their own blend of sage Wensleydale cheese which hasn't been tried for generations. Moving swiftly on to the Victorian era, our makers discover there's now a massive gender divide in cheese-making. All this new technology is devised to make the process more predictable and consistent, as well as creating greater volumes of Wensleydale. It presents its own challenge for Jason who hesitantly announces that he hates cheese.
Leaving the farmhouse behind, our makers are now propelled forwards in time to learn how to make early factory Wensleydale in the 1920s. Katie and Claire take the lead, sending Charlton and Jason to collect 20 litres of milk each in heavy back cans. Charlton thinks it tastes a lot like Roquefort, it's much more like a French blue cheese at this early stage.
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Jason takes to it like a duck to water. The final cheese isn't very much like the crumbly Wensleydale we know and love today. In this episode our makers arrive in Wensleydale in the Yorkshire Dales, home of one of Britain's most loved cheeses, to discover its surprising story. There's lots of new equipment like curd cutters, thermometers and a water bath to heat milk. The girls enjoy the tactile nature of separating the curds and whey by hand, but they are relieved they don't have to boil the snails that presenter Steph has skilfully collected. They are surprised at how difficult it is to get even a drop of milk. Cheesemaking has changed dramatically. Over 900 years, they'll explore how Wensleydale cheese started out being made by French monks, moving into rural farmhouse kitchens and then into Britain's supermarkets.
Claire and Katie now have to make farmhouse Wensleydale cheese, typically made by Victorian farmwives in the local area. They are surprised at how much women had to do on the farm alongside cheesemaking. The journey begins in the Monastic period where the makers attempt to produce the very earliest Wensleydale made by Cistercian monks. It's highly physical, but it's exactly what would have been done in the 19th Century. Surrounded by machines, the makers are glad to see that the cheesemakers don't rely completely on technology as the curds are still skilfully hand-checked. Back in the day snail slime was sometimes used as an alternative to rennet.