Homemade Hard Cheeses

I took a major leap in my cheesemaking adventures by making not one, but two, hard cheeses in the past two weeks.  My farmhouse cheddar wheel is waxed and aging and my colby wheel is still drying.  I followed the recipes in Home Cheesemaking exactly, except I scaled the ingredients to use one gallon of milk instead of two.  I haven’t tasted the cheeses yet, but they look pretty good!

Colby

A few lessons I’ve learned:

  • Plan ahead.  There are a lot of steps that need to be completed at certain time intervals; it’s a five to six hour process to get to the twelve-hour press.
  • Read through the recipe several times beforehand, and make sure you have all of your materials clean and ready to go.
  • Cover the pot and place it in a cold oven with the light on to hold the temperature of the curds and whey steady.
  • Use just enough cheesecloth when pressing the cheese; if you have too much, the excess will create a dent in the cheese.
  • Use a natural bristle pastry brush to wax the cheese; don’t expect to use it for anything else ever again.
  • Wear an apron and move everything else out of the way when waxing the cheese.
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