Thursday, May 28, 2009

Making Farmhouse Cheddar

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.
Heating the milk to 90 F
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.
Cutting the 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.
Bring Curd Up to 100 F in a Water Bath
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.
CurdDraining the Curd
Then the curd is drained from the whey in a cheesecloth covered colander.
Hanging the curd to dry
The cheesecloth is tied up & hung so that the curd can drain.
Drained CurdCrumbling Curd & Adding Salt
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.
Homemade Cheese Mold
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.
Adding curd to the moldPressing Curd
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.
First Curd Press about 10 lbs
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.
Cheese after first pressing
Remove the cheese from the mold, unwrap it from the cheesecloth. Tune it over, rewrap it & return it to the mold.
Second Press about 20 lbs
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/
Cheese after 3rd press
After 12 hours the cheese is removed from the mold & unwrapped. It is much firmer now & tastes a bit sour.
Cheese Trimmed & Ready to Ripen for 2 days
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.
Cheese after sitting for 2 days
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.
Waxing the cheeseWaxing the cheeseWaxing the cheese
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.
If you are not reading this post in a feed reader or at OR at then the site you are reading is illegally publishing copyrighted material. Contact me at katbaro AT yahoo DOT COM. All recipes, text and photographs in this post are the original creations & property of the author unless otherwise noted.
© 2007-2009 Kathy Lewinski


Jersey Girl Cooks said...

I am so impressed. You reminded me that I want to order some stuff to make cheese.

HungryinSW said...

Wow. Inspiring. Taking my first crack at Mozzarella this weekend up north. Hopefully I'll be on to the cheddar soon.

jillian said...

WOW, I am really impressed! I can't wait to hear how it turns out!

Christina Kim said...

i am THOROUGHLY impressed! Wow. Can't wait to see the final product!

Giff said...

going to keep with the all-caps comment theme. this is SO cool you are doing this :) can't wait to hear the results!

Jen said...

Looks like everyone is saying it but-- wow... your dedication to the cheese is very impressive-- not sure I would have that much patience for it but I can't wait to hear how yours comes out.

Peter M said...

Kat, I wowed and impressed...mozzarella's easy but this takes some craft...bravo!

Alicia Foodycat said...

I am excited by this! I bought some stuff from Leeners after your mozzarella experiment, but I haven't used it yet.

Thistlemoon said...

I am looking forward to begin my cheesemaking forays once we move to the new place! I have the same book (I has already been packed).

What kind of milk did you use? I know when I read the book is says using pasteurized milk for the firmer cheeses would not work.

Lori said...

This is great Kat. You are amazing! I need to try this. I have already bookmarked the link for the cheese making supplies.

PG said...

Great perseverance in the cheese department. Can't wait to see the final product.

Where does the orange colour in cheddar come from?

grace said...

patience is not a virtue i possess, so i admire your endeavor here. four weeks is a long time to wait for pay-off. ;)

Just the Right Size said...

Wow great pictorial! I've been wanting to try my hand a cheeskmaking (we already make wine, beer, and canned goods). It looks fairly simple, just takes time and a few special ingredients/tools.

My husband says if I come home with a butter churn, he's going to have an intervention!

shopgirl said...

So impressive! Wow.
I want to see the picture of the 50lb. pressing. What did you do? Sit on it?
Barbara Kingsolver goes into cheese making by the end of Animal Veg. Miracle... You guys are THERE!

Lori said...

I love your cheese making posts! This is great! As soon as I have all the right tools (not in my kitchen in Brazil) I'm giving cheese making a try. You've definitely inspired me!

Elle said...

Wow, I'm so impressed!! You guys do the coolest stuff.

Bill Ritchotte said...

I love what you did. I just couldn't wait 3-4 weeks. I want to eat it now. What is the starter? Rennet?

kat said...

Jenn - Everything we have read has said you can used Pasteurized milk but not Ultra Pasteurized so we are able to just use the milk from the grocery store.

Shopgirl - For 50lbs we used quite a few books, some bricks, & my flour container.

BJ - Used in cheese making mesophilic starter is a Lactic acid-producing starter bacteria which is used to produce cheeses when the cooking temperature is 39°C or lower.
Rennet is an extract from the fourth stomach of young ruminants, such as cows, goats, and sheep. This extract contains a number of enzymes which are designed to help these animals digest their mother's milk, and when added to milk, rennet will cause the milk to coagulate, forming the curds and whey which are so essential in the cheesemaking process.

Umi said...

I love it! You're totally inspiring me to make cheese. Did you guys try it, yet? I am really curious on a follow up entry.

JohnH said...

Looks good, waiting to hear back on how it tasted!

Darcy said...

Thank you for this post.

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