Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Farmhouse Cheddar

Originally posted on 26 June 2011.

After such an ordinary day at work on Friday, I decided that it would be a great idea to start the weekend off with a bang and make cheese.  I picked up 16 litres of milk on the way home from the train station, kissed Kim, ate dinner, then got stuck into my favourite hobby.  Cheese making!



Now to make things more interesting, and to save time and effort, I have decided to expand production by purchasing a new pot.  Usually, I make a kilogram of cheese from 7.6 litres (1 gallon) of milk, so I bought a 15.1 litre pot so that I could simply double the recipe and make two 1kg rounds in the same time I normally make one, and all in the same pot.


It is a beauty and I picked it up for $15!  The only problem is that whoever made this pot couldn't count.  It only held 14.8 litres of milk and there was no way that I could have fitted in another 300ml.  Anyway, I figured that it would make enough curd to fit in two cheese moulds, which may have been a bit of a problem if I hadn't have purchased an additional cheese press.


I purchased the press from from Green Living Australia and it arrived in 2 days.  Luckily I had planned ahead and ordered it earlier on in the week about the same time I bought the large pot.   The press also came with a 50lb spring, and a 1kg cheese mould and follower.  I was all set.  I sterilised everything in the pot except the plastic stuff, which I put on a 65C wash through the dishwasher, then sprayed with vinegar.


I set up all my ingredients.  This cheese is very simple to make.
Farmhouse Cheddar
recipe for 1kg
7.6 litres full cream milk
1 heaped smidgen (1/32 teaspoon) Mesophillic direct set starter culture
1/2 teaspoon liquid rennet diluted in 60ml cool boiled water
1/2 teaspoon Calcium Chloride diluted in 60ml cool boiled water (if using homogenised milk)
1 tablespoon cheese salt (non-ionised salt)


Then I set up the sink area.  I sprayed the area with vinegar and wiped it all down with a clean dry cloth.

Here is the method:

Method

Heat the milk to 32C (90F).  Add the Calcium Chloride (if necessary).  Add the starter and stir well.  Cover and let milk ripen for 45 minutes.

Add the diluted rennet and stir gently for 1 minute.  Cover and let stand at 32C for 45 minutes or until you get a clean break.

Cut the curd into 1.25cm (1/2 inch) cubes.  Increase the temperature to 38C (100F) slowly, no more than 1 degree for every 5 minutes.  Stir to ensure that the curds do not mat.  This should take about 30 minutes and the curd will shrink a bit.

Cover the pot and let stand for 5 minutes.  Pour the curds into a cheesecloth lined colander, drain for a few minutes then tie the corners of the cheesecloth into a knot and hang the bag and allow to drain for 1 hour.  The curds need to stay warm so hang at room temperature.


Place the drained curds back in the pot and gently mill into walnut sized pieces.  Mix in the Salt, then pack into lined cheese moulds.

Fold over cheesecloth, top with follower and press at 5kg (10lb) for 10 minutes.  Remove the cheese from the mould, gently remove the cloth and turn, re-wrap, and press for 10kg (20lb) for 10 minutes.  Repeat and press for 25kg (50lb) for 12 hours.

Remove from the mould and air dry the cheese on mats at room temp on a wooden board.  This may take between 2-4 days depending on the season.  Turn the cheese often, at least 4 times a day so that moisture does not collect on the bottom.  When a thin yellow rind has formed, wax the cheese and age at 13C for at least 1 month.  The longer it is left the sharper the taste.


Peppercorns

I added pink and green peppercorns to my recipe.  To modify this recipe, add 1 tablespoon of peppercorns (green or pink but not dried black ones) to 1/2 cup of water and simmer for 15 minutes.  Strain and reserve the water and add the liquid to the milk just before the starter.   At the milling stage, add the peppercorns and mix gently but thoroughly before putting the curds into the mould for pressing.  Press as per the recipe.  I find this adds some zing to this cheese, even though it is wonderful without it.  You will find this has a sharp taste and crumbly texture, which improves with flavour as it ages.

The entire process took about four and a half hours from milk to the last pressing.  Pretty quick for a very tasty cheese.

10 comments:

  1. I made farmhouse cheddar this weekend as well, but my recipe varied from yours in only one way; the final pressing was still only 20 #. It is curious that there could be such a difference.

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  2. susan from the us7 September 2011 21:57

    I have made the farmhouse chedder two timews. Both times it taisted great but was so crumbly you couldn't slice it. I also made the caerfilly and that was too crumbly to slice also. Am I pressing it too much? I did it according to directions. What went wrong?

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  3. Caerphilly cheese (from Wales originally and a favourite of the Welsh coal miners because it was so salty and replaced the salt lost from sweating underground in the mines) is very crumbly. It is nothing like Kraft Cheddar - more like fetta in consistency. Similar cheeses from the UK are Cheshire, Lancashire and Wensleydale which are all delicious and crumbly.


    Gavin - I noticed somewhere you are giving classes and even selling a little of your cheese. Lucky you. Here in Canada the food regulations are so strict that the lessons would have to be in a government inspected and certified kitchen, and any cheese sold would have to have been made in a similarly inspected food processing facility. Hence we can show friends how to make cheese and give away samples to friends, but sell and the weight of the law might end up with giving out a $250,000 fine!!

    David

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  4. I have just converted a fridge (no freezer) into a cave for $50, used a "Mashmaster Fridge controller" purchased off the net, fridge can be set at any temperature as the unit over-rides the internal thermostat.

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  5. @Susan - I had the same issue as you did with the cheese I was making. Great taste, but didn't slice well and fell apart into crumbs when you tried. It turned out the milk I was using was over pasteurized and heated too much. In the USA the rules for pasteurized milk and Ultra pasteurized milk have a lot of wiggle room. Many dairies are going right up to the limit so they can get longer shelf life out of the milk. I've been forced to switch to higher priced cream line milk. I've had good success using a 50-50 blend of cream line to store bought. Hope you keep trying!

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  6. I've just started making cheddar and your blog has been a fantastic help - if this batch works I'll be experimenting into other types as I think I've caught the bug from you!!

    I'm in awe at how clean the skin of your cheese is before waxing. I found as the cheese was drying it started to grow quite a lot of mold on it. I tried to clean it off with a salt solution as suggested but it still has a stained mold look compared to yours. How do you keep your skin looking so clean?

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for dropping by fifeski. I just keep cleaning them with the brine solution. It sometimes takes a little scrubbing, but the rind is still intact, and then I wax them.

      Gav

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  7. That's a great help Gavin - Thank you. And here's another one...I noticed you've made cheddar with peppercorns to add flavour. A few months ago I bought a pickled onion flavour cheddar which was awesome! I'm hoping to try and make one myself but I'm not sure whether the onion is too wet to include in the cheese (unlike dry peppercorns). Any suggestions?

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    Replies
    1. Hi Fifeski, I too have tried that type of cheese and wonder how it is flavoured. There are no actual onion bits in the cheese, so I think that it is either artificial or they have blended the pickled onion into a pulp and mixed it through the curds at milling time.

      Worth a try, but personally I don't like the taste, however my wife does.

      Gav

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    2. Your wife has excellent taste :D

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