Home cheesemaking is a great hobby to get into. There are some fundamental things you need to know in order to make cheese. I won’t get into all the details here but for someone who’s interested in learning more, go to http://www.cheesemaking.com and check out their starter kits and other information. This recipe was taken from the book “Home Cheesemaking” by Ricki Carroll. Here’s an overview of how to make Colby cheese.
4 gallons whole milk
4 Tbsp cheese salt
1 rennet tablet diluted in 1/2 cup cool water
2 packets direct set Mesophilic starter culture
20 drops annatto cheese coloring diluted in 1/2 cup of water
Heat the milk to 86 degrees and add the starter, mix thoroughly. Cover and let it ripen for 1 hour, maintaining the temperature of 86 degrees. After 1 hour, add the diluted coloring and stir thoroughly. Add the diluted rennet and stir thoroughly. Cover and let set for 30 minutes. When the milk has firmed up into a curd, cut it into 3/8 inch cubes. Slowly heat the curds to 102 degrees and stir for 30 minutes, maintaining the temperature. Drain off the whey down to the level of the curds and add 60 degree water until the curd temperature is 80 degrees. Move the curds to a collander and drain. Break the curds down into smaller pieces and add the salt. Press the cheese in a cheese press for about 13 hours. Air dry the cheese at room temperature for several days and once dry, coat the wheel in cheese wax and age in the fridge for 2 – 3 months.
Well, decided to check back on here. I’m E.V. from the wine forum.
I don’t know how fast you can respond, but think I could make this in the next 36 hours? I am leaving monday. So I could do some stuff today, then tomorrow air dry…..hmmm….maybe I could get someone at home to wax the cheese. Looks good. And I have the book. Is it okay if I use goat cheese? I have a surplus of powdered goats milk.
Howdy EV. I would say you should have time to get a batch of this going. You could press it overnight and begin drying it tomorrow. You’ll want it to dry for between 3 and 5 days, until it’s good and dry to the touch. I’ve only used powdered milk in making yogurt. I’d advise against using powdered milk unless you have a specific recipe calling for it. I’ve heard that you can make cheese with powdered milk but I’m not sure about the quality of the end product. Now if you had actual goat’s milk that’d be a different story. You could even do a 50-50 blend using goat and cow’s milk.
However, saturday, june 26 (I think) I started a batch of goat farmhouse cheddar using powdered goats milk. It is drying now. Its pretty crumbly, could that be from not a good pressing? Also, the cheese cloth sorda got pressed into it, so when I pulled it out it sorta crumbled.
I don’t think I can wax this, so should I go for the vaccum pack seal bags?
One more question. How good does your cheese taste after pressing, like cheese? Say cheddar. Mine taste pretty good. But I wouldn’t say excellent. Will it melt like regular cheddar cheese? Thanks E.V.
Howdy EV. Crumbly cheese can be caused by a couple of things. It can be the result of too high a temperature during cheesemaking. It can also be a result of too much weight during pressing or if you make small batches, the cheese can just dry out since there’s not much there to hold the moisture in. I like to work with 4 gallon batches whenever possible. Using powdered milk could also be a factor. Maybe there wasn’t enough fat to help hold the cheese together correctly. You could probably go ahead and vacuum seal it for a month or two and see what happens. Usually cheese right out of the press will tend to have a milky flavor, for lack of a better word. Young cheese is like young wine, it can have sort of a flat flavor. The flavor develops over time. I like to age Farmhouse Cheddar at least 30 days, preferably 60 to 90 days. The final PH value for a cheddar cheese is around 5.4 or so. Your cheese should melt nicely if your acidity is in a good range. I would recommend making a batch of Feta cheese with some store bought goat’s milk (make sure it’s not ultra pasteurized). It’s a simple cheese to make. We love to deep fry it after it’s aged for about 1 week.
I use Anotto to color my cheeses. Anotto is the traditional method for producing the “orange” color in cheese. There are some synthetic dyes out there but i prefer using natural ingredients when possible. Good flavor in cheese starts with quality milk. Also, allowing the cheese to age is vital. The flavor develops a lot through the aging process. I believe that with the exception of fresh cheeses, you should be aging most of your cheeses for at least 2 or 3 months. Another thing that will improve the flavor of your cheese is making sure that the acidity levels are right with each cheese you make. There are target PH levels for each step of the cheesemaking process, such as inoculation, cutting the curd, draining, and pressing. I would recommend purchasing a PH meter, you can get them online. I think I paid about $50 for mine. You can spend several hundred on one but I’d start with one in the $50-$100 range. I believe I have a document that shows PH values for different cheeses. I’ll try to find it and post some information. Also, your starter culture plays an important role in the flavor of your cheese. You may want to experiment with some different cultures.
I made my first batch of cheese a couple of days ago (Thursday 9/10) and decided to go with Colby for my first attempt. The cheese is currently drying and looks/smells perfect…I’m keeping my fingers crossed that it will taste and good as it looks…My question is this…I made two pounds (2 gallons of milk) of cheese so the resulting block is 4″ in diameter by 3 1/2″ tall. I would like to cut the cheese into three smaller (approx. 1 1/14″ tall) sizes before waxing/aging so I can give a couple of them to family as gifts. I have been drying it for a couple of days now so it will probably be ready to wax sometime tomorrow. Should I go ahead and cut it now and let the three individual pieces dry for day before waxing….or should I cut it just before waxing…? I guess it’s also possible you will suggest not cutting until after is has aged, but then I am not sure how to package/preserve it for gifting…One other thing…how would you suggest cutting it to get the best (smooth/strait) cut?
You are correct, ideally you would allow the cheese to age before cutting it. But, in your situation I would cut it and allow each piece to dry before waxing. Make sure that the surface is dry to the touch before waxing. The thing to keep in mind when making smaller batches of cheese is that the smaller wheels of cheese will lose their moisture faster than a 4 or 5 lb wheel. I would use the “wire” style cutter to divide the cheese up. It’s basically a length of wire with 2 wooden handles on the ends. If you can’t find one of those, use a knife with a thin, non-serrated edge. A thicker knife will “split” the cheese rather than cut it. I hope this helps. Good luck with your cheeses!
Hi Angela. I’m not 100% sure how much is in each packet but I would guess no more than 1 teaspoon. I purchased the packets from New England Cheesemaking. I looked at their site but it didn’t tell me how much per packet. I would guess and say 1/2 tsp per packet.
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First of all, you have to realize that’s not really a dermatology sales force.