Farmhouse Cheddar

Today, since Doc and I had already taken that cheese making class, I decided to make some farmhouse cheddar today!

Since we are still experimenting with all the factors, Doc and I decided to make four little cheeses instead of one big cheese:

  1. Pasteurized milk, aged 4 months
  2. Pasteurized milk, aged 8 months
  3. Raw milk, aged 4 months
  4. Raw milk, aged 8 months
Cheese making
Stirring the curds in a warm water bath (aka my sink). The pot on the right has the raw milk, the pot on the left has the pasteurized milk.

These were the only variables, though. All cheese permutations were made from non-homogenized Jersey cow’s milk. I’m hoping that the pasteurized milk cheese tastes just as good as the raw milk cheese, because raw milk is incredibly expensive (makes sense why it would be, having a much shorter shelf life, but still).

Cheese making
Breaking up the curds into little pieces and salting them, after the first draining step.

I could really tell the difference between the two milks, though. You need to add calcium chloride to pasteurized milk in order to use it for cheese, otherwise it won’t form a firm enough curd. So there’s that. But the pasteurized milk whey was a very bright brilliant yellow, whereas the raw milk curd was a much duller yellow, almost a greyish yellow in comparison. I do not know why this would be. You can see the color difference in the photos, but it seemed even more dramatic in person.

Cheese making
One of the cheeses after the first pressing.

When they’re done aging, we’ll taste them in side-by-side comparisons and decide if the raw milk is worth the extra cost. I wanted to age one of the test cheeses for over a year, but Doc suggested that since these are just tiny test cheeses, we should do a shorter aging process so we can start on the large-batch cheeses (to age over a year) sooner.

Cheese making
We made improvised cheese molds by cutting slits into old salsa containers for the whey to drain through while they got pressed.

The bacteria we used were lactococcus lactis subsp. lactis and lactococcus lactis subsp. cremoris. I’ve read that Streptococcus thermophilus is being used more and more in industrial cheddar production, but it wasn’t present in the little culture packet we bought.

We’ll see how it turns out!

Author: Steen

Steen is a nerdy biologist who spends a lot of time trying to cultivate Chloroflexi, who also likes to draw comics, play video games, and climb.

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