Table Top Cheddar and Cheese Curds

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For best results, please read recipe entirely before beginning.

Ingredients needed:

2 gallons milk
¼-1/2 teaspoon of MA 11OR 1/4 teaspoon RA 21
1/2 teaspoon calcium chloride
1/2 teaspoon rennet (coagulant)
Water (non-chlorinated)
Salt

Equipment:

Stainless-steel pot large enough to hold your milk (double-boiler set-up is best)
Thermometer
Measuring spoons
Large mixing spoon
Cheesecloth
Cheese mold with follower for pressing & weight to press with (alternatively, you may use a cheese press)
Long knife (blade approx. 9 to 12" or longer) for cutting curd
pH strips or pH meter (optional)
Cheese "cave" for ripening step (many hobbyists use a second refrigerator that allows temperature and sometimes humidity control)
Note: Please be sure all equipment is sanitized before use.

Directions:

  1. Heat whole milk to 90⁰ F in stainless steel pot. Initial pH should be at 6.5-6.7
     
  2. Add ¼-1/2 Teaspoon of MA culture or ¼ teaspoon of RA culture per 2-3 gallons.  Allow to sit on top of the milk for 3-5 minutes.  Then stir into the milk.
     
  3. Allow culture to ripen for 60-90 minutes. Keep pot covered to help maintain the temperature at 90⁰ F.   pH may not change during this time
     
  4. Add 1/2 tsp of calcium chloride.  Dilute in ¼ cup non-chlorinated water.
     
  5. Add 1/2 tsp rennet by diluting in ¼ cup cool, non-chlorinated water.  Stir in an up and down motion 5-7 times.   Allow the milk to stop moving and do not disturb the milk during the coagulation time.
     
  6. Allow rennet time of 30-40 minutes until the milk is coagulated.
     
  7. Cut into cubes ¼-1/2” by using a metal spatula or knife. Cut the coagulated milk into cubes by cutting at a 45⁰ angle, from the left and then to the right and then turn the pot ¼ turn and repeat process.
     
  8. Allow the curd to sit in the whey for 5 minutes to heal.
     
  9. Start stirring the curd slowly and gently as it is very fragile at this point.  Raise the temperature to 102⁰ F, over a period of 30 minutes. Caution:  Do not cook too fast or over cook. Continue to stir throughout cook to allow for good heat distribution.  As the curd firms up you can start to stir faster and not as gently. 
     
  10. Continue to stir for 30 minutes after cooking, maintaining the temperature of 102⁰F.
     
  11. Drain whey and allow curd to begin to mat. Keep the curds warm (90 F) by covering the pot. 
     
  12. Turn curd every 20 minutes until pH reaches 5.4 (Approximately 1.5 hrs )
     
  13. Cut up curds and salt with at ½ - ¾ tablespoon per gallon of milk..  Add the salt in three increments that are spaced 5 minutes apart.  Stir curds well after each addition to distribute the salt.
     
  14. Place curds in a form and apply pressure to create a block of cheese or curds can be consumed fresh.
     
  15. If you want to age your cheddar, coat with wax and store in cool, clean conditions (optimal temperature range is 45-55⁰F). Waxing is optional but will help your cheese retain moisture. If you choose to age your cheddar at cooler temperatures (such as in your home refrigerator), your cheese will still age but more slowly.

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