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Between some of the issues I’ve been having with the mozzarella and the lengthy aging process before knowing whether your cheese- or even the recipe you’re trying is successful- I was nervous and hesitant to delve into hard cheese making. Until I tried Farmhouse Cheddar Cheese. My husband pushed me off the cliff and forced me to find a recipe and I’m so glad he did!
I chose to make farmhouse cheddar since it produces results in less than a week instead of months, alleviating that source of anxiety. Since there wasn’t time to get Home Cheese Making from the library and I couldn’t see the whole recipe through Amazon preview, I compared notes with that snapshot of the recipe and the recipe posted on Leeners and combined the two into what you see below.

While I’m not very good at describing the nuances of the cheese, we all enjoyed the flavor of this cheese and thought it made an excellent grilled cheese sandwich or better yet toasted ham & cheese.  It reminded me of the toasted cheese I was made as a child with a mild cheese known as Brick or Farmer’s cheese. It definitely didn’t have as sharp a flavor as even the mild cheddar I’m familiar with. Overall, I thought it was much easier to make than traditional mozzarella, even though the process takes longer. Most of the work was done in just a minute here and there and there were no worries about stretching when I’m wanting to wind down for the night (even if I start first thing in the morning, mine is ready and stretches best around 8-9 at night).

{Farmhouse Cheddar}

2 gallons raw milk
1/2 t. calcium chloride, dissolved in 1/2 c. water (buy it here)
4 oz. mesophilic culture cubes– (make your own or buy it here)
1/2 t. liquid rennet, dissolved in 1/4 c. water (buy it here)
2 T. canning salt

Add milk to a large pot.
Thoroughly stir in the dissolved calcium chloride. Heat the milk to 90 degrees, stirring.
Add the mesophilic culture and stir until melted. Cover the pot and allow to sit and ripen for 45 minutes.
Add the dissolved rennet, stirring for one minute in a gentle up & down motion. Cover the pot and allow to sit forming curds for 30 minutes.
Test for a clean break by using a knife to just lift a bit of the curd. It should lift clean and smooth and the void should fill with a bit of whey.
Cut the curds to 1/2″ cubes. Allow to sit and heal for 5 minutes.
Sink water temperature
Indirectly heat the curds to 100 degrees, aiming for a rate of 2 degrees every 5 minutes. This is achieved by placing the pot in a sink of hot water (100-110 degrees) and stirring frequently. Curds will shrink up a  bit and the yellow whey will increase. This process is the most labor intensive and usually takes me about 45 minutes. I have also found it necessary to drain the water in the sink and refill it with hot water as the whey nears the 100 degree mark.
*The thermometer you see is my favorite! It’s digital, inexpensive, reads quickly, is self-calbrating, and has a 5 year warranty!! You can get your own here
Oops- Although I was checking it every 5 minutes, the temperature got a bit too high this time.
Hold the temperature at 100 degrees for 5 minutes. (One source said 1 hour, but I’ve been pleased with the results at the quicker time.)
Scoop the curds into a cheesecloth lined colander. (I buy use this one. It has a nice close weave.)
Tie up the cheesecloth and hang for 1 hour.
Take down the cheesecloth and break the curds apart with your fingers.
Mix in 2 T. of salt, 1 T. at a time, waiting 1 minute between each addition.
Place in cheesecloth lined press and press for 15 minutes at 4-5 pounds of pressure.
Take  the curds from the press, removing the cheesecloth. Put the cheesecloth back into the mold and return the curds to the mold upside down. Press at 10-12 pounds (we’re still experimenting with this number) for 12 hours.
Remove cheese from press and unwrap. Air dry for 1-2 days, turning twice a day. We cut ours in two to  speed up drying.

Cheese is ready when a butter colored rind develops and is dry to the touch.

Unwaxed, this cheese will keep for 2 weeks in the refrigerator or grate and freeze. To age the cheddar, seal in wax for up to three months and store at a temperature of 45-60 degrees.


You've never had a grilled cheese sandwich until you've had it with farmhouse cheddar- it's AMAZING! | www.reformationacres.com



  • great recipes and blog,thank you

  • Deanna

    I was told that you can vacuum seal the cheese after it’s been dried, instead of sealing with the wax. Then put it in the refrigerator or cold storage til ripe. It worked for me.

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  • OMG that looks so do-able! I started making my own mozzarella last summer and will again this summer when the tomatoes start to come in. But I assumed hard cheese was more of a years in the making professional process. How fun!

    KK @ Preppy Pink Crocodile

    • Yea! These comments make my day! So glad you’re feeling encouraged to try something new! Hope your hard cheese turns out fantastic!

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  • Heather Hayes Jackson

    This sounds much easier than the cheddar recipes I’ve tried in the past! I’ll be making this recipe very soon for sure!

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  • Wendy Hoff

    What temperature should the initial drying be done at?

    • I just do it at room temperature. 90 degree days are rare here- the hottest days are in the mid-80’s if that helps. Also, I suppose I should note that when I was making this cheese with our last cow (I’ve been taking a baby-break) she lactated off-season so a lot of cheese making was done over the winter months.

      • Wendy Hoff

        Thank you. I keep the house at 80 in the summer and was worried that would be too warm.

  • amanda

    I thought that calcium chloride was only needed for store-bought milk?

    • Typically, I think you’re right. When I posted this recipe our cow was lactating off-season and our pasture wasn’t the best at the time so it was necessary to use it. I found this post that gives the details on when it would be beneficial to use calcium chloride in cheese making: http://curd-nerd.com/calcium-chloride/

  • Heather Hayes Jackson

    Oh my yum! All of my previous cheddar attempts have been huge, labor-intensive flops! I made this on Saturday and cut into it today (Wednesday) because I couldn’t wait another second. Ok, fine, I was out of cheese. Anyway, it is simply delightful! I can’t stop eating it and I’ve just started a second batch. Wow!

    • Oh yea, Heather!!! I’m beyond thrilled to hear you like the cheese recipe & am so glad it turned out for you. There are few kitchen tasks more distressing to me that a batch of cheese that doesn’t turn out. Thanks so much for taking a moment, making my day, and letting me know! 🙂

      • Haha! Legend Hills is the one and only orchard we visited since moving! I was looking for peaches and was so disappointed when I found out they were shipped in from SC 🙁 I’m spoiled by the orchard we faithfully visited every week all summer back up north. You knew that if it was on his table, he grew it right there on his land! And the last year we were there was a bad year for fruit so he didn’t have much.) I meant to go back to LH anyway though and forgot till you mentioned it- supposedly they have my favorite eating apple- Mollie Delicious. I’m so ticked I missed them this year!!

        Anyway, it is totally satisfying to see a full freezer & pantry shelves, I’ll admit it. I’m always glad I did it when the work is done. Added 9 more quarts of spaghetti sauce & 5 quarts of tomato soup this morning.

        Thankfully, it rained today so I didn’t get to go do my Saturday harvest and it is the first Lord’s Day tomorrow where I didn’t have it all waiting for me first thing Monday morning and I get to actually look forward to going outside first Monday morning instead of straight to the kitchen 😀
        Blessings, Quinn

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  • doralee

    my husband tried your recipe… wonderful texture and great flavor!

    • Yea! I’m so glad you guys like it! 😀

  • Kitt

    I recommend May Jane Butter’s mozzarella instructions in Milk Cow Kitchen. I’m still trying to find a hard cheese recipe I can master to store away milk, but this mozzarella recipe has proven easy, dependable, and delicious for me.

    • Now that’s a good book! Her parlor is inspirational and I’ve bookmarked several recipes to try!