St Jude is a lactic cows’ milk cheese made from unpasteurised milk. It is produced by award-winning cheesemaker, Julie Cheyney, just outside Bungay on the Suffolk and Norfolk border. It has a delicate rind with complex milky flavours of butter and fresh grass and a dense and creamy texture.
It is a true artisan cheese, handmade, with flavours varying through the seasons due to changes in the milk.
In 2013, St Jude won The James Aldridge Trophy for Best British Raw Milk Cheese.
What makes St Jude special?
‘Slow and gentle’ is the Whitewood Dairy mantra. Julie Cheyney oversees every step of the process herself with as little human intervention as possible.
The cheese is made with the protein-rich milk of Montbeliarde cattle, which graze the lush water meadows of the Waveney Valley. Their milk is prized by cheesemakers because of the distinct and complex flavours it gives to cheese. It is used traditionally in Alpine cheeses like Comte and Vacherin.
Fen Farm milk travels straight from the milking parlour to the cheese room using a gravity feed. Pumping can damage the fat globules in the milk which affects the cheese and can turn it rancid.
Cultures and animal rennet are added to the milk and the cheese is left to develop, which can take between 12 and 24 hours. Julie lives close to the dairy and returns periodically throughout the day (and night) to check the setting and acidity point. Only at the correct moment does she ladle it by hand into moulds where it is left to drain, gently rather than being pressed. Once removed from its mould the cheese is aged for about four weeks to develop flavour and its rich creamy consistency.
Julie Cheyney & Whitewood Dairy
Julie is a highly experienced cheesemaker with a background in dairy farming. She first milked cows aged 16 and driven by her fascination for milk learned to make cheese in about 2005. She visited cheesemakers in the UK and around Europe to learn the art of farmhouse cheesemaking and co-created the award winning Tunworth brie-style cheese in Hampshire. Tunworth won Supreme Champion at British Cheese Awards in 2006.
Julie started making St Jude in 2012 in Hampshire. Her belief that the quality of cheese comes from good milk which in turn is the result of good farming and animal husbandry, brought her to Fen Farm in Suffolk in 2014 to work side-by-side with the Crickmore family, makers of Baron Bigod. The Crickmore’s herd of Montbeliarde cattle provide the protein-rich milk she needs to make St Jude.
Julie recommends letting St Jude’s breathe at room temperature before eating. It pairs well with charcuterie and a fruity white wine.