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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