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 made as a child with 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. (I’ve seen myself to be true in the case of ricotta cheese. The curds are 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!
You might also wanna check out other related topics like How to Make Mesophilic Starter Culture for Cheesemaking, How to Naturally Wax Cheese with Beeswax, and Essential Guide To Raw Milk (Plus 115 Recipes).
Suggested Read: Are There GMO’s in Cheese?
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!
- 2 gallons raw milk
- ½ teaspoon calcium chloride, dissolved in ¼ cup water (optional if using raw milk)
- 4 oz. mesophilic culture cubes, or buy mesophilic culture here
- ½ teaspoon liquid rennet, dissolved in ¼ cup water (I use non-GMO rennet.)
- 2 Tablespoons sea salt
- 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.
Did you make a recipe?
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Dory Mallen says
great recipes and blog,thank you
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.
Sophia Ahmad says
I love Cheese
Preppy Pink Crocodile says
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!
Heather Hayes Jackson says
This sounds much easier than the cheddar recipes I’ve tried in the past! I’ll be making this recipe very soon for sure!
Wendy Hoff says
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 says
Thank you. I keep the house at 80 in the summer and was worried that would be too warm.
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: https://curd-nerd.com/calcium-chloride/
Heather Hayes Jackson says
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 😀
my husband tried your recipe… wonderful texture and great flavor!
Yea! I’m so glad you guys like it! 😀
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!
Sandra Sheldon Hawn says
I WOULD LOVE TO TRY THIS RECIPE EXCEPT I DONT HAVE A SOURCE FOR RAW MILK…CAN I USE STORE MILK?
Reformation Acres says
Though I've never tried it to be sure, you should be fine with store milk Sandra. It's my understanding that ultra high temp (UHT) pasteurized milk doesn't work with homemade cheese so I'd avoid using organic milk since it's usually UHT pasteurized.
Hilda Sterner says
This looks amazing! I usually make yogurt cheese which is way simpler! Although I’m a seasoned cook, I have to admit, this is slightly intimidating. I am bookmarking it for a day when I have a lot of time and feeling extra confident. Thanks for sharing!
Yeah, it’s definitely not a beginner’s cheese, but it is a good beginners *hard* cheese because the gratification is closer to instant then with cheeses that need to age longer.
When you air dry it, is this in the refrigerator? Or on your counter?
I do it on the counter, but I don’t see why (other than absorbing other food odors) you couldn’t use the fridge. It might take a little extra time in there because of humidity.
After the initial heating to 90 degrees and then adding culture, do I leave the heat on while it is covered for 45 minutes?
No, you don’t. With the lid on it will hold temp even with the heat off. (Might lose a degree or two but that’s ok.)
Hi! Our family cow is finally milking and I’m greatly looking forward to trying this recipe!! Do you have any recommendations for a cheese press that costs less than the Amazon pick you have above? We can’t swing anywhere near $300, so I didn’t know if you knew of a good frugal option? Thanks so much!!
I would do some searching for a homemade one. Should be lots. Personally, I struggled with a cheese press without a gauge. I was always screwing up my poundage using a spring so I bought one this year from New England Cheesemaking that has a metal gauge. Sorry I couldn’t be more helpful!
Can I use raw goats milk?
I believe you can use any milk for cheese recipes except UHT pasteurized milk. (Though with all other store milk you’d want to add calcium chloride to get a better curd set.)