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Making cheddar cheese for the first time ?  RSS feed

 
thomas rubino
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Ok ; My cheese mold arrives today. I can get 2 gal of still warm A2 milk with a phone call.  Tomorrow may be the day!  Been reading and learning from David Ashers book (the art of natural cheese making ) Great book ! However he only gives a recipe  for cheddar using 5 gal of milk ! I can get that much ... but not for my first attempt.  So I located a recipe for farmhouse cheddar. Uses 2 gal of milk, perfect.  They say to use a starter but as i'm using fresh raw milk i shouldn't need any. In the farmhouse recipe, the heating and rennet adding process is similar to david's recipe, then it changes . David calls for slicing and stacking the curds. He calles this the cheddaring process. In the farmhouse recipe it calls for slicing the curds to check if they are ready. Hold temp, then into a colander to drain. Break them up, add salt and put it in the press. Seems quite different.  Are all farmhouse recipes similar to this? Does anybody have a favorite cheddar recipe using 2 gal fresh raw milk ?
 
r ranson
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FANTASTIC!  Your very own cheese out of high-quality milk.  It doesn't get any better than that.
Could you share where you found the farmhouse recipe?


I suspect Asher's recipe is closer to traditional.  I've been looking at this kind of thing too, and 5 gallons is just too much for me at one go.  My largest pot only holds one gallon. 

It sounds like the farmhouse recipe is more for a generic aged cheese that tastes a bit like cheddar.  Cheddar, as I understand it, is a specific way of cutting the curd.  I think the farmhouse recipe would make a nice cheese, but I don't know if it would make 'cheddar'. 

Not having done this before myself and keeping in mind I don't have a lot of experience with aged cheeses* because I don't have a very good cheese cave set up yet.  Since I don't have enough experience to suggest the best way to do it (I think there are lots of 'best ways' anyway), I'll say what I would do in that situation.

If your milk is lovely and fresh, then I think raw milk should be fine without adding a culture.  Personally, I add kefir to my raw milk because it makes me feel better, but the theory is, raw milk has everything you need except rennet and salt.  I would probably do two different tries, one with each recipe.  Even though Asher is adamant that 5 gallons is the minimum for cheddar, I would probably try my first batch with two or three.  If I had to choose one method over the other, I would go with Asher because his style works so much better for me than any modern cheesemaking I've found.  Also, most of the mistakes I've made from Asher's recipes have been delicious, even if they were the cheese I hoped for.



*I'm starting with the aged chevre (because I'm using goats milk and it's supposedly an easy aged cheese), then when I can find somewhere in the house with the right temp and humidity, I'm moving on to wash rind and then alpine, with the goal to get to cheddar cheese making by winter.
 
thomas rubino
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Hi; Farmhouse recipe is from http://chickensintheroad.com/cooking/the-making-of-farmhouse-cheddar/ After posting I was looking around and found this post on permies Forums: cattle/ cheese
any good cheddar cheese recipes out there ?  John Master gives his recipe for cheddar using 2 gal or 9 gal of milk.  I'm liking the look of this recipe more than the other, in it he uses a similar cheddaring process to Ashers.        I'm really excited to try this......the aging process will be very hard to wait thru!
 
r ranson
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The free ebook from cultures for health has a very interesting cheddar recipe that I've been thinking of trying.  I could use kefir instead of the commercial starters and then follow the method.  It's a two gallon recipe. 

This is the part about cutting the curds:

5. Using the knife, carefully cut the curds into 1/4-inch cubes and allow to set for 5 minutes. Do
not stir.
6. Over the next 30 minutes, slowly heat the curds to 100°F, stirring frequently. As you stir, the
curds will shrink.
7. Once the curds are at 100°F, maintain the temperature and continue stirring for the next 30
minutes. If the curds get too hot, remove from heat.
8. After 30 minutes, stop stirring and allow the curds to settle to the bottom of the pot. This will
take about 20 minutes.
9. Pour the curds into a colander. Place the colander and curds back into your cheese pot and
allow to drain for 15 minutes.
10. Remove the colander from the pot and turn the curds out onto a cutting board. You should
have a semi-solid mass that looks like jelly. Pour the whey out of the pot, cut the mass into
five slices, and place back into the pot. Cover.
11. Run a sink or basin full of 102°F water and place the pot and curds into it. Keeping the
temperature of the curds right around 100°F, turn the slices every 15 minutes for the next 2
hours. This is the cheddaring process and will give your cheese its unique flavor and
deliciousness.
12. After 2 hours, the curds will be shiny and very firm. Remove them from the pot and cut into
1/2-inch cubes. Place back in the pot, cover, and place in the sink filled with 102°F water.
13. In 10 minutes, stir gently with your fingers or a wooden spoon. Repeat twice more.
 
thomas rubino
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Lol; Word for word that is the same instructions that J.masters gave on the permies post.  The cheddaring process sounds the same as ashers, though david does not press it as much or as long. 
 
thomas rubino
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Ok; Wasn't quite ready last week. This week I think I am. Cheese press is here , cheesecloth on hand, new turkey baster just for cheese making, wonderful sweet smelling fresh beeswax to seal it , rennet on hand,  large enough pot for 2 gal raw milk. Today the neighbor is bringing by 2 gal cold milk ,we will use it to make butter and drink. Tomorrow at 6:30 am, I go there to pick up 2 gals of warm milk fresh from the cow !  So as I was hoping last week ... tomorrow is the day.
 
thomas rubino
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11:00 am and it's working ! warming/renneting/ cutting curds all went well... Currently I'm flipping curd cakes every 15 minutes or so and sucking out the whey. This is known as the cheddaring process.  Next i'll add my salt, suck some more whey out and then into my form...  currently looks like I have more curds than the form has space but we shall see.
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first cutting of the curds
 
thomas rubino
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Success !! My first 2lb wheel of A2 cheddar air drying on the shelf. Everything went according to the instructions. Of course my curd slabs didn't look quite like davids , especially by the end of flipping stacks... BUT it worked just like he said ! Some confusion about how long & how heavy to press it but I got it done. VERY EASY to do and fascinating to watch the transformation from fresh milk into curds and then pressed cheese ! They should teach this in schools ! The same children who think milk comes in plastic jugs  and cheese comes wrapped in plastic would be shocked and hopfully amazed at where food really comes from!   I have gotten it arranged to have 2 gal cold milk delivered on sundays and on monday's I show up at the neighbors at 6:30 am to get 2 gallons warm milk fresh from the cow ! Lots of cheese making in my future !  Going to very hard to wait 60 days to try this !  As a side note... working with fresh raw milk straight from the cow even with my drive home I had to let it cool down to 90 instead of heating it up  to 90 to start my process!
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curd mass drained of whey and ready to slab
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slabbed/salted and ready to go in the press
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Air drying on the shelf for a few days
 
thomas rubino
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Ok; Air dried my cheddar in cheesecloth for a few day . Now its time to wax.  Per david's recommendation I sold the pound of "processed cheese wax" that I had bought and purchased 3 1# blocks of very fresh filtered bees wax. This wax smells so good I want to eat it as is... added  2 tablespoons of olive oil to the wax to help it keep from cracking, melted it in a double boiler (my new dedicated cheese wax pot)  and used a natural bristle brush to paint it on rather than trying to dip the cheese.  Result... not as pretty as a store bought dipped cheese but one wax coated  A2 A2 cheddar is ready to age for the next two months... if I can wait that long.  This coming monday morning I will pick up 2 more gallons of warm fresh milk and make my second wheel of cheddar !!!  Hooray!!!
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bees wax melting in double boiler
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waxing in progress
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done... ready to go in fridge for 60 long days !
 
Thekla McDaniels
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Bravo!  and Congratulations!

And,what is A2?
 
thomas rubino
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Hi Thekla; Thank You,  A-2 A-2 milk has a different casein than A-1 A-1 milk (regular milk) Some people have a dairy allergy (different from lactose intolerant) This allergy causes them to stuff up within seconds of consuming any dairy products (ie. butter used to cook in a restaurant, milk or cream,cheese , same thing even in small amounts.)  Stuffed head ,raspy voice ,runny nose, irritated belly and just to add to their fun 2-3 days after consuming dairy they have nasty mood swings and depression.  The different casein in A-2 A-2 milk does not cause any of this ! My wife has been aware of her allergy for 10 years , that means for ten years no cooking with butter (nasty margarine instead ) No milk or cream (nastier coconut milk ) and she has had to use "coffee mate" sheet rock dust instead of cream in her coffee . After hearing about A-2 A-2 milk it took us 6 months to locate any.  The day we found it in the organic market we did a happy dance rite there in the store ... mind you she hadn't even tried it yet! Out to the car with our cold half gallon of milk and with a big smile she shook in the cream and took a big drink (her first in ten years )  seconds went by and her smile grew to huge proportions ... YES she can consume A-2 .  Now we are making butter and cheese , food tastes like it should again !  There is a long post about A-2 A-2 in the permies cattle forum explaining the science about A-2 verses A-1 well worth reading.
 
r ranson
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Your cheese looks amazing! 
 
Thekla McDaniels
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I don't have an official cheese cave, just an old dresser I made shelves in to replace the drawers, using the drawer fronts as doors to the shelves.  Slats of oak flooring for the shelves, with spaces between to allow aeration.  In the desert, it is hard to maintain humidity, and in the summer it is hard to keep the temperature down.  I do bandage the cheeses with cloth and rather than lard, which is also good, I use butter or butter and olive oil, sometimes with herbs or what ever notion strikes me.  By freezing plastic water bottles, and putting them in with the cheese, and changing them on a 2xdaily basis, I have been able to maintain  the temp below 60.  The humidity is in the 60s and sometimes as high as 80, but I figure with the cheese covered in fats, the humitidy is not so critical.  Before I got the water bottle system, I had the humidity in the 90s but the temp was in the high 70s, and the mold on the surfaces grew like cotton candy, in big clouds. 

I think it is better than trying to have the cheese in my refrigerator where it would take on all the extra flavors...

In the winter it is no problem to keep the temp in the 40s and 50s, and this coming one, I will try to get the humidity up, at least during the winter.

You might be able to think of something, or find a wine cabinet with temp controls used soemwhere, as my friend did.  She likes it pretty well.
 
thomas rubino
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Julia, I do not know specifics about the wax i have . It was sold as pure triple filtered bees wax. It was from Washington state.  Multiple positive feed backs on it , several from people using it for skin care. It looks beautiful and smells like fresh honey.  At this point I think i would rather use it than the standard cheese wax. 

Thekla,  Great idea ! Using the frozen water bottles to keep your temps down. I'm off grid here and my big chest deep freeze currently lives at a neighbors house, so that method would not work for me, but the used wine cooler idea could be a winner. I also came across a modified thermostat that you wire into a deep freeze to make it run at 50 + degrees for wine or cheese. Neither would draw the amount of power that a deep freeze uses and should run just fine on my solar/hydro system. Here is the link for the thermostat on ebay ( Cooler Cave Thermostat + FREE Thermometer
( 121317644075 ) For now I will use this bees wax, but I will be watching for a wine cooler or spring the $35 bucks to get the thermostat + a used deep freeze. 

Of course I could rent a track hoe and put in that root cellar I've always wanted !
 
thomas rubino
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Thank You ! 55 days and counting till I can taste that 1st wheel ! The second wheel went a little smoother (less book reading) although i pulled it out from the form too soon and it has slumped some... won't change how it tastes ! You should try this, its really not hard at all. The stacking and flipping of curd cakes is messy and so far for me, by the time i'm done flipping it more resembles several large piles of curds rather than davids beautiful stacks of cakes. After a few more wheels maybe mine will start to look that way !  At some point a cheese cave of some type is in the future, until then I will use what I have.
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Slumped but still tasty looking !
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60 days or more for this one !
 
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