Making cheese at home is fun and easy with our step by step instructions. After you have mastered Feta, which I have previously blogged about, Farm House Cheddar is an excellent choice for your next cheese and is one of the cheeses in our Hard Cheese Kit.
This recipe makes approximately 900 grams.
- 8 litres of milk
- ¼ teaspoon of Calcium Chloride diluted in ¼ cup un-chlorinated water. (This can be omitted if you are using farm fresh milk) This is in the Hard Cheese kit
- 1 dose Direct Inoculation Mesophilic Starter Culture. This is in the Hard Cheese kit
- ½ Rennet tablet or ½ teaspoon of liquid rennet dissolved in ¼ cup un-chlorinated water. This is in the Hard Cheese kit.
- 1 Tablespoon Cheese salt. This is in the hard Cheese kit.
- Large double boiler; (or two large stainless steel pots, one inside the other, to act as a double boiler)
- Cheese thermometer. This is in the Hard Cheese kit.
- Stainless steel knife for cutting the curd;
- Several 90cm square butter muslin cloths for making cheeses. This is in the Hard Cheese kit.
- Stainless Steel slotted spoon;
- Large stainless steel of enamel colander;
- Cheese mould or basket and follower. This is in the Hard Cheese kit.
- Cheese press (or sufficient weight to press your cheese)
1. Place your milk into the double boiler; add the Calcium Chloride solution and mix well. (The calcium chloride can be omitted if you are using farm fresh milk.)
2. Heat your milk to 32 degrees C using indirect heat.
3. Add your culture, mixing in well, and let the milk rest undisturbed at 30 degrees C for 45 minutes.
4. Add your rennet solution to the milk stirring for one minute in a gentle up and down motion, being sure that the rennet is evenly distributed throughout the milk.
5. Check for a ‘clean brake’. If the curd is not firm enough leave or another 5 minutes and check again.
6. Once the curd is firm enough and gives a clean brake, cut the curd into 1.5 centimetre cubes.
7. Using indirect heat, gradually increase the temperature to 38 degrees C. This should take about 30 minutes. The curds will shrink and become more firm as the temperature rises and you continue to stir occasionally.
8. Once 38 degrees C has been reached, let the curds rest for 5 minutes.
9. Pour the curds into a colander lined with your cloth. Take the corners of your cloth and pull them up to make a bag. Hang your cheese to drain for one hour.
10. Tip the drained curds out of your cloth bag into a bowel and gently break the curds up with your fingers into pieces about the size of a 5 cent piece. Mix in the cheese salt.
11. Line your cheese basket with fresh cloth and pack your curds into the basket. Fold the cloth neatly over the top to avoid any lumps of fabric. Place your follower on top.
12. Press at 4 kilograms for 15 minutes. Remove the cheese from the basket, carefully peal away the cloth, turn the cheese over, redress with cloth and return it to the basket. Press again at 10 kilos for 12 hours. Again remove the cheese, redress it, turn it over, return it to the cheese basket and press again at 10 kilos for 12 hours.
13. Remove you cheese form the basket and carefully remove the cloth. It is important not to tear the surface of the cheese. Air-dry the cheese at room temperature on a wooden cheese board. This will take 3-5 days. Be sure to turn the cheese over twice a day so that moisture does not collect on the bottom of the cheese.
14. Wax the cheese and age at 10 degrees C for 4 weeks.
I do a thin coat of wax first, then a thicker coat, as the wax starts to cool, to ensure I get a good coating. I store my cheese in an old fridge that we have converted to run as 10 to 12 degrees C. A wine fridge is also ideal.
My cheese will be ready to open on 25 August 2010, and I will add to this post at that time, so you can see the final result.