CHEDDAR ~ 18TH CENTURY RECIPE
- 2 gallons milk (preferably raw)
- 1/2 tsp liquid rennet (diluted)
- 1 tbsp cheese salt (or canning salt)
- 1/2 tsp calcium chloride (optional – if using pasteurized milk)
- 1 cup cultured buttermilk (optional – if using pasteurized milk)
- Warm the milk to around 85 to 90 degrees.
- Dilute the rennet in 1/4 cup of water. Add the diluted rennet to the cheese and stir for about 1 minute using a figure 8 motion up and down in the pot.
- If using pasteurized milk, also add 1 cup cultured buttermilk and 1/2 tsp calcium chloride diluted in water at this time.
- Allow the cheese to sit in a warm place undisturbed for about 90 minutes until a stiff curd forms.
- Cut the curd into 1” cubes with a large knife, ensuring you cut all the way through to the bottom of the pot.
- Allow the cut curd to rest for an additional 60 to 90 minutes.
- Slowly heat the curd and whey to 100 degrees, increasing the temperature by no more than 2 degrees every 5 minutes. Placing the pot in a sink full of hot water works well (though a wood stove is a more traditional 18th century method).
- Allow the cheese to stand at 100 degrees for 5 to 10 minutes before straining the curd through a colander lined with cheesecloth.
- Add salt and break the curd up into small pieces with your hands while distributing the salt.
- Line a cheese press with cheesecloth and place the curds into the press.
- Press the cheese, increasing pressure every 20 to 30 minutes for about 2 hours. Then allow the cheese to sit in the press under pressure for about 12 hours.
- Remove the cheese from the press and flip it over. Press on the other side for another 12 hours.
- Remove the cheese from the press and age the cheese on a salted shelf for a minimum of 60 days, flipping it over every day or two.
- The finished cheese will be dry and a hint salty, perfect for grating like parmesan.