Who does not love cheddar cheese? And it is pretty easy to get your hands on it– go to the supermarket, and their numerous varieties available. However, some of you will be concerned if they contain any preservatives and try to avoid them many times. And many of you do take charge in your hands to make your cheddar cheese. So if you are one of these people who love homemade cheddar cheese or you have been trying to make it and failed, then this blog is just for you. So without any further ado, let’s begin.
Heating and Acidifying the Milk
- Let us start by heating the milk to 86 degrees Fahrenheit. To keep the water bath at the proper temperature, pour boiling water from the kettle. To avoid any accidental spillage of milk, we suggest you heat the milk directly in the sink.
- However, if you prefer to do this on a gas stove, keep stirring the milk slowly while heating. Next, add culture as the milk temperature reaches 86 degrees Fahrenheit. To prevent caking of powder, sprinkle the culture powder over the milk and wait for about 2 minutes. Then stir.
- As the culture processes, it will start converting lactose from milk to lattice acid.
- Keep the milk’s temperature at 86 degrees Fahrenheit for at least 90 minutes during this process.
Coagulate with Rennet
- Add ¾ tsp of liquid rennet as soon as you see the culture and milk have ripened.
- Keep the mixture for 45 minutes, during which the culture and rennet will do their job. In about 15-20 minutes, the milk will start changing its state and will thicken.
- As you notice the milk changing its texture, keep it aside to sit for about 45 minutes before cutting it.
Cut the Curd & Let the Whey Out
- Now cut the curd into ½ to ¾ slices.
- Remember, the larger the sizes, the moister they are, and the lesser the time to age it.
- After cutting, leave the pieces for at least 5 minutes so that the surface gets hard and ready for the next step. Do not stir.
- After 5 minutes, start cooking the curd and stirring it slowly for at least 10 to 15 minutes. Next, cool the curd down to 86 degrees Fahrenheit. Doing this will keep the curd intact for further processes.
- Make sure to stir the curd for about 30 to 60 minutes until it is firm. Nevertheless, the cooking time will vary according to the curd’s softness and texture.
- Curd should be monitored throughout the process as it is necessary to check if the moisture is removed entirely or not.
- Curd with moisture carries lactose with them which will later lead to the development of lactose in the cheese. So here is a simple solution to check if the curd is dried up or not. This test is known as the ‘grip test’– pick a small quantity of cheese in your hand and press it firmly, gently apply pressure through your thumb. If it is separated easily, then the curd is perfectly dried up, and if it sticks to your hand, you have to stir it more to dry it.
- After the drying process is complete, try to remove the whey from the curd.
Draining & Cheddaring
- The draining process requires two utensils, mainly the pans, like a sieve and a standard pan. First, place a cloth (draining cloth) inside the pan with holes and place that sieve pan in the standard.
- As the curd is poured, whey will cover all around it. Constant stirring of the mixture is required so that the chunk is dissolved and broken.
- This process should not take more than 15 minutes. After this, the cloth should be tightened again around the curd to drain all the whey.
- Keep the curd warm for 2 to 3 hours at a regular interval of about 15 to 30 minutes. Also, the draining of whey will continue during this process. Besides this, the taste of the whey will also change to acidic. The next step will include cutting the curd in half and covering them with the drain cloth. Do not miss out on stacking them over each other.
- This process will lead to a change in the shape and structure of the curd. The acidic nature of the curd will increase, leading to the loss of more calcium, and the bond will get weaker. As a result, curd, which was more of a cubicle shape initially, will look flat.
Curd Milling And Salting
- Check if the curd is too dry. If so, then it will create a problem in the aging of the cheese. To tackle this problem, add salt to the broken pieces of the curd of thumbs size. Make sure to add the salt in a limited quantity.
- As the whey washes away, the salt will also be removed, and only 1.5% of the finished cheddar cheese will be left. Add the salt in the 15 to 20 minutes gap to not lead to extra hardening of the surface.
Pressing & Forming
The next step is to mold the curd. This process requires slowly and gently increasing the weight pressure, as mentioned below
- Twenty pounds weight for 1 hour
- Again twenty pounds weight for the next 1 hour
- Pressure/weight of 40 pounds for almost 4 hours
- Then for the next 24 hours, press at 50-75 pounds
You have two options with the well-pressed cheddar: waxed or clothbound.
Waxing – In this process, the cheese is waxed after we let it dry for few days.
Wrapping in Cloth- For this technique, use lard as a binder to hold the cloth in place. The fabric is soaked in lard and put to the surface, then squeezed for 24 hours.
Read more: How to Make Canadian Bacon
The Process of Ageing
- Now we are at the final step: aging. Place your prepared cheese for aging at a 52 to 56 Fahrenheit temperature and set moisture at 80 to 85%.
- Do not forget to turn around the cheese every week from one side to another to keep the moisture intact.
- Molds would not bother the waxed cheese if we sealed it perfectly. On the other hand, the bandaged cheese can develop few molds, considered a natural process.
How To Make Cheddar Cheese – Wrapping Up
We hope that this homemade cheddar cheese recipe was of your use, and now you can enjoy your cheese without any suspicion of having preservatives in it. Happy cheesing!