Since then, cheese production has evolved through the generations and, in 2004, White Lake Cheese was introduced, this used Goats milk sourced from local farms. This created a niche market making cheese with Goats milk. Soon White Lake Cheese was adding to its catalogue of cheeses by introducing both cows and ewes milk cheeses.
The ewes milk cheese creates a well balanced Pecorino styled cheese. Roger and Pete followed methods used by generations of Sicilian cheesemakers. The milk is thermised, a process where the milk is heated between 58c and 62c (less than the temperature normally used for pasteurisation). A starter is then added and the process of cheese making begins.
The starter actually consumes the lactose in the milk and creates the lactic acid, the resulting acidification is one of the preserving techniques in cheese making. Vegetarian rennet is then added and the curds and whey begin to form with the whey eventually drained away before the curds are cut and pressed into small cylindrical moulds. The cheese is then washed in brine three times a week and matured for up to 60 days before coming onto the market.
Big Sheep is recognisable by its distinctive rind with yellow spots of Chrysosporium sulfureum and red spots of Sporendonema casei which add to the richness and flavour of the milk plus indicate good ripening conditions so favoured by cheesemakers and cheese lovers all over.
For three years in a row, the cheese has won the Supreme Champion at the British Cheese Awards; 2019 being the last year of winning.