Farmhouse Cheddar Cheese Making Recipe

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Farmhouse Cheddar is a hard cheese made with a few shortcuts to produce a cheese that is a little rustic in appearance but is similar in flavor to cheddar. It’s a good choice for the first time hard cheese maker since it won’t take as much time as a traditional cheddar, yet allows you to eat it after it is made and will also improve with age.

Ingredients

Procedure

Combine the milk, cream and diluted calcium chloride in a cheese pot or double boiler. Gently heat the mixture to 90°F. Stir with easy push-pull action to prevent the milk from scorching.

Turn off the heat and sprinkle DVI Mesophilic starter onto milk's surface. Allow the culture to rehydrate for 3 minutes before stirring it into the milk. Cover the pot and allow the milk to rest at 90°F for 45 minutes.

Note the time and add the prepared rennet by mixing it into the milk with an up and down motion for about 1 minute. Monitor the gel development using the timing method (see: How To Test Gel Development). It should be between 30 and 40 minutes. After the 'set' time has elapsed, check the curd for a clean break. Use a curd knife to cut the gel into 1/2 inch cubes. Allow the curds to heal for 5 minutes.

Indirectly heat (using the water bath method) the curds to 100°F by increasing the temperature no faster than 2°F every five minutes. It should take 30 minutes to reach 100°F. This is best done in a double boiler on the stove top or in a sink full of 100° to 110°F water. Stir frequently but gently to prevent matting.

Hold the curds and whey at 100°F for 1 hour, stirring every 5 minutes to keep the curds from matting together. Adjust the temperature of your double boiler or sink water as needed to maintain this temperature.

Place a large colander in a sink. Note that no cheesecloth is used here. Carefully pour the curds and whey into the colander and allow them to drain. Gently sift through the curds with clean hands to facilitate draining. This will unblock the draining holes and keep the curds from matting. Once the whey has drained, sprinkle 1 tablespoon of cheese salt over the curds and gently mix it in using your hands. Wait 1 minute and repeat with another tablespoon of cheese salt. Wait 1 minute and repeat with the remaining tablespoon of cheese salt.

Place the curds into a coarse cheesecloth-lined press. Press with 4 to 5 pounds of weight for 15 minutes. (See: How To Press Cheese.)

Remove the cheese from the press and take it out of the cheesecloth. Place the cheesecloth back in the mold and return the cheese to the mold upside down. This time press the cheese with 8 to 10 pounds of pressure (one gallon of water) for 12 hours.

Remove the cheese from the press as before and unwrap the cloth.

Place the cheese on a bamboo mat to air dry for 1 to 3 days. The cheese must be turned over twice each day. The cheese is ready to eat when yellowish rind (similar to the color of butter) starts to develop and the cheese is dry to the touch. Left un-waxed, the cheese should be refrigerated and consumed within 2 weeks.

You can age Farmhouse Cheddar for a period of up to 3 months by sealing it in cheese wax or by vacuum packing. (See: How To Wax Cheese.) The cheese will benefit from storage in a constant temperature between 45°F and 60°F. The cheese will mature more quickly at the warmer end of the range.

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