I love making cheddar cheese. It is so relaxing and satisfying to know you are making something useful. It has such a great flavor even fresh! We are planning to age this 4 pound wheel of cheddar cheese for at least 30 days. Aging cheese gives it the texture, flavor and body that is distinct to the cheddar varieties. This is a raw cheddar because I never heated the product above 90 to 100 degrees F. Raw milk products are so beneficial to our bodies because they are loaded with all the available nutrients, enzymes, and good bacteria. I have filmed this process for our next DVD so that is exciting. I actually like making Cheddar hard cheese more than Mozzarella cheese. It is a slower process but you can be busy doing a host of other things while your cheese is ripening.
CHEDDAR CHEESE RECIPE
•Heat 2 gallons of raw milk to 90˚F (cow’s milk) 85˚F (goat milk)
•Add Mesophilic starter (www.cheesemaking.com)
Stir in and let ripen for 45 minutes.
•Add 1/2 tsp. liquid rennet or 1/2 rennet tablet to 1/4 cup of cool water. Mix first, then add to the ripened milk. Let set up for another 45 minutes.
•Cut the curds with a long knife into 1/2 -1 inch cubes. Stir as you increase the temperature to 100˚F. Set the pot into a dish pan adding boiling water to the dish pan while stirring the curds.
•Let the curds set for 5 minutes covered.
•Pour out the curds into a colander lined with some cheese cloth, to drain the whey off. Pull up the edges of the cheese cloth and tie them together. Hand the curds, free from any drafts for an hour to drain more whey off.
•Take the curds out and break them into smaller pieces, like the size of a quarter. Add 1-2 Tbs. sea salt, knead into cheese.
•Ladle the curds into your cheese mold line with cheese cloth.
•Apply 10 lbs of pressure for 10 minutes
•Take the cheese out of the mold, removing the cloth and flipping it upside down. Place back into the mold and press at 20 lbs pressure for 10 more minutes.
•Repeat this process only this time, only apply 50 lbs pressure, overnight or 12-14 hours.
•Undress the cheese and dry it for a couple days until it feels dry to the touch. A nice rind will form.
•Wax and age for 1-3 months in a 50-60˚F place (root cellar) or just in the refrigerator will do.