Colby Cheese Making Recipe

Cheese Making photo for Colby Cheese Making Recipe

Colby was invented in Colby, Wisconsin in the late 19th or early 20th century. Its flavor is similar to cheddar but is milder and softer. This is due to a difference in the cheese making process in which the curds are washed with cool water which increases the moisture content. May be eaten right away or aged 2-3 months.



Combine the milk, optional annatto and diluted calcium chloride in a cheese pot. Slowly heat the mixture to 86°F. Stir to prevent the milk from scorching.

Turn off the heat and sprinkle the Mesophilic starter onto milk surface. Allow the culture to rehydrate for 2 or 3 minutes before stirring it into the milk. Cover the pot and allow it to acidify at 86°F for 1 hour.

Add the prepared rennet and stir it gently into the milk, using an up and down motion. Let the milk set covered at 86°F for 30 - 40 minutes or until the curd shows a clean break. See: How To Test Gel Development.

When the gel demonstrates a clean break cut the curd into [3/8] inch cubes. Stir gently, and then let the curds heal for 5 minutes.

Using the indirect water bath method, slowly stir and heat the curds and whey to 102°F by increasing the temperature no faster than 2°F every five minutes. This should take about 30 minutes. Hold the temperature at 102°F for 30 more minutes, gently stirring every 5 minutes or so during this period so that the curds do not mat together.

Cover the pot and allow the curds to settle for five minutes.

Pour off the whey until it is level with the curd mass. Stir in cold tap water until the temperature in the cheese pot is lowered to 80°F. Hold the temperature at 80°F for 15 minutes while gently stirring to keep the curd from matting. The temperature of the cheese pot during this step will determine the moisture content of the finished cheese. A slightly higher temperature will produce a drier cheese. Lowering the temperature a few degrees will make a moister cheese.

Place a large colander in the sink. Pour the curds and whey into the colander and allow the curds 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 together. Once the whey has drained, sprinkle 1 tablespoon of flaked salt over the curds and gently mix it in using your hands. Wait 1 minute and repeat with another 1 tablespoon of flaked salt. Wait 1 minute and repeat with the last tablespoon of flaked salt.

Prepare coarse cheesecloth for use in your cheese press. Press with 20 pounds of weight for 20 minutes. Turn the cheese over and press again with 30 pounds for 20 minutes. Turn the cheese a third time and press with 50 pounds for 12 hours. (See: How To Press Cheese).

Remove the cheese from the press and remove the cheesecloth. Place the cheese on a bamboo mat to air dry for 1-3 days turning over twice each day. When it starts to form a yellowish rind and is dry to the touch, it is ready to wax for aging.

Wax the cheese. Store for aging at 40° to 60°F (55°F is ideal) for up to 6 months. Turn the cheese over daily for the first month and several times a week thereafter. (See: How To Wax Cheese).

Aging Colby Cheese

Age the waxed cheese for up to six months at 50-55°F.

You may choose to add annatto coloring to give your cheese the traditional orange appearance. (See: How To Use Annatto).

homemade cheese tray

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