Firstly, your utensils must be sterile, we used boiling water and this will suffice. Secondly, you milk your cow/s and separate the cream from the butter (this part I did not witness and will have to include in a later blog, sorry). Once you have the milk you wish to use you're ready to go, we had 2 vats - one with 57 litres of full-cream raw milk, the other with 27 litres of skimmed raw milk.
You should be able to see a difference in colour between the full-cream and the skimmed milk vats - the skimmed being the whiter of the two.
Bring the milk to 30 degrees in the vat and add your culture, leave 1 hour.
Next, raise the temperature to 33 degrees and add the rennet (this is the lining of a cows stomach) which will coagulate the milk allowing you to separate the whey from the curds. Leave for about half an hour, checking that the temperature remains constant and not going above 38 degrees.
Once the milk has set sufficiently you can use a sieve-like tool to cut it, and then break up the curds further with your (clean) hands. This is done by running your hand through the milky mixture, gently squishing the larger globules of curd, so that the whey runs from them.
The temperature must remain constant in this stage also, and once the curds are firming up nicely you can start to drain the whey.
In a side note, the whey tastes like creamy water, quite delicious really, and can also be used to make ricotta I think!
You then cut up the curds with a special cutting tool till all the whey runs off if you desire a hard cheese as we did, or less so if you desire a softer cheese.
Once the curd is quite firm and whey run off, you can cut up the curd further and add 2% salt and mix well with the cutter.
Our full-cream milk vat made a huge 8.9kilo wheel of cheddar and the smaller vat made 3 moulds of about 750 grams each.
You make the cheese moulds by pressing the cut up curds into the moulds, adding weights and pressing them. Every 15 minutes for 2 hours you turn the cheeses in their moulds and add more weights, and during this time you will see even more whey run out.
After this 2-hour turning period you leave the cheese overnight, then remove from moulds and place in the fridge. The smaller moulds take about 4 months to mature, whereas the larger mould will take a year, most likely more!
I tasted the curd with and without the salt and the flavour was interesting - obviously much more flavoursome with the salt added! Already the cheese had a great taste, what with the milk being of great quality, and all organic. Read more in 4 months for the final taste test!!
|What a beauty!! 8.9kg|