Saturday, September 13, 2003

My first attempt at cheddar cheese

Several years ago I started making my own cheese. I started with some “fromage blanc” and some soft goat cheese. Then, I lost interest or got busy with other things…don’t know. But, I did not make cheese for a long time.

This summer I decided to get started again. Only, now I want to make “hard” cheeses. Lynne got me a cheese press for my birthday, and today I made my first attempt at making a cheddar cheese.

It is a “quick” recipe that should be ready in about 4 months. But, getting this first batch going was not easy…

Early this morning we bought 2 gallons of milk and I started working on the cheese following a recipe. It called for me to heat the milk to 90 degrees. I did so. I had a “cheese making” thermometer that I used to carefully measure the temperature of 2 gallons of milk as I heated it in a sort of “double boiler”. Then, I added the mesophillic culture to sour the cheese, then the rennet to cause the curds to form….but, no curds. I ended up throwing it away after many hours of investment. Turns out, the thermometer was busted and I was overheating the milk.

So, off to King Soopers for more milk, mid-afternoon. This time it worked, sort of. I don’t think the curds got as firm as they were supposed to. But, my first batch of “farmhouse cheddar” is now in the cheese press under about 50 pounds of pressure. Tomorrow, I’ll take it out and start the aging process. It needs to set for 3 or 4 days to form a rind. Then, I’ll wax it and let it age in the basement for 4-6 months.

I’ll start a few other batches of other types of cheese over the next few weeks. I’ll post comments here on how things turn out.

Oh yeah, the first cheese I made this summer, after my long vacation from cheese making, was a quick mozzarella! It came out great! Maybe I’ll teach it in the United Way cooking classes I’ll auction off this year.

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Posted under: Cheesemaking • by Rick on 09/13/2003 at 10:42 PM
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  1. The cheddar is made and has been aging for a couple of days. I’ll wax it on Tuesday or Wednesday and let it age for an additional 4 months before trying it.

    We bought a small “dorm room” refrigerator for $100 and put it in the basement. I’ve got it set on its warmest setting and I put a bowl of water in it. I’m hoping this will allow me to store my cheeses at about 55 degrees (F), or so, and maintain a relatively high humidity—tough to do in Colorado, especially in winter.

    I think I’ll try a Gouda, or maybe a Swiss, or maybe a Parmesan next…

    Posted by Rick  on  09/15/2003  at  02:54 PM
  2. I waxed the cheese last night, on the 16th. Upon re-reading the recipe, it says the cheese should age for a minimum of 1 month, meaning we could try it as soon as the middle of October. However, I think I’ll wait and set Thanksgiving as the date when we’ll try it.

    Posted by Rick  on  09/17/2003  at  02:13 PM
  3. We tasted the cheese on 11/14/03. It was a bit damp in the middle, so it crumbled. But, it had a definite “cheddar” flavor to it and was quite good!

    Posted by Rick  on  11/15/2003  at  06:06 PM
  4. I make cheese from buttermilk.  It’s an Indian recipe that I found in Sunset magazine one year in the whey (heehee) back.

    I loved your tribute to your pup on another page.  Thanks for sharing her days with me.

    Wishing you the best and I read Lynne’s blog, too.  We share a first name, she and I.

    Posted by lella  on  11/02/2006  at  12:47 PM
  5. new to this cheese making process. made some soft cheese. want a goo hard cheese recipe. what about making cheese from buttermilk? bought a book not recieved yet.

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  02/21/2008  at  08:18 AM
  6. Sounds great!  Would you attempt it again?  If you are really patient, I would love to try ageing this for much longer.  I went to a cheese factory of sorts in WS where I bought 9 year old aged cheddar and it was the most fantastic cheddar I ever had!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  11/17/2010  at  01:09 PM

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