I made cheddar about a dozen times last year. Most of them had a decent flavor but were too dry. I followed several recipes, and I’m not sure I have a favorite. Here’s a picture of one of them. with one edge cut off.
I am reluctant to put a recipe here because of copyright issues. So here is a link to a cheddar recipe http://www.cheeseforum.org/Recipes/Recipe_Cheddar.htm. I haven’t made this recipe, but the essentials are the same. Goat milk recipes usually recommend keeping things about 2 degrees cooler than cow milk recipes in all the temperatures. The cheese forum has a load of recipes. I just found this page and you might not need a book, just this place. It looks like it needs a thorough exploring. One nice thing about this recipe is that it calls for a gallon of milk instead of two, so you could make it with less milk, or you could double it if you have plenty of milk. It would need the smaller of the two molds that come with the Hoegger cheese press if one gallon of milk was used.
The first cheddar I made was done in a pot on the stove. That turned out to be very impractical, when you get to the part about raising the temperature of the curds from 86 or so to 100 or so no more than 2 degrees every five minutes. This is really hard to do on the stove, if not impossible. But I tried. We ate the cheese. The next time I did it in a sink of hot tap water, that was still too fast. It was about then I got the Weck style canner. That made all the difference in the world in terms of making it easier.
If you don’t have one, this should be done in a sink of hot tap water, and not as hot as it can be. In order to get anything to heat up that slowly you need a temperature outside the pot that is no more than 6 or 8 degrees warmer than what is in the pot. You can do the initial warming, up to the 86 or 88 degrees (F) on the stove, but this slow increase in the temperature just won’t work on the stove. In the sink you will raise the temp of the hot water slowly as the temp of the curds in the pot goes up.
This is the toughest part. And it gets easier after you do it a few times.
Cutting the curd takes a little figuring out too. You need a long narrow bladed knife, and some instructions, which you can find on the cheese forum also. I think you can find everything you need to know there.
All of these recipes and pages and lists say that cheddar and the other cheeses that are traditionally waxed, must be waxed. I don’t know if this is true or not. I waxed the first one, and it was pretty good for a first attempt, but it got mold under the wax. Waxing is not a simple thing. There are good directions for it that come with some of the wax when you buy it. But in the end it looks like it has to be dipped to be done well, not brushed on, and it has to be dipped more than once, and the wax has to be pretty hot. There are some volatility issues. It’s very messy. I am going to address this again this year.
But last year I packaged all the rest of it in foodsaver bags to age. Everyone, literally everyone, says this is unacceptable. Some of them say the cheese has to breathe, and can’t in plastic. This is surely true, but I don’t think it breathes in wax either. Most of the people who make cheese are rigorous traditionalists, and might not be willing to see such a big change. But I haven’t done enough of it to know yet if it will turn out good. This year I think I am going to vacuum seal half and wax half of the same batch of cheese to see what kind of differences there are. And I’m going to do it more than once. And maybe while doing that I’ll figure out that it isn’t as hard as I thought. But I have never dipped any.
Foodsaver bags aren’t always great either, sometimes you don’t get a good seal, sometimes there was still some whey coming out, most of the time it had to be redone at least once for one reason or another. But it didn’t get mold if the seal was good. Ever.
More about mold next time.
In the meantime, check out http://cheeseforum.org/
And have a wonderful day!
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