December 19, 2012

Homemade Cheddar Cheese


OK, I can't wait any longer. I just have to share this. After two months of aging, I had to try this cheddar. The result was a delicious mild cheddar that I know is only going to improve with age. It went really well with some ham and popovers. Yum!

This cheddar recipe is no more difficult than the gouda recipe. There is only a little more time involved, and the aging is typically longer. However, fresh cheese is awesome, and there will likely be enough for you to age it as long as you like.

Have fun, and let me know if you have any questions. Enjoy!

Homemade Cheddar Cheese

Yield: 1 pound of cheddar
  • 1 gallon whole milk
  • 2 ice cubes buttermilk
  • 1/2 tablet rennet
  • 1/4 teaspoon calcium chloride
  • 1 tablespoon non-iodized salt
Cooking Directions
  1. Mix the rennet in 1/4 cup / 50 ml of water. Mix the calcium chloride in 1/4 cup / 50 ml of water.
  2. Using a double boiler or in a pot, warm the milk and liquid calcium chloride to 90F / 32C.
  3. Add mesophilic starter culture and mix thoroughly with a whisk, the culture must be uniform throughout the milk.
  4. Allow the milk to ripen for 45 minutes to 1 hour.
  5. Slowly pour the diluted rennet into the milk, stirring constantly with a whisk. Stir for 1 minute.
  6. Allow the milk to set for 30 minutes to 1 hour until a firm curd is set and a clean break can be obtained when the curd is cut.
  7. With a long knife or whisk, cut the curds into 1/4 inch cubes.
  8. Allow the curds to sit for 5-15 minutes to firm up.
  9. Slowly raise the temperature of the milk to 100-102F / 39C. It should take as long as 45 minutes to reach this temperature. During this time, gently stir the curds every few minutes so they don't mat together.
  10. Keep the curds at 100-102F / 39C for another 45 minutes. During this time, gently stir the curds every few minutes so they don't mat together. They are done when it holds together in your hand if squeezed.
  11. Drain the whey by pouring through a colander. Do this quickly and do not allow the curds to mat, turning with your hands to allow drainage. Save 1/3 of the whey in the pot.
  12. Suspend the colander with the curds over the double boiler or pot. Stir the curds to separate any particles that have matted.
  13. Heat the curds at 100-102F / 39C for 45 minutes to 1 hour, flipping every 10-15 minutes.
  14. Cut the slab into chunks and into strips. Add the tablespoon of salt and mix thoroughly with hands in 3 stages, waiting 1 minute between each.
  15. Carefully place the curds into your cheesecloth lined mold. Cover with cheesecloth.
  16. Press the cheese at about 20 lbs / 9 kg for 45 minutes.
  17. Remove the cheese from the press and flip it.
  18. Press the cheese at about 40 lbs /18 kg for 3 hours.
  19. Remove the cheese from the press and flip it.
  20. Press the cheese at about 50 lbs / 23 kg for 24 hours.
  21. Remove the cheese from the press. Place the cheese on a cheese board or bamboo mat and dry at room temperature for 1-5 days, until the cheese is dry to the touch.
  22. Wax the cheese and age it in your refrigerator for 3-24 months. The longer the cheese is aged the sharper the flavor it will develop. Be sure to flip the cheese every few days.

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