Sarah Featured In The Great British Food Magazine

Our lovely Cheese Making Workshop teacher, Sarah from The Shebbear Cheese Co, has been featured in this month's Great British Food Magazine. A huge congratulations Sarah! Very well deserved!

IMG_6399 Sarah along with a number of great British small producers and farmers, share about how they cope with Christmas, and the time, effort and energy involved in creating all the delicious food they produce for us to enjoy with our loved ones around the Christmas table.


We only have 2 more spots left on Sarah & Chris's 1st  Cheese Making Workshop for 2014 on Saturday  15th February. And spots are filling up quickly on their 2nd Cheese Making Workshop on Saturday 26th April. So if you love cheese, and want to learn how to make it, do come along!

You can find out more about the workshop here »

You can read all about our last Cheese Making Workshops with Sarah hereherehere.

If you stuck for Christmas Gift Ideas, why not give the gift of Good Food with your nearest and dearest by treating them to a gift voucher for one of the Cheese Making Workshops? We offer gift vouchers which will allow the recipient to choose a workshop that best suits their schedule.

To find out more and book your spot on one of the Cheese Making Workshops, call Sue on 01278 662629 or email


DIY Feta Cheese for Beginners


The talented duo - Sarah & Chris from the Shebbear Cheese Co

A couple of weeks ago, we hosted another fabulous Cheese Making Workshop with the very lovely Sarah & Chris from the Shebbear Cheese Co. It was our third workshop with the talented duo - the first workshop was held in November last year, and the 2nd workshop was in February this year, and was featured in The Western Morning News. As always, a fantastic time was had by all.

Our next Cheese Making Workshop will be held next February 2014, and this time Sarah and Chris will be teaching us to make a delicious Cambozola type and Borough blue cheese. We can't wait! Details will be on our Workshop page soon.

Today, Sarah and Chris have kindly allowed us to share their famous, absolutely delicious feta cheese recipe. There’s an enormous satisfaction in making your own feta cheese. Not only does homemade feta taste incredible, but it delivers a pioneer, up-by-my-bootstraps joy that a store-bought version just can’t give no matter how wonderful it is. Once you get your first taste of homemade feta, you’ll agree it was worth the effort.

Before we get started some important notes:

  • Stay calm! Cheese making is not supposed to be stressful. It may seem complicated, but it isn’t. Just go one step at a time and you’ll get there.
  • Don’t get freaked out by the length of time it takes to make this. Much of the time is hands-off time. Another warning for those who haven’t made cheese or fermented something before; it gets a little, um, pungent smelling at times. Keep a-going. Don’t worry! Remember that cheese making is essentially controlling how fast and in what way milk ‘goes bad’. If it goes bad the right way it’s delicious!
  • The only special equipment you really need to pull this off is a large stainless steel or other non-reactive pot, a heat source, a long knife or off-set spatula, a colander, something from to drain the cheese in and muslin cloth (extra, super, mega fine cheesecloth.)  Do not confuse this with the “fine” cheesecloth you get in the grocery store or hardware store. It’s confusing terminology, but that stuff is so not fine. Just look for something called butter muslin and you’ll be fine.

How to Make Your Own Cow's Milk Feta Cheese


Safety First: How to sanitise your equipment

Cheese making relies on good bacteria (the kind found in yogurt) as a preservative. But there are other types of bacteria you need to watch out for, to avoid illness. Basic home sanitising measures can eliminate much of the danger.

Follow these steps:

Clean counters with antibacterial wipes and wash your hands thoroughly before beginning (and throughout the process, as necessary).

Sterilise all equipment, in one of three ways:

1. Wash in hot, soapy water, rinse, and then submerge in boiling water for at least 10 minutes.

2. Steam by putting an inch of water in the bottom of a large pot, adding the equipment, covering the pot tightly, and boiling for 10 minutes. (If the cover doesn’t fit, put aluminum foil over it to trap the steam.)

3. Use the sanitise setting on your dishwasher.

Do not use bleach in cleaning the equipment, as this can interfere with the chemistry of cheese making.

If at any point in the making or aging process you see small, uniform, round holes throughout the cheese, and it feels spongy, throw it out.

Day 1: Make the Cheese Curd


8L whole milk (organic if possible) 1/4 tsp mesophilic MM100 culture 1/4 tsp Lipase 1/4 tsp calcium chloride in 1/4 cup (50ml) boiled and cooled water) 1/4 vegetable rennet dissolved in 1/4 cup (50ml) boiled and cooled water) Brine solution

To understand the science behind cheese making, it’s helpful to remember that it began as a way of preserving milk. You start by encouraging milk to curdle so that you can separate the solid portion (the curds) from the liquid (the whey). Rennet, a natural enzyme, is added to cause curdling. You also add live cultures, here in the form of yogurt—these “eat” the milk sugar (lactose) and produce an acid, which lowers the milk’s pH. That acidic environment, along with heat, helps the rennet curdle the milk.

Once the milk coagulates into curds, you cut into it to let the whey flow out. The remaining whey is drained off by hanging the curd in cheesecloth for 24 hours at room temperature. Once drained, the cheese will have reformed into a solid mass, ready to be cut into cubes and then sprinkled with salt to draw out any remaining whey.


1. Heat milk in a large stainless steel or other non-reactive pot to 31C. Remove from heat.

2. Sprinkle culture and lipase over surface of milk and let stand for 5 minutes to rehydrate. Using skimmer and an up-and-down motion, gently draw culture down into milk without breaking the surface of the milk. 20 strokes. Cover and let ripen for 1 hour, maintaining temperature at 31C.

3. After 40 minutes of ripening time dissolve 1/4 rennet tablet in 17$ (50ml) boiled and cooled water.

4. After 1 hour add calcium chloride and draw milk down into milk using up-and-down motion. 20 strokes.

5. Add rennet in water and draw down into the milk as before.

6. Cover and let set for 30-40 minutes (this sometimes takes 1 hour). Maintaining temperature at 31C.

7. Check for a clean break. If achieved, use a palatte knife and cut into 3/4 (2cm) cubes. Let stand for 5 minutes.

8. Stir curds gently with skimmer for 20 minutes. They will firm up and shrink. Let stand for 10 minutes.

9. Ladle curds into muslin-lined colander. Let drain for 5 minutes.

10. Fill mold with curds. Flip after 10-15 minutes. Then flip every 15 minutes or so for 1 hour. Leave to drain for 24 hours.

IntroPageTip1Day 2: Brine the Feta

Brine Solution

Dissolve 1/8 cup salt in 475ml boiling water. Cool before putting feta in.


1. Remove Cheese from the mold and cut into slices.

2. Place Brine solution in a plastic container with lid and keep in fridge.

The flavour will increase over time but the feta can be eaten within 3 days of making.


Three Easy Ideas for Serving Feta

• Top with extra-virgin olive oil, herbs, chillies and serve with olives. • Drizzle with honey and cracked black peppercorns; serve with crackers. • Dress with fresh herbs and lemon juice and bake at 190C until golden on top; spread on crusty bread.

Cheese Making Workshop

If you love cheese, then come and learn how to make it!

We have a couple of spots left on our Cheese Making Workshop next week. Make sure you don't miss out on learning the art of making your own semi-soft and feta type handmade cheese using traditional methods.

This hands-on workshop is hosted by Sarah & Chris Styles-Power from The Shebbear Cheese Co in Devon. Sarah will be guiding you through the cheesemaking process, you will learn the use of cultures, rennets, draining, molding, salting and aging your cheese using everyday kitchen equipment.


Date: Tuesday 17th September Time: 10.30am – 4pm Price per person: £85 Booking essential: call Sue on 01278 662629 or email

To find out more click here »

Cheese Making Workshop

“Poets have hitherto been mysteriously silent on the subject of cheese”  G K Chesterton

Last Saturday saw the 2nd cheese making workshop at Clavelshay Barn led by Sarah & Chris Styles-Power of Shebbear Cheese.  Last time Sarah taught the class alone, this time she brought her husband Chris to help keep the class in check.  Sarah and Chris are a great double act – the Morecombe & Wise of the cheese making world and soon had everyone at ease and hands on in the making process.

Shebbear Cheese


A lovely group of people – Annie, Sarah, Caroline, Viv, James, Lynda & Stephen  had a really enjoyable day learning the process of making cheese . The workshop certainly went with a swing, especially all enjoying the lunch with home-made soup, Shebbear cheese and wine. Annie’s rehearsal for her forthcoming village production had us all falling about with laughter. (Note to self – book Annie for every workshop/course as entertainment.)

Shebbear Cheese Shebbear Cheese

Despite the good humour, much was learnt and taken in by our willing students with Annie & Sarah keen to practise at home making their own Classey Valley cheese - can’t wait to try that.  All took home a cheese they had made – a soft feta type and a semi-soft one which needs to mature in the fridge before eating.

Stephen Barrett who was taking part in the course , runs a restaurant in Plymouth (Bistro One)and is also a journalist specialising in food and wine. He is writing an article on the cheese making workshop for the Western Morning News and it should appear within the next few weeks. Photographer Richard Austin took endless trouble taking shots for the article.


Everyone so enjoyed the day that they want another one – we will probably have one in May , when we will learn how to make  a blue cheese.

Thank you to everyone who took part , with special thanks of course to Sarah & Chris .

Spotlight on... Sarah Styles-Power from The Shebbear Cheese Company

We love our local producers, suppliers and Good Food Workshop instructors here at Clavelshay Barn. We love spending time with these amazing people who do what they love, and  their passion for good food and crafting a more sustainable and tasty world is constant source of inspiration for us. We also think most of them have some pretty interesting stories too, so we thought we would share some of our favorites here in an ongoing series.

Starting with our lovely Cheese Making Workshop instructor Sarah Styles-Power from The Shebbear Cheese Company. Sarah runs her little local cheese business with her husband Chris from their home in Devon and makes moreish hand-made cheeses to traditional recipes with quirky names like Old Sheb, Forda, Bramley Barton and Forda Blue which she now sells at local farmers markets.

This is the story of how Sarah became a cheese maker...

How I Started Cheese Making

Four years ago we had a swarm of bees in the wall of a barn. We phoned the local bee keepers association and they sent a couple of their members out to collect the bees. This involved 3 visits and whilst chatting to one of them I discovered that she had a pony and trap – something I was interested in as I had a horse broken to drive but had never been able to afford lessons or a harness and cart! She offered to take me out in hers and it was whilst we were driving around the countryside that we discovered both of us had always wanted to make cheese.

 She had bought some second hand molds and a book and I had a book!

The plan was to buy milk from her neighbour, a dairy farmer and I was to order cultures and rennet. Unfortunately her neighbour wouldn’t sell his milk so we had to use supermarket milk.

There was no plan on the day we just opened the book and decided to make a Derby cheese!

Her largest saucepan wasn’t big enough so we ended up with a 15L plastic bucket that had stored her bee sugar! This didn’t fit properly into the water filled roasting tin but somehow we ended up with curds and whey. We used one of the molds she had bought and then set about pressing it in my cider press using a saucer and wood as a form for the top of the mold.

We then pressed it to death. Surprisingly we ended up with an edible cheese.

Using the left over whey we made ricotta and then lastly made a soft cheese which had to be left for 24 hours to rennet in a warm place. Despite being left on the side of her aga for some hours before her husband came home and pointed out how hot it was, we ended up with a soft cheese that tasted ok.

A few weeks later we had another cheesemaking day and made a cheddar, ricotta and soft cheese.

By this time, I was hooked and decided to buy some cheesemaking supplies and make some cheese at home. The beekeeper was busy studying for exams and didn’t want to come over to mine to make cheese so I gradually worked my way through the cheeses in the book.

Friends started to ask me to make cheese as presents for them and then I attended a Farmers Market in the village and actually sold cheese to customers!


This all happened over 12 months and I was still using supermarket milk which was proving quite expensive. I then found a local farmer who made ice cream with his milk and was prepared (and allowed by DEFRA) to sell milk to me. So for the last 3 years I have been making cheese with this milk and gradually increasing output, and have started selling my cheese at Farmers Markets and Food Fairs.

I find cheesemaking very therapeutic and despite being time-consuming I’ve never got fed up with it, in fact I love being a cheese maker and can’t imagine doing anything else now. I just wish I’d discovered this magical process years ago. I’ve got a lot to thank the bees for!


Sarah will be showing us how to make some of her delicious cheeses at our Cheese Making Workshop on Saturday 23rd February, so if you love cheese, then come and learn how to make it! You can find out more about the workshop here and call Sue to book your spot on 01278 662629.

Sarah's Website: Sarah on Twitter: