Beginner Farmhouse Cheddar Recipe
Now that we have the press, the next step is finding a hard cheese to test it out.
Ive seen a number of farmhouse cheddar recipes, and the recipes are often pretty exacting. Very specific temperatures, curd sizes, pressing weights, and aging methods. It can be a bit intimidating for a beginner.
Then I came across this video made by the Townsends, a supplier of 18th-century gear for reenactors. The woman heats the curds by the woodstove in a giant tub, measures the temperature with her finger, and spends plenty of time shooing away stray flies. The cheese is pressed without any mention of weights, on an old antique crank press.
Now thats more my speed!
The trick now is to turn a video into a simple recipe for the home cheesemaker.
She starts with a rather large batch of 5 gallons of milk, which would make quite a bit of cheese. Most home cheese presses are only equipped to handle 1.5 to 2 pounds of curds for hard cheese. While you can make your own gigantic cheese press, Im going to scale this down a bit for practicality.
Her directions are vague, add a small handful of salt, which she estimates is 2 to 3 tablespoons. This results in a relatively salty cheese with a dry texture, ideal for grating like parmesan. The extra salt means the cheese will keep better, even with less than perfect temperature control.
Within The Natural Cheddar Caves
This image illustrates beautifully the significance the environment makes to the maturing cheddar cheese. The one on the left was matured in the natural environment of The Cheddar Caves the one on the right within one of our own stores. Each has its own advantages and were excited by the science!
In December 2006, we started maturing some of our cheese in the nearby caves within Cheddar Gorge. The environmental conditions were perfect for cheese maturing constant temperature and high humidity. The environment in which the cheese is matured has a remarkably significant influence on the maturing cheese flavour, texture and moisture. In fact, Goughs Cave in the Gorge, is the original historical Cheddar Cheese larder.
Our Natural Cave Matured cheddar has been an outstanding success due to its complex flavour, aroma and texture. Its unique. Our cheddar from Cheddar is truly history in the making!
Raw Milk Is The Genuine Article
Unpasteurised milk is freshly delivered to our dairy in the village of Cheddar, Somerset, each morning. We source our milk from one local farm, monitoring the quality, composition and temperature of the milk as it arrives.
Once our large, traditional open vat has been filled with this milk, we gently warm it. When ready, we add starter cultures additional bacteria and allow the milk to ripen for a while. These selected bacteria play a vital role in determining the quality, flavour, body and safety of our cheese.
We dont pasteurise our milk, ensuring we preserve the naturally occurring bacteria within it. As a result, our cheese has a more complex flavour than that made from pasteurised milk. Additionally, unpasteurised milk cheese can arguably boost ones health and immune system, containing more probiotic bacteria, nutrients, vitamins and enzymes which would otherwise be denatured during pasteurisation. This is one of our cornerstones, and we are determined to preserve the heritage of this truly authentic cheddar.
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Farmhouse Cheddar ~ 18th Century Recipe
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Farmhouse cheddar is one of the easiest ways to preserve milk and the tradition of making it goes back centuries. These days, due to selective breeding, cows produce 14+ gallons of milk a day.
Even in the 18th century, a milk cow would still produce around 3 gallons of milk per day for a familys use. Generally, cows were in milk from April to November, and cheesemaking is a great way to store surplus summer production for winter use.
My family has been making soft cheeses for the better part of a decade now, and theyre a normal part of our weekly routine. Even now as I write this, my husband is in the kitchen preparing a homemade mozzarella while our 3-year-old daughter eagerly waits for the first taste.
Hard cheeses are the obvious next step, but generally, they involve expensive equipment, namely a cheese press. Since cheesemaking is a niche hobby, there are only a few manufacturers, and prices are steep. There are a number of inexpensive cheese presses out there, ranging from as little as $40 to around $120 each.
Good options include:
The simple inexpensive cheese press Im using below is a screw-top model, but made from plastic. They dont make it anymore, but a higher quality all stainless steel version costs about the same and should last a lifetime. Professional cheese presses cost $300 to $500.
How To Make Meltable Cheddar
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Ingredients & Equipment For Traditional Cheddar
The ingredients for making cheddar are pretty straightforward. Youll need just one cheese culture, along with a bit of rennet to form the curds, plus fresh milk of course.
Im using raw milk from a dairy just around the corner, but pasteurized milk works as well . If youre using pasteurized milk, add calcium chloride to help the curds form .
Making Cheddar Cheese Method
Pasteurisation: Pasteurise the milk to destroy unwanted bacteria. To avoid damaging the subsequent curd, this is normally 66°C held for 30 minutes. Cool to 21°C.
Starter: Stir in the starter and leave the milk, covered in a warm place for about an hour so that it can acidify. Dont leave it for much longer than this otherwise the cheese may be too dry and crumbly.
Rennet: Increase the temperature to 28°C for goat or ewes milk, or to 30°C for cows milk. Mix the rennet with two teaspoonfuls of previously boiled and cooled water and then stir it in. Give it another stir 5 minutes later to stop the cream collecting at the top. Cover the container and then leave the milk to set in a warm place.
Setting: : The curd is normally ready when it is firm to the touch, gives slightly and does not leave a milk stain on the back of the finger. Note that with vegetarian rennet, setting takes longer than with animal rennet. It also takes longer in a cooler environment.
Cutting the curd: This is where the curd is cut in order to release the liquid whey. Cut down into the curd, from top to bottom one way then cut it at right angles to form square columns. The curd is then loosened from around the walls of the pan. Unless a curd knife is available to make horizontal cuts, a palette knife can used to make diagonal cuts to break up the curd into pieces that are approximately pea-sized. Stir gently with the hand for a couple of minutes.
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Can You Reheat Cheddar Cheese Sauce
Reheating cheese sauce can seem like a daunting taskall that solidified dairy, seemingly immovable. But wait, it can be done. The best way to do it, is not in the microwave, but on the stovetop. Slowly reheating over low heat, and stirring frequently, is the best way to ensure a smooth sauce on the second day.
How To Make Cheddar Cheese Traditional Method
30/01/2017 By Gavin Webber
Cheddar cheese, the most widely purchased and eaten cheese in the world, is always made from cows milk.
It is a hard and natural cheese that has a slightly crumbly texture if properly cured and if it is too young, the texture is smooth. It gets a sharper taste as it matures, over a period of time between 9 to 24 months.
Shaped like a drum, 15 inches in diameter, Cheddar cheese is natural rind bound in cloth while its colour generally ranges from white to pale yellow. However, some Cheddars may have a manually added yellow-orange colour .
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Recipe: Homemade Cheddar Cheese Recipe
Flavorful, creamy, and firm, cheddar cheese can be used in a variety of ways: sliced for sandwiches, grated as a garnish for soups or salads, pared into curls to top a casserole, or just eaten in bite-size pieces with fruit or on its own.
This recipe will show you exactly how to make cheese – cheddar cheese that is.
Start Making Your Own Cheddar Cheese Today
Youve probably felt that learning how to make your own cheese is hard but youve just done it!
If you dont already have your cheese starter culture, what are you doing? This recipe works perfectly with the starters that Cultures For Health has.
If youre ready to start your fermentation journey and start making your own cheddar cheese,
Be sure to check out these other cheddar cheese recipes!
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Milling & Salting Curds
At this point you will have the final curd ready for pressing BUT another unique aspect of the Cheddar is that the dryness and acid have both reached close to their desired level and should not be allowed to continue. If relying on brining or dry salting the surface of the cheese, the acid would continue to increase causing a very wet and acid cheese.
If at this point the curd is too wet, the residual lactose may still be enough to trigger a late fermentation and result in leaking cheese and a very acid and chalky final cheese.
If the curd is too dry, it will be difficult to consolidate and will take much longer to age.
The curd mass is broken into small pieces about thumb to walnut size, and salt is then added at the rate of 2% of cheese salt to the weight of the fresh curds.
If the curd weighs 3lbs , 2% would be .96oz of salt.
About 0.5% will wash away as the salt pulls moisture from the curd, leaving about 1.5% in the finished cheese. To best keep the salt from hardening the curd surface, and thus limiting moisture expulsion, add salt in 3 stages over 15-20 minutes to allow each addition to pull whey and form its own brine.
Cut The Curd & Let The Whey Out
- Now cut the curd into ½ to ¾ slices.
- Remember, the larger the sizes, the moister they are, and the lesser the time to age it.
- After cutting, leave the pieces for at least 5 minutes so that the surface gets hard and ready for the next step. Do not stir.
- After 5 minutes, start cooking the curd and stirring it slowly for at least 10 to 15 minutes. Next, cool the curd down to 86 degrees Fahrenheit. Doing this will keep the curd intact for further processes.
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Why Isn’t My Cheese Sauce Smooth
One reason may be that the rouxthe melted butter and flour mix that thickens the white saucemight be overcooked or burnt. The recipe’s recommended heat and cook times should prevent that. It’s also important to add the dairy slowly and stir constantly while doing so. The cheese may be a factor as well. Freshly shredded cheese works better than packaged shredded cheese. When adding it, the heat should be low to avoid breaking the cheese, which will cause a grainy sauce. Try adding half of the cheese and stir that in until it melts, then add the rest. You can also remove the pan from the heat during that step, heating it only if needed to aid melting.
Manufacture Of Cheddar Cheese
The manufacture of Cheddar cheese includes the process of cheddarizing, which makes this cheese unique. Cheddar cheese is named for the village of Cheddar in Somerset in South WestEngland where it was originally manufactured. The manufacturing of this cheese has since spread around the world and thus the name has become generically known.
How To Age Your Cheddar Cheese
Cheddar cheese is one of the most commonly-known aged cheeses around, so if you are interested in making your very own wheel of Cheddar from your home using our DIY Farmhouse Cheddar kits, its important to know how to properly age it.
The first and arguably most important step to aging your Cheddar is ensuring that your cheese is as dry to the touch as possible, so as to avoid any mold growth. This process can take well over a day until it is sufficiently dry enough, so be sure to be patient! Next, wherever you choose to age your Cheddar, be it the crisper section of your fridge, your attic, or your basement, it should remain at a consistent temperature between 10-15°C . So long as the cheese sees no light on a regular basis throughout the aging process, it should age as planned, but if you notice any mold growth on your cheese, all is not lost! Simply cut it off, and reapply any coating as needed.
Finally, you must decide how long you want to age your Cheddar for. This is the main variable as to how sharp your cheddar will taste. The longer you age your Cheddar, the sharper its taste. For a properly sharp, mature Cheddar, age your cheese for at least a year. For a medium-aged cheddar, aim for four to eight months, and for a mild, fresher Cheddar, you only need to age your cheese for one to four months.
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The Process Of Ageing
- Now we are at the final step: aging. Place your prepared cheese for aging at a 52 to 56 Fahrenheit temperature and set moisture at 80 to 85%.
- Do not forget to turn around the cheese every week from one side to another to keep the moisture intact.
- Molds would not bother the waxed cheese if we sealed it perfectly. On the other hand, the bandaged cheese can develop few molds, considered a natural process.
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Timetable For Making Cheddar Cheese
I know, that was a lot. Im going to briefly recap the process in bullet form, which will likely be easier to follow as youre actually making the cheese. Since timing is important, Ive set the bullet points to times starting at noon. This is a time-intensive process, so you might want to start a bit earlier in the day
That said, most of the time is waiting, so its easy enough for me to incorporate this into a rainy day afternoon of indoor play with my two preschoolers .
On day one, the activity takes about 6 1/2 to 7 hours, on and off. Then pressing and drying takes about a week. Finally, the cheese is aged for months.
At this point, a full week later, the cheese is ready for dressing and aging for at least 3 months .
Making Sharp Cheddar Cheese At Home
- Making Sharp Cheddar Cheese At Home
Cheddar is one of the most famous types of cheese on the planet. Originated from an English town called Cheddar, this cheese has a distinct nutty flavor and a semi-hard firm texture that makes you fall in love with it. It is actually white in color, although artificial coloring is used a lot to make it look yellowish. This cheese tastes sharper the more you let it age. There are people who are particular about eating only super sharp cheddar, for the extremely sharp taste it has.
Following are the steps for making cheddar cheese at home. The recipe given here is somewhat different from that for super sharp cheddar cheese. For one, it uses a stirring process instead of cutting up strips and draining them. Lets see how to go about it.
Dry the cheese at room temperature, for 5 days, and then wax and age it in the fridge for 3 to 24 months longer if you are trying for super sharp cheddar. Most super sharp cheddar cheeses are aged for 6 to 8 years, but if you are not that patient you would have to settle for a less sharp taste.
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How To Make Cheddar Cheese
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Few cheddar cheeses purchased at the grocery store can compare to the taste of homemade cheddar cheese. The cheese-making process if very time-consuming, but otherwise, making your own cheddar is not especially difficult. Here’s what you need to do.