Step 1: Prep
1 gallon raw milk
1/32 tsp MA4002 culture or mesophillic with thermophillic culture
6 drops Annato coloring
8 drops animal rennet
Cheese press or DIY cheese press
Cheese cloth, or sanitized cotton sheeting
Whisk or knife
If you are new to cheese making, or have not made cheese out of the milk you are going to use, I recommend halving the recipe. Some milks take a different amount of culture. I will explain this further later in this tutorial.
Step 2: Heat Milk
Keep an eye on the milk. If it goes over 86, just remove from heat and let cool to the temp. If it goes over a certain temp you can scald the milk.
Step 3: Continuing On..
You will notice Cheddar has a lot of waiting involved. But don't let it keep you from venturing into cheese making!
Cultures and supplies can be found at new england cheese making supply. There are other places, but I find their customer service, help, and everything else worth it. The prices are super affordable, to boot.
Step 4: Separation Time....colors and Rennet
Step 5: Check
Step 6: Cut the Curds
Step 7: Raise Temp
Step 8: Drain
Step 9: Cheddaring Time
If any whey accumulates I the pot, pour it off. Do not squeeze the curd masses.
Step 10: Salting Time
Step 11: Combine and Press
Press at 20 lbs for 2 hours 44 minutes (or until the curds knit together enough for you to flip it over.)
At the end of the time, take the cheese out and flip it. Replace into cheese press. Press at 30lbs for 12 hours. Flip cheese. Press at 50 pounds (or as much as it takes to close the curd) for 24 hours. Do not skimp on the time. Over the amount is better than being under.
Step 12: Dry
Dry for about 3 days, or until the surface yellows and there is no moisture on it.
Remember to flip daily, twice if you can.
Step 13: Age
Wax the cheese and place it in your 'cave'. Flip daily for the first week and a half, and then flip only a few times a week. After a few months, you can choose to flip only once a week.
An old fridge or freezer works great as a cave, as does a humid and cool cellar.
Of you do not have a spot, you can choose to age it in your fridge. Just note that the fridge is cold compared to a cheese cave, and the aging process will take twice the time to achieve the same flavor and texture. It still comes out good, though.
After 3 months to 9 months, a moist cheddar will be ripe. A cheddar that had more moisture taken out during the cooking process will age better (aka, longer). My passed two cheddars have had dry curds compared to my first Cheddars. They are in the cave waiting to ripen.
Step 14: Tips
After aging in my cave (an old freezer in the basement), at around 60 degrees for 2 1/2 months, I was left with a creamy, smooth, slightly nutty cheese.
I hope you can wait long enough to enjoy! Aged cheddar is much better than the fresh stuff (which tastes like mozzarella.)