Racks of cheese

I was lucky to get a place on Mark and Sarah Hardy’s Saturday Cheese-making Course as they fill up very quickly!

There were seven of us on the Course and we all quickly got on well together. Mark and Sarah create a very friendly atmosphere.

I’ve known Mark and Sarah for many years, but I’d never seen their cheese being made, so I was very interested to learn all about their cheese-making secrets!

Mark and Sarah

We arrived at 9.30am for coffee in their Cheese Barn, ready for a 10am start.

Mark began with a talk about the history of their cheese-making business.

Although they’ve been in business for a long time, he is as fresh and enthusiastic as though he’d just started! Sarah stood by, telling him to get on with the course as we were falling behind schedule!

Their website, http://www.highwealddairy.co.uk/index.php?webpage=Cheese%20Courses.html


Mark Hardy has had over 25 years experience in cheese making, using cow, sheep and goat milk, covering most cheese types and is passionate about cheese. He explains the process in simple down to earth language and ensures everyone has a relaxed but educational day and leaves with the knowledge and confidence to make cheese at home.

Gary; our newest cheesemaker, and a fully trained chef, Gary will be backing up Mark and Chris, and also cooking a freshly prepared Lunch.

Making cheese always gives one an appetite!

Lunch is followed by a Cheese tasting of several of our cheeses.

Sarah Hardy.

Although not a cheese maker, Sarah organises us all and makes sure that everyone attending is happy and looked after, and feels at home on the day.

soft cheeses


We were advised to start with pasteurised milk, then progress to raw milk later.

Gary had already prepared the milk for us. We had to put the lid on and leave it until the temperature reached 24.3.

‘Why does my thermometer say Eh2?’ I asked.

Gary turned it round. I’d had it upside-down! It actually said 24.3.

The Dairy works with 2,000-3,000 litres at a time.

You can buy starter culture online for around £8 and freeze it into ice cubes.

Halloumi, which is the Dairy’s best-seller, doesn’t need a starter culture. It’s unlike other cheeses as it doesn’t melt when you cook it.

For a selection of Halloumi recipes, look at B-C-in-U! I’ve already published them, but I’ll re-publish them  tomorrow.

Rennet is a living culture. It’s an enzyme.

Animal rennet is made from calves’ stomachs.

Originally, nomads stored milk in calves’ stomachs, and found it made curds and whey. Then they added salt and it tasted delicious!

The Dairy uses a vegetarian rennet, which is a fungus.

One rennet tablet = 20 litres of milk.

Gary testing the temperature

Add rennet to your milk and stir slowly, then place the lid on.

A steel pan is a good heat retainer.

Mark uses a lot of sheep’s cheese, which most people with dairy intolerance can eat instead of cow’s milk. And it’s low in cholesterol.

Freesians are the best sheep for milk supply.

Jacobs’ sheep don’t give much milk, but it’s creamier.

1 litre of cheese gives 9 litres of whey.

3 ½ litres of sheep’s milk = 1 kilo of cheese.

Our pans of milk were ready.

From the middle you make even cuts into small cubes.

The finer you cut the cubes, the harder the cheese will be.

Using a scoop, lift it into a cheese cloth over a bucket and gently move the cloth to release the liquid whey.

We had a delicious lunch of quiche, hams, and salad, with edible flowers and a selection of cheeses, of course!

Gary sealed our cheeses while we ate, which we were given to take home with us.

We were advised to keep the Cheddar for several months.

We also made soft cheese, which dates back to Medieval times and is edible almost at once. But it’s best after turning it over for several days.

You can add flavourings of your choice to the soft cheese, eg lemon peel, garlic, herbs, etc.

Mark showed us how to make butter, patting it with two wooden paddles. It looked very simple, after a few practices.

We were given a tour of the Dairy. It takes a lot of work to keep everything clean and sterile, especially in the country!

The machines are all very expensive and specialised, but they save a lot of time.

I took home a bottle of whey.

I’m surprised that it’s not used a lot more. It has more of a tang than milk. It makes lovely bread, scones, and smoothy drinks.

I used it in my porridge with honey and it’s highly recommended!

No, I’m not going to give away all their secrets, so if you want to learn about making cheese, you need an unusual gift, or you just fancy a great day out, contact;

High Weald Dairy LLP

Tremains Farm


West Sussex


TEL 01825 791636

Fax 01825 791641






About Lyn

LYN FUNNELL CV (well, sort of!) Lyn had very successful careers as an Air Hostess, Sales Rep, (she was one of only a couple of women. She beat all the men regularly, becoming the Top Rep in the UK, and 2nd in the world.) And then Catering took over. She did everything from the washing-up, to Silver Service Waitress, and Chef. A few times, she had to cook the meal, dash round the other side and Silver Serve it! In between all this, she wrote as often as she could, building up a reputation as a published short story writer, (Horror and a twist in the tale,) and a Poet. She has appeared as a Performing Poet, and a Demo Chef. Then she discovered the world of the Food & Travel Writer. And that’s what she has continued doing to this day. Her main hobbies are Cookery and entering Competitions. She has won many prizes, including holidays and a moped. She enjoys entering Competitions, submitting her original recipes. She was first in many Competitions, including the Good Housekeeping Millenium Menu, Fruits of France, Bernard Matthews Turkey Recipe, and appeared on BBC’s The One Show Spag Bol contest. She was one of three Finalists, coming 2nd, which makes her Britain’s Spag Bol Queen! Now she runs B-C-ing-U! and loves it! After several years of being messed around by Editors, and having loads of contacts, Lyn formed her own online Magazine, vowing to treat her writers fairly, and to do everything possible to further their careers, publicise their books, etc. She now has a band of excellent regular writers, and the Magazine’s going from strength to strength! Lyn’s online published books; Adverse Camber A collection of my published poems. The First Book of Short Stories The Second Book of Short Stories The Third Book of Short Stories. Many of these stories have been previously published. St Anthony of Padua. The Patron St of the Old. A story of one woman’s terrible ordeal in a Home, and her family’s rescue of her. The Girl Who Watched. A Cuban girl is attacked by an English journalist & what follows! Willy the Whizz & the Wormhole. Suitable for Young Adults, aged 15-95! Get Out Of Debt And Stay Out – Forever! Unsympathetic, hard-hitting, realistic solutions to your problems. All these books are published by Andrews UK Ltd www.andrewsuk.com No, I didn’t pay them to Vanity Publish! They’re all available from Amazon, and many other online publishers. LYN FUNNELL.