
 

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Stilton Cheese in Cooking

You can substitute  stilton for many other blue cheeses in various recipes. As with many other cheeses, stilton goes well with fruit and nuts, in particular pears and walnuts, making it suitable for savoury and sweet dishes. It's best crumbled as its soft texture often makes grating difficult.

Click here for lots of Sweet and Savoury Stilton recipes

 

 

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