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.
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.
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.
Now came the fun part, stirring and heating the curd over the next half hour.
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…..
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.
Keeping the vat heated, the curd was piled as the procedure that gives this cheese its name started.
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.
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.
after 24 hours in the press it was now time to take the cheese and cover it with cheesecloth and…….lard.
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..