Hi I'm Tricia an organic gardener. I grow organically for healthy and safe food supply, for a clean and sustainable environment, for an enjoyable and rewarding experience. Homemade wholesome cheese is fun to make. Today we're going to be making some farmhouse cheddar which is a delicious hard cheese.
To make this cheese your gonna need two gallons of whole milk, one packet of direct set mesophilic culture, a half a teaspoon of liquid rennet, one tablespoon of cheese salt, a quarter of a cup of un-chlorinated water and cheese wax. As far as equipment you need a large stockpot, slotted spoon, a long knife, cheesecloth, cheese press, dairy thermometer, cheese mat, cheeseboard, strainer and wax brush don't use any aluminum equipment stainless steel works the best. A note on the milk it must be really fresh and as a personal preference I use raw milk but you can use pasteurized milk as long as it's not ultra pasteurized. To get started make sure that everything that touches the cheese is cleaned and sterilized.
The first step in the process is to heat the milk to ninety degrees fahrenheit to do this plug your sink and fill it with hot water. Put the pot in the hot water pour the milk into your pot clip the thermometer and cover the pot I've heated some water in a kettle just in case I need to adjust the temperature of the water in the sink if it needs to be warmer I'll add a little hot water if it needs to be cooler I'll add a little cold water. As the milk comes up to temperature stir occasionally to make sure the pot heats evenly once the milk reaches ninety degrees fahrenheit it's time to add the culture and then we're gonna stir thoroughly after about sixty seconds. After stirring thoroughly cover the pot and let the milk sit and allow the culture to ripen for about forty five minutes. Maintain the temperature at ninety degrees. While the cultures ripening I'm gonna add a half teaspoon of liquid rennet to a quarter of a cup of cool un-chlorinated water. Once the forty-five minutes are up add the diluted rennet and stir gently top to bottom for one minute. Since we're using farm fresh milk we're gonna top stir for an additional minute cover the pot and let it sit for another forty five minutes keep the pot of milk at a nice ninety degrees fahrenheit during this time.
Check the curd when the time is up you wanna nice firm curd with a clean break we're gonna cut the curd in half inch pieces. Using a long knife cut vertical lines all the way to the bottom of the pot then do the same thing with horizontal lines then the third cut is going to be at an angle to form little cubes. After cutting let the curd sit undisturbed for about five minutes. Slowly heat the curd to about a hundred degrees fahrenheit by adding water from the kettle into the water in the sink. It's important to do this slowly you don't want to change the temperature more than two degrees fahrenheit every five minutes this process should take about thirty minutes the curds will shrink and the whey will increase stir continuously. Bingo a hundred degrees time to put the lid back on and let it sit for five minutes. Okay five minutes is up I've placed my colander lined with cheesecloth over a large bowl to catch the whey so that I can use it later. Tie up the cheese cloth and hang it to dry for one hour hang them in a warm spot and avoid cold drafts. Take down the bag and then break up the curds with your hands and we're going add one tablespoon of cheese salt at that time. Break up the curd to the size of a walnut. Pack the curds into a two-pound mold lined with cheesecloth.
Now we're gonna press the curd to a ten pounds of pressure for about ten minutes. Now where going to take the cheese out of the press and we're gonna turn it over and they're were gonna put it back in but this time for twenty pounds of pressure for ten minutes. After this were gonna do the same thing except this time it's gonna be fifty pounds of pressure for twelve hours.
Well my cheese has finished pressing I'm gonna take it out and air dry it on a cheese mat until a nice rind has formed. Air dry at room temperature flipping it about two or three times a day you'll know it's air-dried when you have a uniform yellow coloring on your rind. The cheese has finished air drying and now it's time to wax it and age it. Heat the wax in a double boiler I'm using an old pot and tin can which I use just for wax. Before I start waxing I'm gonna wipe the cheese with a vinegar moistened cloth to make sure it doesn't mold under the wax. With a natural bristle brush apply a thin layer of wax to the cheese add another layer once the first layer has dried it helps to wax a label with the date and variety into the cheese. Now the cheese needs to age for at least a month in a cool humid location. A mini fridge with the secondary thermostat and a hygrometer is a great place to age the cheese. Shoot for a temperature between forty six and sixty degrees fahrenheit and a humidity of seventy five to ninety percent. For more information and great recipes get this book "Home Cheesemaking" by Ricki Carroll. So make some cheese and grow organic for life!