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Making cheddar

Ever wondered exactly what goes into that deliciously creamy block of Cathedral City in your fridge? We start with a traditional recipe and a whole lot of milk. To find out what we do then, read on…

Making cheddar
 

YOU WILL NEED...

8 litres of Pasteurised Whole Milk

Starter culture

Rennet

Salt

Equipment:

One cheese pan

A chip mill

A knife

One hand

Press and cheese cloths

A stopwatch

A spare day

12 month’s worth of patience

(makes 400g block)

Step 1: Begin

Pour the pasteurised whole milk into the cheese pan, heat to 32°C.

Step 2: Starter

Pour in starter (the active ingredient that causes the milk to ripen) and allow to stand at 32°C for 50 minutes. Stir.

Step 3: Rennet

Add rennet - this causes the milk to coagulate (solidify) and is the start of the cheese making process. Stir for 5 minutes. Allow to stand for 50 minutes.

Step 4: Cutting

Test the firmness by laying the back of your hand on the surface of the curd near the side of the vat and pull gently: if it comes away from the side of a vat, it’s ready. Alternatively, put your thumb onto the curd. If it tears and reveals yellowish whey appears, it’s also ready! Cut curd into small ¼ inch cubes.

Step 5: Stir

Increase the temp of the vat to 40°C for one hour and continue to stir. (Not too hot though or you’ll ruin it.)

Step 6: Pitch & drain

Stop stirring and push the curd up into a pile about a third of the way inside the cheese pan. Pull the plug out, allowing the whey to drain away slowly.

Step 7: Cheddaring

Cheddaring is the unique step in making cheddar. Cut the curd up into 9in blocks and turn them over (flip them carefully). Wait for 10 minutes or so. Then turn the curd blocks again, this time piling them two high. Repeat. Wait another 10 minutes or so, then turn them over again but this time pile them four high. Finally, after another 10-15mins, stack them into one pile and leave for 15 minutes. The whole step should take about an hour, at the end of which the texture of the curd should roughly resemble a chicken breast.

Step 8: Milling

Tip the curd into chip mill. When all the curd has been milled, lay the pieces out evenly and add salt. Allow to stand for 15 minutes. Pop the chipped curd into a press (using cheese cloths) and squeeze. Do this for an hour, then take it out, pull up the cloths and squeeze it all again for another 16 hours.

Step 9: The waiting game

Take it out of the press, remove the cloths and vacuum pack the cheese. Put it in a cold store at 8-10°C for 12 months.

Alternatively...

If you think this is rather a lot of effort, then there is an alternative. Let us do the hard work and then pop down to your nearest store and buy your favourite Cathedral City - in a nice and handy re-closable pack.

You can even have Cathedral City delivered to your door by your local milkman. And what could be easier than that?