Wednesday was time for cheese-making once again. My wife was out of town so I had the kitchen all to myself!
I took inspiration for my first Cheddar from anutcanfly, 200 Easy Homemade Cheese Recipes, and CHR Hansen’s Cheddar Cheese brochure. I didn’t want a dry, crumbly, excessively tangy cheese when I finished. I was shooting for a softer, more malleable, creamy cheese with a slight tang. I expect this cheese to age out to at least 12 months.
Initial pH: 6.83
Renneting pH: 6.69 (target: 6.55)
Cutting pH: 6.62 (target: 6.5)
Drain pH: 6.5 (target: 6.5)
Milling pH: 6.45 (target: 6.45)
Moulding/Pressing pH: 5.68 (target: 6.4)
Out of press pH: 5.40 (target: 5.4)
4 gallons Dungeness Valley whole raw milk
8 cubes MA4001 mother culture (LL, LC, LD, ST)
1/16 tsp LH100 (LL, LH)
1/64 tsp LR (alluded to in the CHR Hansen's paper)
1 tsp annatto, in ¼ cup distilled water
½ tsp CACL, ¼ cup in distilled water
1/16 tsp Renco dry calf rennet, dissolved in ¼ cup cold distilled water
3 TBS pickling salt
- · Began heating milk to 90F; added cubes, LH100 & LR
- · Although my target for renneting was lower, I figured a drop from my starting point was a good place to add annatto, CACL, and rennet.
- · Using a floc multiplier of 3.5, it floc’d in 10 minutes and I waited for 25 minutes.
- · I cut to ½ inch and rested for 5 minutes.
- · I began to raise the heat to 101F, stirring gently and continuing to cut any large pieces that showed themselves. This heating took 45 minutes.
- · Then I put the lid on and held it in the double boiler at 101F for 30 minutes.
- · I drained the whey, cut the curd mass into 4 or 5 slabs, and stacked them.
- · After 10 minutes I shuffled the slabs, moving the sides that hadn’t been down.
- · Whenever I noticed whey had collected, I drained it off.
- · After about 45 minutes, I put the slabs on a clean cutting board and diced them into ¾ inch cubes.
- · I drained the remaining whey from the pot the curds had been in and returned the cubed curds to it.
- · I salted and turned the curds to ensure they all received salt coverage.
- · At first I thought I’d need my larger Tomme mould and I lined it with PlyBan and began to press the cheese in the pot. It became apparent that this would give me a thinner wheel than I wanted, so I prepped the standard Tomme mould and wedged the larger wheel into the smaller form. Not a problem.
- · I pressed for 30 minutes with 2.9 psi (126 lbs).
- · Then I flipped & redressed, pressing at 2.9 psi for 30 minutes.
- · Then I flipped & redressed, pressing at 5.6 psi (241 lbs) overnight.
- · Sometime after I started the final pressing, I checked and found that my junction box plate center slug was being punched out (I need to find a better pressure plate.). I needed something to block that hole access. Hey, there’s a silver dollar over there! I’ll use that! Worked like a champ.
- · The next morning I was pleasantly surprised to see that the pH was a comfortable 5.40 coming off the press.
- · The wheel was pretty dry but also had a nice “give” when I pressed it…not too dry and hard (like my earlier Double Gloucester was).
- · I put the cheese in a minicave to air dry for a bit.
- · After 14 hours air drying I vacuum-sealed it and put it in the cave for long-term aging.
The Streptococcus thermophilus
(ST) and Lactobacillus helveticus
(LH) should help the aging and lend a more complex nature to the flavor profile down the road. I wasn't sure if the Hansen's guide really intended that Coryneforms
such as LR should be added, but I decided to include a little bit.