I have mentioned that I have been making loads of cheese lately and that I would post the recipes that I have been using and liking. This is one of them that I found and have modified for 1 gallon of milk vs. 4 gallons. I just don't have the capacity to do that much at once. So here is the recipe for farmhouse cheddar:
1 gallon milk
1/4 tsp Rennet*
*I use the liquid rennet. Junket rennet is not the same thing but can be used in a pinch. I have found that for every 1/4 tsp. of liquid rennet I would need to use 1 tablet of the junket rennet.
**Make sure this is real cultured buttermilk with live active cultures. You may just have to experiment with brands to find one that will work right. I tried two brands before finding one that was the right stuff. I found that some even said cultured buttermilk, but the cultures were not active and would not acidify the milk.
1) Warm milk slowly in warm water bath to 86*F. Stir periodically.
2) Add Culture. Allow to ripen for 45 minutes.
3) Add 3/4 tsp Rennet diluted in 1/4 Cup of cool water. Mix into milk.
4) Allow the milk to set for 30-45 minutes until a firm curd forms. Test the curd for the 'clean break'
Cut the curds into 1/2 inch cubes. Let rest for 5 minutes.
5) Cook the curds to 102*F over a period of 40 minutes, stirring them gently during this time in order to reduce their size to that of half a peanut. I use a large whisk.
6) Hold the curds at 102*F for an additional 30 minutes stirring occasionally to keep curds from matting.
7) Allow curds to settle to bottom of the pot just prior to draining.
8)Drain the curds into a colander (pre-warmed with very hot water). Reserve 1/3 of the whey and pour back into the cheese pot. Set colander of curds on the top of the cheese pot. This is called "cheddaring" which textures the cheese.
9) Drain curds for 60 minutes keeping them warm by covering with cheesecloth and pot lid.
10)Maintain temp of the warm whey with minimal heat under the pot if needed.
11)Invert the cheese every 20 minutes and re-cover with cloth and lid.
12) Cut the cheese slab into curds with a knife or pastry cutter. Add 1-2 Tbl. of course salt. Curds can be eaten fresh or continue to pressing.
13) Press at 20lb for 30 min.
Invert and Press at 30lb for 30 min.
Invert and Press at 40lb for 1 hour
Invert and Press at 50lb for 12-15 hour.
14) Air dry for a few days to develop a rind.
15) You can wax and ripen for 2-3 months or refrigerate and eat.
I love this recipe and have had the best success with it. While other recipes I have had failures this has proven true time and again. Blessings.