Making My First Clothbound Cheddar – Wrapping Around The Lard!

I have made several Cheddar since starting to make cheese.  All have been natural rinds or they have been vacuum sealed.  It was time to make my first Bandaged or Clothbound Cheddar.  I also decided that if I was going to make a Clothbound Cheddar, then it was going to be a big one.  So off to the store I went to pick up 24 litres of skim milk and 4 Litres of whipping cream to make up 28 litres of “HomeMaid” whole milk.  Then fire up the double vats and start making cheese.

Heating milk
28 litres of milk coming up to temperature

This time I managed to get the vats synced, things were going to plan.  Instead of a 15 minute lag between the two vats, there was only about a minute. At temperature cultures were added and the ripening time passed.  Then it was time to add the rennet and figure out the flocculation time and you know what that means, sterilized milk cap time.

Stop Floc time.
I used the milk caps to time how long it took for the surface to gel.

With a time of 15 minutes times a flocculation multiplier of  3.5 means I cut the curd at 53 minutes from adding the rennet.  This was a little longer time than called for in the recipe, but not by much.  At 53 minutes I checked the curd and the clean break , perfect.  Time to cut the curd.

cut curd.
After cutting the curd in vat ! it was time to let them heal.
Cutting vat 2
While letting the curd in Vat 1 heal, it was time to cut vat 2.

Now came the fun part, stirring and heating the curd over the next half hour.

Curd Stiring
Even though I made horizontal cuts to the curd I still had large pieces to cut down while stirring.

At about 15-20 minutes in I was almost at the right temperature, and it was time to check the pH of the whey.  It was where it should be so I went on to the next step.  Unfortunately I did not read the rest of heating and stirring step, so the part where it said stir the curd for 30-60 minutes while holding the temperature was missed.  I did not realize this until I was at the cheddaring stage.  So Moving on…..

Draining the vat
I then drained vat one down to the level of the curd
Draining the other vat.
And then it was time to drain vat 2.

I then scooped the curd from both vats into a cheesecloth lined colander and let them drain for 10 minutes.  I started to prepare one of the vats for cheddaring.  It cleaned out the insert, put some spacers in the well so it would be on an angle and topped up the water.

Vat ready to go for cheddaring
Here is the vat ready to receive curd. It may have been too steep of an angle.

Keeping the vat heated, the curd was piled as the procedure that gives this cheese its name started.

Cheddaring one.
After several flips it was almost time to cut and stack the curd for the first time.
cutting and stacking
After cutting and stacking I noticed the the whey was white not clear.


Time to check the stack
After 3 hours of flipping and stacking it was time to check the texture of the curd. The pH was where it should be.
curd texture
Ripping out a section of the stack, it looks like a bit to boiled chicken. Time to mill and press.

After all that hard work, what do you do with this curd mass?  You mill it (cut it up)!  You are probably thinking what a waste of time, but you have just developed the texture and acidity that the cheese need.

Here is the milled curd, some people cut their’s into french fry like strips, but I like to tear mine into thumb nail size pieces.
Curd weight
To find the amount of salt to use you should know how much curd you have. I used 77 grams of salt for this weight.

I packed the salted curd into the mould and then put the mould in a pot that should help to keep the curds warm during the first pressing.

Pressing for the frist time
Here is the cheese, in a pot, in the press. This time I was using the 5x advantage pin.
Pressing for the last time
After a few flips it was time switch to the 9x advantage pin and press for up to 24 hours. I wonder if the milk jugs get bored with the view
final press.
After 15 hours in the press it was almost time un-mould and bandage.

after 24 hours in the press it was now time to take the cheese and cover it with cheesecloth and…….lard.

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Now the cheese will age for the next 10 to 24 months.  The surface of the cheesecloth will act as a protection for the cheese, mold will grow on the surface but in theory not on the cheese.  I hope to document the flora growth on the cheesecloth with a picture a week starting at week two of aging.

I hope that even with my mistake that the Cheddar will turn out OK in the end, but time will tell.  As always I will have pictures up on the Facebook Page as well

Until next time..

13 Comments on “Making My First Clothbound Cheddar – Wrapping Around The Lard!

    • I coated the cheese and soaked the cheesecloth in the lard and then rubbed and stretched it on. It worked really well. One week in and no flora on the cloth yet.

      • It will be interesting to watch the growth over the weeks. I did one with bacon fat last weekend. I am curious if any of the nitrates used to make bacon will slow the flora growth. Making a stout beer infused one to bandage up with lard today.

  1. I’ve never tackled so many liters/gallons simultaneously in my home kitchen. Impressive!

    I look forward to seeing how the mold growth turns out.

    • This was the second time I have done a double batch, it seems to work well if there is a few minute lag between the two vats. I am hoping to see some growth in the next few weeks, but there is plenty of time for that.

    • Welcome Amanda,

      I wish I could build a press like that, it bought it from a person in Oregon. His website is I love the press, especially the different mechanical advantage setting.

  2. Pingback: Showing Signs of Life – Clothbound Cheddar 16 Days old | Much To Do About Cheese

  3. Pingback: It’s Alive! – Clothbound Cheddar Week 3 | Much To Do About Cheese

  4. Pingback: Clothbound And Down-7 Month Update | Much To Do About Cheese

  5. Pingback: Tasty To The Core – 8 Month Clothbound Cheddar – Sampling | Much To Do About Cheese

    • Hi Peter,

      There are several updates to this post culminating with a meeting of the League of YEG Home Cheesemakers where it was opened up to share.

      I will post some of the cross links soon.

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