Lancashire is a crumbly cows milk cheese from the county of Lancashire in England. It is used in Welsh Rarebit (also called Welsh Rabbit). Most commercially available Lancashire is aged about 6 to 8 weeks. The taste and texture change as the cheese ages, with older cheeses having a creamier texture and deeper flavor.
Historically the cheese was made from 2 or 3 days worth of milkings. Milk from the first day was curdled. Then curds from the second day's milking was added to the first day's curd. This was because the cheese was made by small farmers who didn't have enough surplus milk to make a large batch of cheese from one day's milking. Cheese that is still made in this traditional fashion has a more mottled texture than most of the modern Lancashire cheeses.
Cheese has been made in Lancashire County since at least the 13th century, though it was probably much different than it is today.
Around the year 1890, Joseph Gornall, and county council employee, had the goal of standardizing cheesemaking in the Lancashire County. He started visiting all the cheesemakers in the county, observing their methods and giving them practical advise.
There are 3 main varieties of Lancashire cheese.
Creamy Lancashire is aged 4 to 12 weeks. It is a traditional type and has been made for over 120 years.
Tasty Lancashire is aged 3 to 24 months. It too is a traditional type and has been made for over 120 years.
Crumbly Lancashire is the most common type available now, but it has only been made since the 1960's. It was introduced to compete with other crumbly British cheeses such as Wensleydale, Caerphilly, and Cheshire. It is easier and cheaper to produce than the two traditional types. Outside of Lancashire County this type is the dominant type, with the two traditional types being rather rare.
lancashirecheese.com is a website promoting 7 producers of Lancashire Cheese in Lancashire County, and has more information on the history and production of their cheese.
Where to buy
You can find Lancashire Cheese online at amazon.com