A selection of craft information for artisans of the HFS.

    Homemade Cheddar Cheese


    Posts : 81
    Join date : 2011-05-30

    Homemade Cheddar Cheese Empty Homemade Cheddar Cheese

    Post  Admin on Wed Jun 01, 2011 5:18 pm

    I will describe the process for two types of Cheddar here. The standard Cheddar is a hard cheese that needs at least 6 months to ripen and is best just eaten by itself. For sandwiches, slicing and melting, a softer version is preferred and this is a "washed cheddar". The process is the same except for the washing step just before pressing.

    The following is for a 4 gallon batch. Cut everything in half for two gallons.


    3.5 gallons water
    1810 grams (one box) powdered skim milk
    4 pints whipping cream

    1. Heat water to 170F, mix in the powder and after all the lumps are out, add the cream.
    I usually do this the night before and just let it sit on the stove and cool over night. A fan helps in hot weather.

    2. Adjust milk to 86F, then add:

    2 tsp calcium chloride
    1/4 tsp color (optional)
    1/2 tsp EZAL M101 lactic culture or 1/2 cup prepared culture

    3. Ripen for 45 minutes at 86F or until pH drops a measureable amount (.02 units)

    4. Adjust temp for 86F then add 2 tsp liquid rennet or equivalent tablets. Stir thoroughly for no more than two minutes. Cover kettle and allow curd to set for 30 to 60 minutes until firm enough to cut.

    5. Cut curd with whisk and let rest for 10 minutes.

    6. Add heat very slowly to heat curd to 101F over about 30 minutes. Stir very gently and break up big lumps.

    7. Maintain 101F for 75 minutes or pH 6.10, stirring regularly. This point is called wheyoff and is an important benchmark in the process.

    8. Let curd rest without stirring for about 5 minutes, the carefully pour off the whey. When most of the whey is off, set the kettle on its side to drain into the sink till runoff stops. Then stand the kettle in the sink with warm water (120F) for about 15 minutes to form a firm curd matt.

    9. Lay the matt on a clean surface and cut it into slabs about 1-1/2 inch thick. Lay these on the bottom of the kettle and put the kettle back into the sink of warm water. About every 15 minutes, re-arrange them by flipping and stacking them so the get presses by their own weight to about half the original thickness. Continue this for 90 minutes or pH 5.3.

    10. The next step is known as milling and represents another benchmark in the cheese process. The slabs are broken up into small pieces (walnut sized) and salted which drastically slows the acid production and essentially ends the make.

    11. If the softer cheddar is desired, cover the milled curds for cold tap water for 15 minutes, then drain again.

    12. In either case, we now weigh the cheese and add 2.5% by weight of salt. It usually works out to about 60 to 70 grams (3-4 tablespoons) for a 4 gallon batch. Mix the salt into the curds thoroughly for several minutes.

    13. Pack curds into the cheese press and press lightly for an hour. Flip the cheese and continue pressing and flipping, gradually increasing the pressure with each flip.

    14. After about 5 hours, remove the cheese from the press and wrap in a cheese cloth bandage that is just a bit longer than the circumference of the cheese and wide enough to cover the ends. Return the cheese to the press and press at 50 lbs overnight.

    15. Flip the cheese and press for another hour and do this until the surface of the cheese is smooth and devoid of pits and cracks.

    16. Remove cheese cloth and air dry till the surface is dry to the touch then wax or rub with olive oil and age at 50F for at least 60 days for the the washed cheddar and 6 months for the hard.

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