Colby Cheese Making Recipe

This is a generic recipe for making Colby. Colby was invented in Colby, Wisconsin, USA in the late 19th or early 20th century. It’s flavour is similar but milder to Cheddar and texture is softer. Colby is a variation on washed curd type cheeses where warm water is added to the curds as it heats the whole curds and then washes with cool water to increase the moisture content of the cheese. Colby can be eaten fresh or aged 2-3 months. This recipe will be periodically updated as more data is understood.

Ingredients – American

  • 1 US gallon/3.8 liters pasteurized homogenized Whole Cow’s Milk.
  • Mesophilic Starter Culture of your choice.
  • Optional: Calcium Chloride, amount depending on type.
  • Optional: 1-3 drops Annatto Cheese Colourant.
  • Rennet diluted in 1/4 cup/50 ml water, amount depending on package directions and your experience with that brand.
  • 0.06 ounce/1.6 gram & 0.5 ounce/15 gram non-iodized Salt.


  1. Combine milk and diluted calcium chloride in a stockpot or double boiler and heat to 86° F/30° C.
  2. Add Mesophilic starter culture, whisk in thoroughly, allow the milk to ripen for ~1 hour.
  3. After the milk has ripened, add optional annatto colouring, do not add after the rennet as may leave your curds streaky.
  4. Stir 0.015 ounces/15 gram salt into the diluted rennet then stir the salt-rennet solution gently into the milk.
  5. Allow the milk to set, covered, at 86° F/30° C for ~60 minutes or until the milk has set into a firm curd with a clean break.
  6. Using a long bladed stainless steel knife cut the curd into ~1/2 inch/1 cm cubes. Let the curds set for ~10 minutes.
  7. Place the stockpot into a second pot of 100° F/38° C water or in a sink filled with 100° F/38° C water and indirectly heat the curds to 100° F/38° C by increasing the temperature no faster than 2° F/1° C every 5 minutes. This should take ~30 minutes, stir the curds gently but frequently during this cooking period to keep the curd pieces from matting together.
  8. Maintain the curds at 100° F/38° C for an additional ~30 minutes stirring every several minutes to keep the curds from matting.
  9. Do not stir for ~5 minutes to allow curds to settle, then pour off the whey down to the level of the curd.
  10. Stir in cold tap water until the temperature in the stockpot is lowered to 80° F/27° C. Gently stir for 15 minutes while curds pickup moisture to ensure the curds don’t mat. Note, slightly higher temperature will produce a drier cheese, lower will make a moister cheese.
  11. Pour the very soft curds and whey into a cheesecloth lined colander and allow remaining whey to drain.
  12. Sprinkle 0.5 ounce/15 gram of salt over the curd and gently mix by hands.
  13. Press curds in cheesecloth lined mold with 20 lb/9 kg for ~15 minutes.
  14. Remove the cheese from the press and cheesecloth, flip cheese, replace, and press with 30 lb/14 kg for ~15 minutes.
  15. Remove the cheese from the press and cheesecloth, flip cheese, replace, and press with 50 lb/23 kg for ~12 hours.
  16. Remove the cheese from the press and cheesecloth, lightly apply brine (0.5 ounce/15 gram salt in 0.5 cup/100 ml of water) wash to outside of cheese.
  17. Place the cheese on a drying mat and air dry for 1-3 days at room temperature turning over twice each day.
  18. Wax cheese when starts to form a yellowish rind and is dry to the touch.
  19. Age waxed cheese ~55° F/13° C for 2-3 months, turn the cheese over daily for the first month and 2-3 times a week thereafter to ensure even ripening.