Thursday, December 30, 2010

Guest Blog: Nate and Stacey's Cobblestone Cheddar

Our friends Nate and Stacey gave us a marvelous Christmas present this year, a generous wedge of their delicious homemade cheddar cheese. They made it with milk from a local dairy, Cooks Dairy to be exact, and it is aged 9 months! It is DELICIOUS!! It's creamy and tangy and wonderfully sharp! The recipe they used was inspired by the book Home Cheese Making By Ricki Carroll. Stacey was good enough to write a great description of the process and some fabulous pictures to share. ~Enjoy!

To do hard cheese you really need to devote a full day to it. The thing that amazes me, is that as far as most hard cheeses (without getting into mold cheese), Cheddar, Gouda, Parmesan, Romano, etc., The milk, rennet and enzymes are all the same. The only difference is the temperature you keep the milk at, and what duration. You really need multiple thermometers and one digital to check the milk and keep it as close to temp as possibly.

Using a hot water bath is the best way to go. We give the milk a start on the counter to get to room temp and them into the water bath. It helps hold a nice consistent temp and you can always drain and add more hot water or quickly remove the tub if it gets too hot.
Then we add rennet and enzymes at appropriate temps and their times depending on the recipe. This one is cheddar. You can see curds start to form. Once you have nice curds, you need to slice. I must admit I have Nate do all the slicing. The approximate size is important and you must cut them on a diagonal to get the layers all the way down.

After many hours of temp regulation and cutting of curds and removing of whey and adding water you are ready to put your cheese in cheese cloth and into your mold and press. 
And again, depending on the cheese, you keep adding weights and flipping and every so often so the whey drains out and a nice mold forms. Usually the last weight process is 12 hours so we try to coordinate sleeping at this point. In the morning we remove the weights and set the cheese out for a couple of days to form a rind. 
Then we wax and age in our cheese cave. (For us, that is our regulated mini fridge kept at 50 degrees F)


Anonymous said...

Thanks Jennifer!

p.s. those hairy arms are Nate's not mine. haha :)


Camille said...

Thanks for clarifying Stacey! LOL! This cheese looks amazing. A whole lotta love in that!!!

Jennifer Sartell said...

I love how your candle maker is in the background of the homemade cheese photo! Like Steve said, is it something in the water? Ha!

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