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!
And really, it was time. By then I had already been making mozzarella, cream cheese, ricotta cheese, cottage cheese, and more. I had to bite the bullet, get over my fears, and try making a hard cheese.
I chose to make Farmhouse Cheddar Cheese because you get results in less than a week instead of months. That alleviated a huge source of anxiety for me! 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 Farmhouse Cheddar Cheese. It makes 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 Brick cheese. (Also called Farmer’s Cheese.) It definitely didn’t have as sharp a flavor as even the mild cheddar cheese.
Overall, I thought it was just as easy to make as Traditional Homemade Mozzarella Cheese. It just takes longer. Most of the work is done in just a minute here and there.
I want to point out that I make this cheese with raw milk from our Jersey cow, Holly. Though I haven’t tried making it with any sort of pasteurized milk, I don’t see why it wouldn’t work. But UHT (Ultra-High-Temperature) pasteurized milk does not work. (Which I’ve seen myself to be true in the case of ricotta cheese. The curds smaller than a seed of grass and don’t cling together at all.)
If you’re nervous about diving into hard cheeses, check out Craftsy’s Artisan cheese course where they’ll walk you through making cheddar cheese (along with mozzarella and chèvre!) It’s sure to be a confidence builder!
Farmhouse Cheddar Cheese Recipe
Farmhouse Cheddar Cheese Recipe
Farmhouse Cheddar Cheese ages more quickly than other cheeses which means you'll be making grilled cheese sandwiches with your own homemade cheese sooner!
- Combine the milk and calcium chloride in a large stock pot.
- Heat to 90 degrees stirring.
- Add mesophilic culture cubes, cover & ripen for 45 minutes.
- Add the rennet, stirring up & down gently for 1 minute. Cover & allow to sit at 90 degrees for 30 minutes, until a clean break forms.
- Cut the curds to ½ ”, rest them to heal for 5 minutes.
- Indirectly heat the curds to 100 degrees at the rate of 2 degrees/ 5 minutes (about 30 minutes) by placing the pot in a sink of 110 degree water. Stir every 5 minutes. (Maybe 45 minutes.)
- Hold the temperature at 100 degrees for 5 minutes.
- Pour the curds and whey into a cheesecloth lined colander. Allow the whey to drain for 1 hour.
- Break the curds apart with your fingers. Mix in the salt, 1 tablespoon at a time waiting for 1 minute between each addition.
- Place the curds in a cheesecloth lined press and press for 15 minutes at 4-5 pounds pressure.
- Remove cheese from press, remove cheesecloth. Put cheesecloth back in mold and return cheese to mold upside down. Press at 10-12 pounds pressure for 12 hours.
- Remove the cheese from the cheese press and unwrap
- Air dry for 1-3 days turning twice a day
- The cheese is ready when a butter colored rind develops & cheese is dry to touch.
- Unwaxed- refrigerate & eat within 2 weeks.
- Age- up to 3 months by wax sealing and storing 45-60 degrees.
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