Thanks for the kind words. I would start off by saying the cheddar is one of the more difficult and time-consuming cheeses to make. You can see by my log how long I was at it. What you don’t see from my log is the prep before and the cleanup after. All in all, you can expect to give a full day to making cheddar.
If you want to dive in to cheddar, you can. I would invest in 4 basic things.
• Get a thick and sturdy stainless steel stockpot that is sized 20% bigger than your cheese batches
• Get a good digital thermometer. (have an analog one at the ready as a standby)
• Get a pH meter. Get a decent one.
• Get/make a press. Carter and Dave can talk more about that. Here is mine
I would also recommend the following items that might be a bit more subjective, but I find them important.
• Get good rennet (liquid 2x strength animal rennet)
• Get good starter culture.
• Get a curd knife (an icing spatula will work fine initially)
Dave (likespace) said it best, Cheese-making, the art, is an exercise in managing those subtleties that are inherit with each operational step in a cheese recipe.
For example, a heating protocol that says raise the temperature of your cheese 2 degrees every 5 min for 25 min, then 3 degrees every 5 min for 40 min. That is tough. Temperature control, that precise, is both required and difficult. It demands your attention. I would practice with water first.
There are a number of other subtleties that I am still struggling with, and some that I still am blissfully ignorant of. This cheese in this thread merely represents the state of the art for me and my abilities.