What is Lancashire Cheese?
Lancashire cheese is generally made in Lancashire, England, and it is always made from cow's milk. It has a crumbly texture and a mild flavor when the cheese is young, but as it becomes older, the taste matures and becomes sharper. It also hardens a bit as it ages, while younger cheese is generally much more moist. Most Lancashire cheese sold in stores is the younger variety, while the older type is more of a specialty item.
As Lancashire ages, there are actually different names for it. Creamy Lancashire cheese is the younger kind. In most cases, this kind of cheese has only been aged for about five months or so. When the cheese is aged longer, it's called tasty Lancashire. The length of aging on this kind of cheese can vary depending on individual cheese maker’s preferences, but six months is a good ballpark number.
A third type of Lancashire cheese has been developed in more recent years called crumbly Lancashire. This kind is generally younger than regular Lancashire, and it has a milky taste. All the different kinds of Lancashire cheese have similar recipes with a few differences here and there. The primary thing that separates them is the length of the aging process.
Lancashire is generally a good cheese to use in cooking, and there are a lot of recipes requiring it. This is partly because it is known to be good for recipes that need melted cheese, and it maintains a good texture when heated. Many people in Lancashire like to put the cheese on their toast, and it has even been called "toaster" cheese for that very reason.
The normal recipe to make Lancashire involves taking cow’s milk and adding a starter culture along with rennet, which is an enzyme from animal stomachs. The two ingredients help the milk to curdle more rapidly and in a more useful way. Two days' worth of curd is normally used. Once collected, the curds are salted and pressed to reduce moisture and make them into solid pieces. After that, the product is wrapped in gauze with wax and allowed to age for several months.
In historical terms, this type of cheese is relatively recent. Although people have been making cheese in that area for hundreds of years, the cheese that is currently called "Lancashire cheese" has only been around since the 19th century. Like many cheeses, it was developed mostly for practical reasons as a way of preserving milk.
My grandmother was from England and she loved to eat Lancashire cheese on top of toast. That and a hot cup of tea were her staple breakfast.
She always ate the creamy young Lancashire but I prefer the bolder flavor of the aged cheese. It's one of my favorite burger toppings
I lived in Lancashire for a few years and I fell in love with their signature cheese when I was there. I know this might seem strange because it is not a distinctively flavored cheese but that is what I like about it. It is creamy and rich without being overpowering.
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