There is something very satisfying about making your own cheese. Whether it’s just a basic soft cheese or a perfectly aged cheddar cheese, it’s just a beautiful feeling of achievement. For my husband and I, it was a lot of trial and error. We use raw milk from our milk cow and we have had a lot of failed attempts at cheddar cheese, but after making it for over a year I think we finally have it figured out! I would’ve really enjoyed having a step-by-step picture guide of what exactly to do, so I decided to do it myself, so hopefully this helps you out!
We make Farmhouse Cheddar most of the time, because it’s fairly quick to make (compared to Traditional Cheddar). You can use pasteurized milk or raw milk, but here is the big tip on raw milk: Use the freshest milk possible, let it be that day’s milk or just one day older than that, but don’t go much older than that. We can tell you this from experience. We would use milk that was a couple days old because it would take us a while to collect 2 gallons. What I found out is that since raw milk is not pasteurized it has lots of live bacteria present in the milk, it continues to get stronger the longer it is not used. When you then go put in your starter into the milk to sour the milk it combats with the bacteria already present in the older milk. The newer the milk, the less bacteria. We had lots of cheeses that turned out very bitter tasting because of the older milk and didn’t resemble the taste of cheddar at all. This was a huge revelation to our cheese making, so I’ll just use milk that is brought in that morning or the day before, but nothing older.
Things you need:
- 2 Gallons of Milk: Raw or Pasteurized (try to not use ultra-pasteurized)
- 1 packet of direct-set mesophilic starter or 2 tablespoons of cultured buttermilk starter (how to make cultured buttermilk).
- 1/2 teaspoon of liquid rennet
- 1 tablespoon of cheese salt (non-iodized salt)
- 3 gallon stainless steel pot (or bigger)
- Knife for cutting the curds
- Slotted Spoon (stainless steel)
- Cheese cloth
- Cheese press
Now, lets get started:
Congratulations on making your farmhouse cheddar cheese! I hope your proud of yourself and your amazing ability to change milk into cheese.
Remember, it’s a consistent learning process so if something went wrong this time and your cheese didn’t turn out well then try again next time. Even when our cheeses tasted “off” we usually added it to cooking recipes instead of adding it to a sandwich or eating it separately.
If you used raw milk it is important that you allow the cheese to sit for at least a month. It has something to do with the bacteria in raw milk get killed off if it is aged for an extended period of time before consumption (don’t let this freak you out, just practice caution).
Please let me know if you have any questions and I will try to help out as best as possible. This recipe comes from “Home Cheese Making” by Ricki Carroll. However, I add a lot of commentary that you won’t find in the book, which is why I decided to make this to help those who like a picture guide on how to make things. I know it would’ve helped me, especially since we use raw milk.