Farmhouse Cheddar


Farmhouse cheddar with some chipotle peppers added
Farmhouse cheddar with some chipotle peppers added

This is the first hard cheese that I made when I was learning how to make cheese.  It is the best starting cheese for anyone learning the cheese making art.  Farmhouse cheddar is a drier flakier version of a normal cheddar.  You don’t need to do any actual cheddaring to make this one.  Yes cheddar is actually a process and not just the name of the cheese.  This and Caerphilly are the fastest aging hard cheeses that I have made to date.  I still prefer the Caerphilly because it becomes a sharp cheese faster than farmhouse.  But both are great to eat.

Ingredients:

  • 2 gallon Whole milk (which is about 3.25% fat by the way)
  • 1/8 teaspoon Mesophilic direct set culture
  • 1/8 teaspoon Calcium Chloride diluted in 1/4 cup unchlorinated water
  • 1 teaspoon liquid rennet diluted in 1/4 cup unchlorinated water
  • 1 Tablespoon cheese salt

Cheese making steps:

  1. As always pour your milk into your 2 gallon double boiler and bring up to 90°F
  2. Now add you calcium chloride and starter culture and stir in. Let sit while maintaining temperature for 45 minutes.
  3. Add your diluted Rennet and stir for one minute. Cover and let sit while maintaining your temp for another 45 minutes.
  4. Check for a clean break at the end of the time. If it is not set check every 15 minutes until it is. The first time I made this I didn’t wait nearly long enough for the curds to set and ended up with a gooey mess.
  5. Cut the curds into ½” cubes and stir gently for one minute. Now let the curds rest and settle for five minutes.
  6. Now slowly raise the temp up to 100°F over the course of 30 minutes.  No more than 2°F every 5 minutes.
  7. Let your curds rest for 5 minutes then move to the draining.

Draining/Pressing time:

  1. Strain off the whey using a cheesecloth and colander. Tie up the corners of the cloth and let the cheese curds hang and drain for one hour. Then pour the curds back into the pot, and mill into 1/2″ pieces. Blend in the salt as you mill the curds. The curds for this cheese are fragile so make sure you mill them gently
  2. Pack your curds into a 2 lb lined mold. If you have any extra curds put into a handkerchief and hang to drain. It will give you a little bit of fresh cheese to eat during the week.
  3. Cover the curds with one corner of the cheese cloth, and apply the follower, and press at 10 lbs. for 10 minutes.
  4. Remove cheese from press, and gently unwrap. Turn the cheese over, rewrap, and press at 20 lbs. for 10 minutes. Repeat by turning over again and press at 50 lbs. for twelve hours.

Cheese Aging: Remove from your press and air dry for 2-4 days.  Make sure you flip it as it drys at least 2x per day.  Four times would be best if you can.  This prevents the moisture in the cheese from settling in the bottom of the cheese. After a yellowish rind has formed wax and age at 55°F for at least a month.  The longer it ages the sharper the flavor will be.  Flip every day after you wax for the first 2 weeks than once a week until you can’t wait any longer to eat it.

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