COMPARING CHEDDAR RECIPES
Dear colleagues and fellow cheesemakers. Last year, as a novice cheesemaker with loads of milk from our newly acquired Jersey cows to deal with each week, I made a total of 13 cheddars, using about 20 litres each time. Because they all took months to ripen, it was a long time before I tasted my experiments. Then I took a break of several months for various reasons. My impression was that the cheddars I made were inedible and that most of them went to the chooks but I have just reread my diaries and actually only 2 went direct from fridge to chicken run, the others had comments like “tasted excellent when tried at 8 weeks” or “this tasted fantastic, sharp and mature”. So I don’t know why in my mind they were all failures – that is the way the mind works I guess 2/13 failures and they're the only ones that get remembered . Anyway, the cows are in full lactation again now and I want to try again. I decided to do something I found on this site some time ago – compare four recipes and ask for comments and advice. Which recipe would you follow and why? I'm especially interested in the differences in the cheddaring and pressing sections. Thanks for your time and input.
STEP # 1 MILK PREPARATION
Rikki Carrol [RC] Needs no introduction.
Heat milk to 86/30 degrees
Paul Peacock [PP] British author of “Making your own Cheese”.
Heat milk to 89/32 degrees
Katherine Mowbray [KM] Kiwi author, well known teacher here, I attended a class of hers.
Heat milk to 89/32 degrees
Cheeseforum Wiki Recipe [CF]
Warm milk to 89/32 degrees
Step #2 STARTER CULTURE
RC: Add mesophilic starter and stir well. Cover and allow milk to ripen 45 mins.
PP: Add starter and stir well, cover and keep warm for 45 mins.
KM: Add starter. [no ripening time]
CF: Add mesophilic starter culture and mix thoroughly with a whisk, the culture must be uniform throughout the milk. Allow the milk to ripen for one hour.
STEP # 3 RENNETING
RC: Add rennet, stir, cover and let set 45 mins.
PP: Dilute rennet and add to milk. Leave to stand for another 45 mins at 89/32 degrees.
KM: Add rennet. Leave to set for 45-60 mins.
CF: Dilute rennet in 1/2 cup cool water. Slowly pour the rennet into the milk stirring constantly with a whisk. Stir for 1 minute. Allow the milk to set for 1-2 hours until a firm curd is set and a clean break can be obtained when the curd is cut.
STEP # 4 CUTTING CURD
RC: Cut curd into 1/4 inch pieces. Allow to set 5 mins.
PP: Cut into 1/2 inch cubes.
KM: Approx 1cm / 1/2inch cubes. Stir gently to ensure equal size. Settle for 5 mins.
CF: With a long knife, cut the curds into 1/4 inch cubes. Allow the curds to sit for 15 minutes to firm up.
STEP # 5 COOKING THE CURD
RC: Heat the curds to 38/100 degrees, increasing temp no more than two degrees every 5 mins. this should take about 30 mins. Stir gently to keep the curds from matting. Once curds reach 38/100 degrees maintain that temp and continue stirring for 30 mins longer. Allow curds to set for 20 mins.
PP: Very slowly increase the temp to 38/100 degrees. As the temp rises, stir the curds. Make sure they don’t stick together. They will slowly decrease in size and darken to a creamy yellow colour. When the temp reaches 38/100 degrees leave the curds to stand for 10 mins.
KM: Gently heat to 35-38 degrees (95-100). Takes 30 mins. ensure uniform temp throughout. Stir gently until curd becomes firm and elastic in texture. Scalding helps expel whey and increases acid development. Let settle 5 mins.
CF: Slowly raise the temperature of the milk to 102F / 39C. It should take as long as 45 minutes to reach this temperature. During this time, gently stir the curds every few minutes so they don’t mat together. Cook the curds at 102F / 39C for another 45 minutes. During this time, gently stir the curds every few minutes so they don’t mat together.
STEP # 6 DRAINING THE CURDS
RC: Pour the curds and whey into a colander. Place the colander of curds back into the pot and let set for 15 mins.
PP: Gently pour curds into a muslin lined container. Hang the curds in the muslin until they stop dripping. Keep them warm.
KM: Place a sterilised cheesecloth over a draining rack. Using a sterilised sieve, ladle the curd onto the cloth, into a rectangular shape approx. 2.5cm deep.
CF: Drain the whey by pouring through a cheesecloth lined colander. Do this quickly and do not allow the curds to mat.
STEP # 7 CHEDDARING
RC: Remove the colander from the pot and place the mass of curd on a cutting board. Cut the curd into 3” pieces. Put the pot into a sink full of 38/100 degrees water. Place the slices in the pot and cover the pot. Maintain the curds at 38/100 degrees, turning them every 15 mins for 2 hours.
PP: Does not have this step.
KM: cut the curd into strips 20cm (8 inch) long the turn and pile a light higher every 10-15 mins to develop the acidity and the texture. Crud must be kept warm with clean dry cloth. Cut and turn about 3 times, the strips when torn should resemble cooked chicken breast meat.
CF: Does not have this step.
STEP # 8 MILLING
RC: The curd slices should now be touch and have a texture similar to chicken meat. Break the slices into ½ inch cubes and put them back in the pot. Cover the pot. Put the pot back into the sink full of 38/100 degrees water and let sit for 30 mins., stirring the curds with your fingers every 10 mins. Do not squeeze the curds, merely stir them to keep them from matter. Remove the pot from the sink, add the salt and stir gently.
PP: Carefully pour the curds into a bowl and break them in half with your fingers, then add the salt.
KM: The purpose of milling is to reduce the curd to uniform sized piece and to enable the salt to be distributed evenly. Add at the rate of 2% of the final weight and mix thoroughly. Leave curd to cool to 26/78 degrees.
CF: Place the curds back into the double boiler at 102F / 39C. Stir the curds to separate any particles that have matted. Add the tablespoon of salt and mix thoroughly. Cook the curds at 102F / 39C for one hour, stirring every few minutes.
STEP # 9 PRESSING
RC: Line a 2 pound mould with cheesecloth and place the curds in the mould. Press at 10lb / 4.5kg pressure for 15 mins. Turn, redress and press at 40lb (18kg) for 12 hours. Turn, re-dress and press at 50lb (22kg) for 24 hours.
PP: line a mould with cheesecloth and place curds in it. Put 5kg (11lb) weight on top for 15 mins. turn and press with 10kg (22lb) for 15 mins. Turn again and press for 6 hours at 15 kg, (33 lb) then give it a final turn and press at 15 kg (33lb) for a final 6 hours.
KM: the mould is lined with sterilised cloth then filled with the cheese curd and pressed with the fist. Pull the cloth up from the sides and place the follower on top. Pressure must be applied slowly for the first 2 hours and then it can be increased.
CF: Carefully place the curds into your cheesecloth lined mold. Press the cheese at about 20 lbs / 9 kg for 45 minutes. Remove the cheese from the press and flip it. Press the cheese at about 40 lbs /18 kg for 3 hours. Remove the cheese from the press and flip it. Press the cheese at about 50 lbs / 23 kg for 24 hours.
STEP # 10 AGING
RC: Remove cheese from mould, air-dry at room temp for 2-5 days until dry to touch. Wax the cheese. Age at 50-55 degrees (10 – 12 C) for 3-12 months.
PP: Remove cheese from mould and leave to dry for a few days on a cheese mat. Apply cheese wax and leave it to age for at least a month at 15C / 59F degrees and 75% RH.
KM: Day 2 remove the cheese and trim the edges with a knife. Soak in 20% brine for up to 2 hours. Store in a cool moist atmosphere at 5-10 (40-50F) degrees with 80-90% RH. Turn every day initially then every 2 days. Store for at least 5-6 weeks.
CF: Remove the cheese from the press. Place the cheese on a cheese board and dry at room temperature for 3-5 days, until the cheese is dry to the touch. Wax the cheese and age it in your refrigerator for 3-24 months. The longer the cheese is aged the sharper the flavor it will develop. Be sure to flip the cheese every few days.