This is a long one folks...
After we made our own Mozzarella & Ricotta, Matt decided it was time to step our cheese making up a bit & try some firmer cheeses. First thing he did was purchase Home Cheese Making: Recipes for 75 Delicious Cheeses by Ricki Carroll. He'd done a lot of research & thought this one would suit our purposes best. Then he decided we'd start with a relatively easy cheese, Farmhouse Cheddar. If you are interested in trying this yourself I recommend getting the book but here's a little photo journal of our experience.
First we start with 2 gallons of whole milk which is slowly heated to 90 F. Then a starter is added. The milk is held at 90 F & sits for 45 minutes. Then rennet is stirred into the milk & it sits covered for another 45 minutes. At this point the milk will have turned to curd.
The curd then needs to be cut. We used a long sharp knife. The curd gets cut straight in to directions & the diagonally to the bottom of the pot twice.
Then over 30 minutes the curd is brought up to 100 F in a water bath very slowly. Then drain the water & let it sit 5 minutes.
Then the curd is drained from the whey in a cheesecloth covered colander.
The cheesecloth is tied up & hung so that the curd can drain.
The curd is then put into a bowl & crumbled into walnut size pieces & tossed with flake salt. At this point it tastes like salty cottage cheese.
Then you need a cheese mold. Matt made ours by using two identical size plastic containers from IKEA. One container gets holes drilled into it to drain more whey.
The container with the holes drilled in it is draped with cheese cloth & then filled with curds. The cheesecloth is wrapped over the top of the curds. The other container goes on top to press down on the curds.
Now you start pressing. Put the cheese mold into a pan to catch the draining whey. The first pressing should be about 10 lbs & last 10 minutes.
Remove the cheese from the mold, unwrap it from the cheesecloth. Tune it over, rewrap it & return it to the mold.
Then it gets pressed for another 10 minutes with 20 lbs. The cheese is turned over again & then pressed with 50 lbs for 12 hours at room temperature/
After 12 hours the cheese is removed from the mold & unwrapped. It is much firmer now & tastes a bit sour.
Because our plastic containers had a rounded bottom we trimmed them up a bit for a flatter surface. The cheese now sits uncovered at room temperature for 2 to 4 days to ripen & form a rind. We flipped it a couple times a day.
After two days the cheese has a nice rind & is ready to be waxed. We chilled it in the fridge a bit first. Now it is starting to smell like cheddar & not sour milk.
We bought cheese wax & then melted it in a double boiler. Using a natural bristle paint brush the cheese is coated with two thin coats of wax. We double check for any air holes as that causes mold. Now the cheese rests for 4 weeks at a temp between 46 & 68 F before it is ready to be tasted. Stay tune...
We got our cheesemaking supplies from the New England Cheesemaking Supply Co & Leener's online.
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© 2007-2009 Kathy Lewinski
© 2007-2009 Kathy Lewinski