Yoghurt Experiment

So today we’ve experimented with making sheep’s milk yoghurt.

Jars of yoghurt, ready to incubate.

Sam first tried sheep’s milk yoghurt during a visit to the Royal Bath & West Show in Somerset. While there, he visited a sheep dairy who make lovely cheese and yoghurt from their milk – Wootton Organic Dairy.

Because sheep’s milk is naturally richer and sweeter than other milks, it makes a thick, velvety textured yoghurt with a lovely clean, sweet and acidic flavour.

We’ve always intended on making a small amount of this luxurious yoghurt for our own consumption, and we’re experimenting with whether we could make this one of our products.

Step one is to heat the milk to 85oC, and leave it there for 5 minutes. This helps the milk to evaporate and concentrate, as evidenced by the line around the side of the pan showing the original level of the milk.

Heating the milk in this way is important to get the right texture and structure in the yoghurt. Heating denatures the albumin proteins, allowing them to be captured better as the yoghurt coagulates.

It also helps sweeten the flavour of the milk by cooking the lactose.

Step two is to cool the milk down to between 42oC and 45oC. This is the ideal temperature for the bacterial cultures to grow and ferment the milk into yoghurt.

Once down to the target temperature, it is time to add a cultures. You can buy a myriad of yoghurt cultures online, but any live yoghurt is essentially a living yoghurt culture. We added about 200ml of bio-live yoghurt to the milk and stirred in well.

Step three is to pour the warm, cultured milk into whatever tubs or pots you wish to serve your yoghurt in. The yoghurt will ferment and set in these pots.

Once the milk is transferred to the pots, these should be incubated for at least 4 hours. If possible, the temperature should be kept at over 40oC during this time. The yoghurt will still ferment and set at lower temperatures, but will take much longer.

We put the pots into large Tupperware boxes filled with warm water, then placed these into the oven, to act as an insulated box.

Finally, simply wait until the yoghurt in the pots has set and turned nicely firm. If the temperature has dropped considerably during fermentation, this can take up to 12 hours, so be prepared to be patient!

As soon as it is set, place the yoghurts into a fridge and enjoy.

If you’d like to try our sheep’s milk yoghurt, watch this space! We are working on an outlet for this delicious product soon.

Milking season 2020

We have (finally) started milking this year!

It’s been a rather strange and difficult year. A couple of the storms in early 2020 caused some damage to our set-up at The Courtyard Dairy, and the Covid-19 crisis has made us step back and re-evaluate what we are going to do this year.

As we’re both still working (cheese, farming and agriculture do not stop for the lockdown), we decided to postpone milking the sheep until a little later than originally planned. This both gave us some breathing space, but also allowed the lambs a longer time with access to milk, allowing them to grow faster and stronger.

We milked the ewes for the first time this week, and the plan is to start making some cheeses and soaps in the next week or two.

As always, we’ll probably forget to update this website, so please do follow us on Facebook or Instagram for more regular posts.

Dougal Campbell Award Winners

We are very pleased to announce that we have won the Dougal Campbell Award 2019 from the Specialist Cheesemakers Association!

Dougal Campbell winners 2019

This is a great bursary award, designed to encourage and support young and aspiring cheesemakers in their development.

We’re over the moon to have won the award and thoroughly enjoyed attending the Specialist Cheesemakers Association farm visit at Loch Arthur Camphill Community in Dumfriesshire.

Dougal was an inspiring and trail-blazing producer of raw milk cheese, and an avid proponent of high quality British raw milk cheeses. Along with other pioneers such as James Aldridge and Randolph Hodgson, Dougal helped to build and shape the revival of farmhouse cheesemaking in the UK, becoming a founding member of the Specialist Cheesemakers Association in the process.

Dougal was also a lifelong proponent of organic agriculture and sustainable farming, setting up Welsh Organic Foods to help promote the benefits of organic produce, and organic cheese in-particular. Alongside Patrick Holden, he established the Soil Association Council.

While we never met or knew Dougal personally, it is immensely meaningful to receive a memorial bursary award in the name of such a passionate and forward thinking champion of raw milk cheese and sustainable agriculture. With the support of the bursary, we hope to build a farming and cheesemaking model of which he would have approved.

Thank you to the expert panel at the Specialist Cheesemakers Association for believing in our business vision, and giving us the honour of this award.

SHEEPtember – Cheese Festival

Event at The Courtyard Dairy | Crows Nest Barn | LA2 8AS


Book your place:

The event and most of the demonstrations are free of charge.

You only need to book if you wish to partake in a cheese and beer pairing, or if you want to attend a tour of Long Churn cave with Yorkshire Dales Guides. These are paid events which have a set allocation of places, so book soon to avoid disappointment! 

To book a cheese and beer pairing at £10 per person, simply email us at info@longchurn.uk using the subject SHEEPtember.

Please specify the number of people attending and the time you wish to book. We will be in touch to confirm your place and to take payment. We can accept card payments over the phone, or bank transfers. If you are local, you can pay in cash at The Courtyard Dairy.

To book a tour of Long Churn cave at £25 per person, email Mike & Steph at info@yorkshiredalesguides.co.uk or call 01729 824455 for more information.

Note: the caving session will take around 3 to 4 hours in total, with 1 to 1.5 hours spent in the caves. Timings are such that cavers will arrive back in time for the cheese and beer pairings.

The Event:

Join us for our business launch, a day exploring the lost Yorkshire Dales tradition of sheep dairying and farmhouse sheep’s cheese production as part of the Yorkshire Dales Cheese Festival.

We will be demonstrating sheep milking and cheese making techniques, and talking about their journey into the world of dairy-sheep farming and cheese making, our principles of small-scale, ethical and sustainable production, and our plans for the future.

Alongside this, a group of fantastic new and local small businesses will present activities including working sheepdog demonstrations, cheese and beer pairings, an ice-cream stall, and tours of nearby Long Churn cave, home of the famous ‘cheese-press’ formation.


  • Sheep milking demonstrations with Rachael of Long Churn – 14:30 & 17:00 – FREE
  • Cheese making demonstrations with Sam of Long Churn – 15:00 & 17:30 – FREE
  • Working sheepdog demonstrations with Amos of Winterburn Working Sheepdogs – Ongoing, main event at 16:00 – FREE
  • Cheese & Beer pairings with Andy of The Courtyard Dairy using cheese from Long Churn and beer from Tom at Lamb Brewery, Littondale – 15:30 & 18:00 – £10
  • Tours of Long Churn Cave and the Cheese-Press with Steph and Mike of Yorkshire Dales Guides – 9:30 & 13:00 – £25
    Note: the session will take around 3 to 4 hours in total, with 1 to 1.5hrs spent in the caves. Timings are such that cavers will arrive back in time for the cheese and beer pairings.

A hand-pump bar operated by Tom of Lamb Brewery and an ice-cream stall operated by Fiona of Bouncing Cow will be open throughout the day.

We hope you can join us, and look forward to meeting you there!


Chasing dreams

A bit about Rachael:

If you were to ask me, I suppose the biggest change that has happened in the last few months is that I sold my wagon. Now I could forgive you for thinking that this doesn’t seem like such a big deal without proper context. So allow me to give you that context, and hopefully it will help to show how serious we both are about this business and the sacrifices that are sometimes necessary along the way to achieving a dream.

Bear with me here; it will all make sense by the end…

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