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)
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.
12 thoughts on “How to Make Farmhouse Cheddar Cheese- Step by Step Pictures (& Raw Milk Tips)”
I recently started making farmhouse cheddar at home. I have read various methods for doing this and then I came across yours which is also a very good example / tutorial. I did have a question though in regards to the weights. Your last step involves using 50 lbs of pressure for 12 hours. The method I have been using did 10 lbs for 15 mins > 20 lbs for 24 hours > 20 lbs for 24 hours then 2-4 days of air (depending on the size/weight of the cheese). Your example is doing 50 lbs which from what I have read is commonly used for the harder cheeses (such as parmesan or asaigo). Can you provide any insight on the different weights and why it is necessary to “flip” the cheese in the press every so many hours?
I personally haven’t experimented too many different techniques, but I follow the instructions of “Home Cheese Making.” We find that the farmhouse cheddar is pretty bitter and dry, which is probably attributed to the heavy weight. The flipping of the cheese seems to help even out the cheese and make it completely smooth all the way around… This is just speculation, b/c I’ve only done it those ways! I’m still learning a lot about cheese making, since it is completely a learning process. I want to do a tutorial soon about making Gouda cheese which is quickly becoming our favorite type of cheese. Please let me know how your farmhouse cheddar works out, b/c ours always is dry and crumbly and I would like to find out how to make a smoother cheddar (maybe I just need more creamery milk?).
Thanks for question!
I came here looking for someone else making cheese with real raw milk and the cream. Over the years I’m finding that we (those using raw, fresh milk) need less rennet and less culture – how much less is what I’m working on now. I have had rubber for cheese too besides hard/crumbly. I have written the cheese culture supply places and one said that we need to use less culture – most places just talk about the rennet. My fav. book is is The Cheesemakers Manual by Morris. My fav. recipes for a lot of the cheeses we use are from fiascofarm.com. They are for goat milk, but I use them for all milk. I’m making a lot of Colby right now to make sure that I have some things that aren’t “sharp” – but it may mean eventually that I will pasteurize some milk to see if there is a HUGE diff. in taste – like: cream cheese . . . Keep up the good work and let us know if you find any new things about using raw milk!
Thanks for the wonderful comment! I’ve tried Gouda and Colby twice now and I think it’s better than the Farmhouse Cheddar, it’s more moist in my opinion and doesn’t have so much of a bite. I also believe that my cow doesn’t give as much cream as I need to make good cheesy cheese. All our cheese at this point has been dry, sharp and doesn’t melt. The Gouda and Colby seem to be more moist and melt more than my cheddar does… It’s still all an experiment but I love the feedback from people!
I used 1/2 tsp rennet and 1/4 tsp Colby/Cheddar culture in 4 gallons of milk and it turned out better than any cheese I’ve ever done. If you read Jim’s details at New England Cheesemaking, he says that raw milk already has so much going on you can use 10-20% less rennet and less temperature. Also, Dairy Connection said to use up to 50% less culture. Jim also said that he uses full cream on fresh cheese and about 1/3 – 1/2 cream on cheeses that cure for some time. With all that info and leaving milk out overnight and it completely coagulated – I think that using much less rennet is best. Vegetable rennet can be bitter if over used too. So, I would use your recipe, but cut it by at least 1/4 for the ingredients and then go from there. I am, and it’s starting to really change my cheese for the better!
Very informative, will try this and maybe make my favorite, Stilton.
Hi there! This is my 1st comment here so I just wanted to give a quick shout out and say I really enjoy reading your posts.
Can you recommend any other blogs/websites/forums that deal with the same subjects?
My web site – facebook sign up homepage (Adrianna)
Are you specifically talking about making cheese or homesteading in general?
Hi. I have made a couple of batches of cheese with you success. But I am guessing in the pounds of pressure. Mist presses I’ve found have no gauge. How do I determine the pressure on these presses. Thanks
Every press is different. I don’t even follow the recommendations anymore due to the fact that usually the press recommendations is too light. I usually press as hard as I can the first time. Flip it within about 15 mins and then press hard again.
Thank you for this recipe, for the pictures for all your time, I made a couple of soft cheeses with great results and I’m going to try this as soon a I get my wine cooler, I suppose to get it on 9/11/15 but I want to know how do you manage to keep the humidity, everybody talk about 55F temperature and 85F humidity, how can I get the humidity?
I was describing to my mother how Mozzarella was made with citric acid and that after 6 months of being Mozzarella it turns to Parmesan… “No” she said; “They use rennet. And of course Parmesan is a totally different cheese!” Hmm. Seems pretty strange how the big interests really can cloud people’s minds. What’s all this about using skim milk from the morning added to whole milk the next morning???
One thing I really wonder now is “where does the red color come from in store-bought Cheddar?” I know this material is over half a decade old but I am hoping someone can address this. My experience is that only Bleu Cheese uses active bacteria and almost any modern cheese maker uses the acid(s) or enzyme(s) that the bacteria would have produced originally.