Thursday, November 29, 2012

Farmhouse Cheddar

After the cheese press was completed I set out to try my first hard cheese. Jeri at New England Cheesemaking suggested Farmhouse Cheddar as the easiest, fastest first cheese to make.

I am going to post the recipe as it appears in Home Cheesemaking and then will tell you what I actually did differently.

2 gallons whole milk
1 packet direct set mesophilic starter or 4 oz prepared mesophilic starter
1/2 tsp liquid rennet or 1/2 rennet tablet- diluted in 1/4 c cool unchlorinated water
1 Tbs cheese salt
cheese wax
clean break of curds

Heat milk to 90 degrees F (*goat's milk to 85)
Add starter and stir thoroughly, cover and let ripen 45 minutes.

Add the diluted rennet and stir gently with an up and down motion for 1 minute, if using farm fresh milk top stir 1 minute no more than 1/2 inch deep to blend butterfat., cover and let set at 90 degrees* for 45 minutes or until curds give clean break.  Cut into 1/2 in cubes. See above photo.

Place the pot in a sink full of hot water and  heat curds to 100 degrees, increasing temp slowly- I found this the hardest part, it says to increase about 2 degrees every 5 minutes but mine just stayed hotter so I really only added hot water once. Just keep checking your temp at various levels. Gently stir from time to time, I used this to keep it from building too much heat, it also keeps your curds from matting.
Your curds will shrink some and your whey amount will increase.
cover and let set 5 minutes

Pour curds through a cheesecloth lined colander, tie corners in a knot and hang bag in draft free spot for 1 hour. Curds need to stay warm, I left them hanging in the sink with the warm pot below .
Place curds in bowl and break apart, Add salt.
Firmly pack into 2 pound mold lined with cheesecloth, cover top, apply 10 pounds pressure 10 minutes, remove, flip cheese and re-wrap, press at 20 pounds for 10 minutes.
Repeat and press at 50 pounds for 12 hours.

filled gallon jugs of water weight approx 8 pounds

first press

second press

after last press

Remove cheese and peel away cheesecloth, air dry at room temp on a wooden board until rind has developed, 2-4 days, flipping often.
Wax cheese
Age for at least 1 month
yield- 2 pounds

Here is a few things I did different and my results
first I thought I had too big of a mold so I doubled the recipe, my pot only fit 3 1/2 gallons though- ended up being 2 gallons of raw milk and 1  1/2 gallons store bought whole.
Doubled everything else and it worked out fine.
I think I should have waited another day or two for the air dry, I rushed it a little and fought a bit of mold, nothing to worry about but a little more drying would have helped I think.
If you see some white mold forming, wipe the area with vinegar.
Devote your pot and brush to permanent waxing- they will be of no use for anything else again.
waxing is messy! I have a double boiler that I now will use and also use for storage to keep the wax in. As we unwrap the cheese I will also just toss in the wax because you can remelt and reuse it.

After trying the cheese-
there was minimal white mold, easily scraped off no harm to the cheese and I think again it was because it needed more air dry time before waxing.
Sharp taste, dry and a little crumbly just like the recipe said it would be. I think it needs a cracker, my husband ate it as is and the dog liked it must have worked!
Now onto more variety!!

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