I am on a cheese making kick! My original plan was every other week during the winter I would make cheese, to kind of “stock up”. During the summer, I do not want to be making cheese – I want to be working outside in the garden! My plan hasn’t really worked out – I’ve been so busy with other projects! So I am trying to catch up now.
Derby Cheese is very similar to cheddar, except it ages for a shorter period of time so it is ready sooner! The process is also simpler than making cheddar, and a little less time consuming. Here we go!
Recipe from Home Cheesemaking by Ricki Carroll
2 gallons whole milk
1 packet direct set mesophilic starter
1/2 rennet tablet, diluted in 1/4 cup distilled water
2 tbsp cheese salt
Start with 2 gallons whole milk.
Bring the milk to 84 degrees F. I like to use a double boiler, so I don’t have to worry about the milk scorching on the bottom of the pan.
Once the milk reaches 84 degrees, add in the starter.
Stir well. Allow the milk to sit, covered, at 84 degrees for 45 minutes.
After 45 minutes, check the temperature, and make sure the milk is still at 84 degrees. My milk was actually closer to 90 degrees. I think this was because, even though I turned off the heat, I left the 2 pots together, so the water in the bottom of the double boiler kept heating the milk.
I think making cheese has a lot of quirks – a lot of things you have to make sure you do right. But, it is also is extremely flexible! I let my milk get too warm, but I still ended up with cheese!
After you make sure the milk is at 84 degrees, add the diluted rennet and distilled water.
Stir into the milk with an up and down motion, for one minute to make sure the rennet gets mixed in well with all the milk. Cover, and allow the milk to set for another 50 minutes.
At this point, the milk will have thickened up. Cut the curds into squares about 1/2 inch – 1 inch. You will be able to see some whey coming up out of the cuts.
Turn the heat back on, and heat the curds, slowly to 94 degrees. Keep stirring to keep the curds from turning into a huge ball.
More and more whey will come out of the curds as the temperature gets higher.
When the temperature reaches 94 degrees, stir the curds for 10 minutes, keeping the temperature at 94 degrees.
Now, drain the curds and the whey! You can keep the whey if you want – I feed it to my dog, use it as liquid in recipes, breads, scrambled eggs, smoothies.. it is full of vitamins! However, sometimes I just don’t need anymore whey or don’t have anything to do with it! So it goes down the drain. I have heard you can freeze it as well for future use.
I set up my sink area — a strainer lined with cheesecloth, and the pan of curds next to it, and scoop them in.
Let the curds drain for 1 hour at 94 degrees. I covered them with a warm towel, and kept the thermometer in to check the temperature. When the temperature went down a little, I warmed the towel with warm water and put it back over the curds to keep them at 94 degrees.
After one hour, break the curds into pieces. Add the tbsp salt.
I use Morton’s Canning and Pickling Salt – you want a salt with no additives.
Mix well. Prepare the cheese mold by lining with cheesecloth. Transfer all the curds to the mold.
Place the mold in the cheese press.
I pressed the cheese for 2 hours at 16 pounds pressure (2 of my 8-lb weights).
Remove the cheese from the press, and from the mold. Peel away the cheesecloth, and flip the cheese. This will ensure the cheese is somewhat even (even though my cheese never is!!! )
Press at about 50 pounds pressure for another 24 hours. I use 2 sandbags that I estimate weight 20 pounds each, and then the 2 8-lb weights. You can use whatever you have at your house that is heavy! I have used dictionaries, coffee containers filled with nuts and bolts, really anything heavy I can find!
After 24 hours, you are free to remove the cheese.
I think removing the cheese from the press is one of my favorite parts …
Some people don’t like the cheesecloth lines on their cheese, but I think it is so pretty! It makes my cheese unique and special. Yes, I am cheesy like that
My cheese isn’t totally even all across the top, but I really don’t care.
Let the cheese dry out now for 3-5 days, and then it can be waxed. I usually let mine dry out close to a week. I flip it at least once a day so it dries evenly all around.
Here is what it looks like after drying.
As an FYI – I started making this cheese about 7pm, and it was in the press by 11:30. I was able to do other things during this time – because a lot of the time is letting the milk set and ripen.
Coming up tomorrow – I will be posting about waxing and aging the cheese!
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