Friday, May 15, 2009

Mike's first cheddar

Mike started making cheddar a couple months ago, which means the first batch is aged enough to eat. Last week, we decided that whenever we ran out of store-bought cheddar, we'd break into his first round. Although we actually finished off the commercial cheddar on Wednesday, the kids and I decided that Mike should get the honor of opening his first cheddar, so we waited until he was home today to break into it.

He coated it with red wax for aging. The red wax did not thrill me, but at the time, I couldn't find any wax that wasn't colored. I have since found some uncolored wax from The Dairy Connection and purchased it, so we'll be using it as soon as we use up the red wax. However, you can re-use wax, so we'll have some red wax around the homestead for a while.

But enough about the technicalities. The cheese is delicious! It really does taste like cheddar. Our only complaint is that it is on the dry side, which Mike expected. For some reason that he no longer remembers, he didn't get it waxed until three weeks, which gave it too much time to dry.

After tasting the cheese by itself, we decided to see how it melted, so we made a plate of nachos. They were also delicious. It didn't melt extremely well, but again, that's due to it being too dry. We expect future batches to be much better in that department.

It is so exciting to have our very own cheddar, since it's the cheese we eat the most. We easily go through a couple pounds a week, so we are saving a lot of money by making our own cheddar, especially since our milk isn't filled with icky hormones and antibiotics and other things that are found in non-organic, store-bought cheese.

Tonight, in addition to making two Italian pizzas with Mike's mozzarella, we are also making a Mexican pizza with the cheddar. I am practically drooling just thinking about it!


SkippyMom said...

I love cheese and sharp cheddar is my favorite - but a couple of pounds a week? WOWSA! That is a lot of cheese.

I think it is fabulous you can make your fav' kind now. Wish we could :)

Enjoy. [oh and make fondue on night, please, please, please? I love fondue and I would love to see a recipe ;) ]

SkippyMom said...

*on=ONE, sorry

clink said...

Very cool! I'm sure I'm not ready to try it -- but it might be a project for Honey ..... that engineer thing!

Looks great -- glad it turned out good.

Mom L said...

Congratulations to Mike - it looks wonderful. I'm envious!

Nancy in Atlanta, stuck with store bought

Jenny Holden said...

Excellent stuff, well done Mike! My mouth is now watering too. I'd love to try making cheese!

Ari_1965 said...

Looks very good. I like how it's not that suspiciously yellow color that commercial cheddar has.

Zarah said...

Oh yum... Cheddar is sooo tasty - and home made stuff is ALWAYS better!! I wish I lived close to you - I'd SO come over & buy a few cheddars! (Dry or not!)

Preparedness Pro said...

Bravo on your first cheddar cheese! The red cheese wax will keep the light out, it's not a bad thing at all. I'm big into waxing cheese, but have never made any myself before. Congrats.

signmama said...

Hi, I'm sitting here gobbling up your blog! It's fantastic...thanks so much for your dedication in writing all the helpful things you've shared there!

Do you have a recipe you could share for the cheddar cheese? We have dairy goats & have only made the soft cheese, but hard cheddar is our favorite. I'd love to learn to make it!

Deborah @ Antiquity Oaks said...

Welcome to my blog, Signmama! We use the goat's milk cheddar recipe from "Home Cheese Making" by Ricki Carroll. One thing you have to learn by trial and error is how to adjust the recipe as the goat's lactation gets advanced, because the butterfat goes up. In the spring, we use two gallons for the batch (as the recipe says), but we gradually use less after a few months, and by the time most of the goats are 6-9 months into their lactation, we're only using about 6 quarts. Keep in mind that we have Nigerian dwarf goats, so if you have standard goats, you may not need to make that adjustment, but ND butterfat is usually 8-9% by late lactation. And the other thing about hard cheeses is that you need a place to age it that stays at 50-55 degrees. Good luck!


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