How to make Dairylea.

I’ve said some stupid things in my time on this planet.

Like the time I confidently wrote an article in a technology magazine deriding Twitter as a passing fad for losers.

Or the time I said, “Sure it’ll fit” right before gouging a deep hole in the wall with the edge of a new sofa.

But top of the long list of Stupid Stuff That Sally Said must be when I – as a new, innocent parent – said, “Of course, Flea will only ever eat organic, home-made food.” 

Clearly, I’d forgotten my own idleness when making this statement. Either that, or I had really, really high hopes for the nanny.

Anyway, as time went on I’ve become more relaxed about food, and Flea is now familiar with the noble pizza, the freshly grilled sausage, and the odd packet of crisps.

One are where I refuse to compromise my principles, though, is cheese.

I know many bloggers feel passionately about bacon, but for me it’s all about cheese. Whether it’s mature cheddar melted on toast, or a chunk of brie on a baguette, I love it.

I vividly remember recoiling from the refrigerator in the supermarket the day I looked at the ingredients on one of those kid-friendly cheese packages to see the main ingredient listed as “cheese food”. Seriously?

Life’s too short to eat something called “cheese food”.

Flea felt much the same, too, having been raised on proper cheese. I remember once being at a motorway service station and completely stuck for something to feed Flea as a toddler. In desperation, I bought her a mini Babybel. Flea chewed it, looked completely disgusted, tried to swallow, and promptly threw it back up with a stern, Not cheese, Mummy.” 

So we were both really pleased to be invited down to London to meet with Dairylea, who have recently modified the recipe of their cheese to remove all the emulsifiers and replace them with just seven entirely natural ingredients. So to make Dairylea now, you only need milk, butter, cheese, lemon juice and baking soda. (Technically you also need a factory to turn some of the milk into whey powder and proteins, but you get the idea). You can even make your own cheese spread by melting cheese into some milk, adding a bit of butter, lemon, baking soda and ‘whey proteins’ – admittedly, I’m not sure quite which aisle at Tesco those are sold on, but it was pretty good fun to make my own cheese spread.

We had a fab day with the Dairylea team at Surrey Docks City Farm, with Jo, Pippa, Jen, Chrissie and Alex – the kids got a chance to meet lots of animals and also make their own cheese spread.  The new recipe tastes exactly the same as old Dairylea, so far as I can tell, and it’s a good option for kids who find regular cheese too strong a flavour. I’m still not keen but Flea gave the new recipe a thumbs up.

The company is also running a promotion on its Facebook page where you can reclaim the cost of a packet of new Dairylea, giving you the chance to try it for free – marvellous. Now there’s never an excuse for anyone to have to buy “cheese food”.

Disclosure: our expenses to attend this event were met by Dairylea. Opinions our own. 



Sally is a full-time blogger and founder of the Tots100, Trips100, Foodies100 and HIBS100 communities, along with the MAD Blog Awards. She spends a bit too much time on the Internet. She’s also a very happy Mum to Flea, the world’s coolest ten year old.

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  1. 19th July 2012 / 8:38 am

    Second try – ignore this if the first comment came through. Just wanted to say “Hooray!” that a major food company has moved away from chemicals towards more ‘real’ food.
    Midlife Singlemum recently posted..Dancing In The Rain – River Of TearsMy Profile

    • 21st July 2012 / 9:13 pm

      It’s great that Dairylea has invested time and money into finding an alternative to those artificial ingredients, I agree.

  2. purplemum
    19th July 2012 / 6:53 pm

    Sounds like a step in the right direction but I’m a cheese purist and my kids would much prefer a hunk of good old mature cheddar. Or here’s an idea for a cheese spread, melt said mature cheddar, put some on a knife, spread. It’s a winner I’m sure of it.

    • 19th July 2012 / 7:58 pm

      But the emulsifiers keep the cheese liquid. If you melt cheese onto bread and leave it, 2 minutes later all you have is congealed cheese – that’s not nice even for me and I’m a real *cheese purist*

      • Purplemum
        19th July 2012 / 9:07 pm

        Hmm ok you may have a point. How about this then dairy lea as a marg alternative in a proper cheese sandwich ?

        • 21st July 2012 / 9:14 pm

          Well, personally, I prefer a bit of brie and basil, but I’m basically pretentious.

  3. One Mother's Notes
    19th July 2012 / 8:26 pm

    I made those same silly statements. I do try and feed my LO home cooked food often but we’ve slowly left organic behind. It’s way too pricey. As for the cheese, mmmm.

    • 21st July 2012 / 9:14 pm

      I just think you forget when you have a baby that your kids are people and just as opinionated and unique as you!

    • 21st July 2012 / 9:14 pm

      The new recipe tastes similar – Flea likes it, but I find it a little too mild for my taste – although you can also use it in cooking, which is great.

  4. 21st July 2012 / 8:13 am

    We are also real cheese lovers in our house, and Baba could easily look like a piece of cheese he eats so much of it x
    Kerry recently posted..Growing UpMy Profile

    • 21st July 2012 / 9:15 pm

      I think basically I’m about 20% cheese at this point.