Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Everything Tastes Better with Cheddar!

We did it again! My Cheese-Loveing friend and I successfully made Cheddar Cheese for the second time!
It is a much much longer and more involved process than Mozzarella (which I am totally in love with).
Before Christmas she and I tackled Farmhouse Cheddar. It's a Cheddar shortcut. It's great to use when you want to made a Cheddar type of cheese but save time in the whole process. It's a little drier than regular cheddar but really yummy and it's ready to eat after just 4 weeks of aging.
We did that and it was so yummy! Sharp, strong and our kids didn't really like it but our spouses did.
This time around we tried the Stirred-curd Cheddar. Still not quite the same process as making traditional Cheddar, but more involved and it is supposed to age for 2-6 months.

We heated and stired and added our started and let it all set according to the directions.
Mind you, there were 8 children ages 6 and under running around.
Honestly, she is a waaaaaaayyyyyyy better cook than I am. I don't even pretend to enjoy cooking.
Like my mother, cooking her stress-relief. But, I want to learn more and the more I am learning, the more I am loving and realizing just how fun cooking can be....minus Junior hanging on my leg or trying to dip fingers into a kettle beside us.
We tag-team each other well in the whole children's dept. and I think that's another reason we enjoy cooking together...or rather I am finally learning to love to cook.
I am also leaving the baby-stage of my parenting life...sniff! sniff! I've always much rather cuddled and played with our kids than cook a gourmet meal.
But, I digress. This whole learning to make cheese has been a whole new learning experience for me!
Ok. I rather forgot to take any of the next 7 steps worth of pictures. We were giddy at how it was turning out and I totally forgot about the camera.
This is what the curds looked like though after they had been maintained a 100 degree temp and stirred every 5 min. for an hour. They were already tasting really yummy and had a squeeky feel on your teeth whe biting into them. Hmmmmmmm!!!!
Then we were to line a 2lb. cheese mold with cheesecloth and place the curds in the mold and press at 15lbs. for 10 minutes.
She had the mold, but neither of us have a cheese press.
Sister-Ingenuity and Creativity enter here. Yes, those are bench weights next to her cute little toddler.
Yes, we used bench weights to press our cheese.

The cutting board in a baking pan acted as our drain for the excess whey that was to be pressed out.
Then we wrapped that block of cheese like a baby and set the weight on top.
This is what it looks like after the first 10 minutes of pressing.
Then we stuffed it back in and pressed it again with a heigher amount of weight for another 10 minutes.

I left to pick up my oldest two kids from school at this point. It had been right at 6 hours of stirring, cooking, draining, cooking, stirring, etc. etc...
All that was left was to press it for another 24 hours at the 50 lbs. mark and then we could dry it and wax it.
Let me just say, it was supposed to dry for 2 days and then wax, but she called me last night and asked if I wanted my half now. It tasted too good to wait for the minimum 2 months that we were going to have to wait and she and her family were going to go ahead and eat their 2 lbs.
I was at her house in 10 minutes and picked up my portion to bring it home to eat our half.
Ohhhhhhh! It was yummy!!!!
One of these days we'll do it again and let it age like it's supposed to. For now, my kids are getting snacks of crackers, cheddar, and sausage slices. Hmmmmmm!

4 comments:

lauren said...

how amazing!! are you using raw milk? that is seriously impressive! way to go! :)

Soaring High said...

This one was NOT made with raw milk. Last time was because we had access to what we needed. When our goats have their babies in the about a month, I'll have all the raw goat milk I want to try it again!

Soaring High said...

This one was NOT made with raw milk. Last time was because we had access to what we needed. When our goats have their babies in the about a month, I'll have all the raw goat milk I want to try it again!

Becky Ritta said...

Melinda, this is so cool! One of my goals in life is to learn how to make cheese ...