Bassine Specialty Cheeses

Bassine Specialty Cheeses


We’ve been on this farm now since 1966. Dad moved over here from another farm close to
Wonthaggi. We’re now on the third
generation here. My oldest son Luke
is now operating the farm in conjunction with ourselves our herd is predominantly
Friesian or Holstein. They’re the big black
and white cows. They’re very gentle in nature. But we find them very endearing. They have got personality
and each cow has its own name as well as its own herd
identification. Cows milk twice a day
seven days a week. They do actually get
two months of the year off. I like their holidays.
It’s quite generous. But we always have a herd milking so that we can supply milk
every day of the year. So we have a rotation where some cows
come in some cows go on holidays. They go off to our turnout block Which is on the Bass River. We’ve got three kilometres
of Bass River frontage on thus the name Bass River Dairies. There they spend two months
of their life grazing and just having a holiday. They can see the San Remo bridge. They can see the lights
as such of San Remo and I haven’t heard any complaints yet. Our farm by today’s
standards is quite small. We’re running it
in the old terms 235 acres here which is about 90 hectares
not a large farm at all. What we do do though is we bring
the produce from milking the cows right through to our cheese production or our bottled milk production. We feel that we have control
on the quality of the milk. We know what the cows are eating.
We know what they’re feeding on. We know the condition of the cows
their health their history. We can assure that the milk
that comes through is, one hopes the best milk
you’ll ever get.
I thought about making cheese conventionally. As a way of getting myself
out of the dairy. And as I’d been making cheese at home
and we had all that beautiful milk. I thought about the idea of. Selling. Cheese to the public. It took almost two years
to get to this stage. We had. An appropriate building. We had our food safety plan in place.
And until it was all approved.
Always cleaning.
The basic process of making cheese is that we take fresh milk
from the dairy.
Today we’re going to use 440 litres. Over three Vats. And it’s Pasteurised. Heat exchanger pasteurised And. It runs roughly 200 litres
an hour which is nice and gentle. For the milk. There is a wide variety
of starter cultures that we use. Each one contributes to either adjusting the PH or it will
add a flavour or A Gas.
The holes in Swiss cheese are from. A starter culture that makes gas so we can make
different flavours without adding anything
except starter cultures. We cut.
The curd. And that releases, Whey. The curds have a whey
that you see in the cheese making process. are the solids and the liquid part. Of the milk. Whey still contains. Quite a.
High proportion of protein. So it is good for other things
such as making Ricotta. Or, other forms of cooking. We’re making new things all the time. Especially now that we have that we
have our new Cheesemaker Our new cheesemaker
walked in the door. Last Christmas. And said he was interested
in working with us. Initially I thought
it was too good to be true. So I had to be sure. Because Tony Petersen came to us with 14 years experience at Milawa Cheese
in northern Victoria. And, they have such
a wonderful reputation. So how could it be, that such a person
walk through the door and Asked to work here. We. Chatted for a while
and he came or worked with me for a week in the. cheese room, just so that
we could get to know each other and see how we work together. And I found that he was just terrific and fitted in so well with our team. And since then we’ve produced
a lot more product. We’ve just grown
because of his presence. This is the hard cheese room. Previously Cheeses like these would have
been waxed to keep the air out. Nowadays we use a cryovac
to keep their environment moist. We’re also experimenting
with blue cheese. Which we’ve got hiding
under these blankets. Cheese making is
a very nurturing pastime. It’s also a very gentle pastime. You treat the curds with respect
and handle them delicately. And as with the cheeses
it’s not just creative and it feeds the soul
and the brain at the same time. The thing I love about cheese the most is that transformation
from taking a liquid and turning it into
a really delicious solid. That can take so many different forms. I personally like cheese
to eat just as cheese and the stinkier the cheese is the better as far as I’m concerned. The cafe has been evolving
since we opened two years ago. It started off with a marquee
in the corner with me doing cheese
tastings under there. We now do cheese platters. And. We present local wines. We’ve been blown away
to be honest with the growth of and the interest from the general public in what we’re doing here. In one respect we’ve been
educating our city cousins in where milk does come from. How does cheese get made.
Perhaps in the olden days people would have an uncle,
a grandfather who had a farm and they’d go there on holidays and that connection seems to be lost. We find people are interested
in what we do here and how we do it, because we are
an operating dairy farm. They do come to the shop here
and see animals around them although it’s every day for us. We sometimes get surprised at how people
get excited seeing cows so close. It’s a bit like a computer game
and there’s always a challenge. There’s always a different level
that you have to achieve. No one season is the same. There’s always something
that comes up and surprises you and you’ve got that challenge
to get to where you want to be and you’ve got to use all your resources all your knowledge
and get to that next level and that’s what I find exciting
about dairy farming. It’s never the same. You’ve just got to keep applying
and a bit of hard work. But obviously when the rewards
come out of it when you get a success in seeing
a healthy animal, it’s very gratifying. What I like most
about dairy farming is. The fact that you’re out
there with animals. You get to see a young cow
from a little calf. You’ve reared it. You’re possibly assited
it’s mother in giving birth to that calf. You see it grow. Finally when
she comes into the herd and. Becomes one of your milking cows it it is a very gratifying experience to see that you’ve had
some part in helping her to achieve what she was designed to do. I feel. Excited. About the Future. And, I feel. every step has been
worthwhile along the way. Steadily pursue. Your dream. That’s what we’ve done

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