Sunday, February 3, 2013

Homemade Press-less Raw Cheddar Cheese

When a friend of mine told me she made shreddable, meltable cheddar-style cheese in her kitchen at home - without a cheese press - AND that she would be willing to show me how, you can imagine how thrilled I was! When she added that the milk is only heated up to 100 degrees - so technically it can be a raw cheese (if you have a source of raw milk that you trust) - I could barely contain myself. We've finished off the last of our store-bought cheese and are now eating exclusively home made - no more colorings and questionable milk! (If your kids are put off by the fact that it isn't orange, you can buy coloring, or experiment with home-made colorings.)


Press-less Farmhouse Cheddar
(This recipe makes about 3 pounds of cheese. You can certainly make a smaller batch if you prefer, simply divide the recipe accordingly.)
3 gallons milk
3/4 tsp mesophilic culture
1/2 tablet rennet
2-3 Tbsp cheese salt (when I made this with sea salt, it didn't turn out right - I'm not sure if it was the salt, or if I did something wrong. Please leave a comment if you know about this.)

I make this recipe in a big 21 quart canning kettle, which will hold all 3 gallons of milk. Actually, I use two, one for the main cooking kettle and one nested under it for a water bath. You'll need to heat the milk slowly, so a water bath is very helpful.

Heat your milk to 88 degrees F, then add the culture powder and mix it in thoroughly. Cover and let stand for about 40 minutes.

Break a rennet tablet in half and place one piece in 1/4 cup cold water. Dissolve the tablet completely, then pour it into the cultured milk, stirring it in gently. Cover again and let sit for 40 more minutes, until the curd separates out (it will look like very thick yogurt, and if you pull it away from the side, watery yellowish whey will fill in the gap). Cut the curd into half-inch cubes (using a long knife, cut one way, all the way to the bottom of the pan, making slits a half inch apart, then do the same in the opposite direction to make half-inch squares. Then as best you can, cut diagonally to get as close to cubes as possible.)

Heat the water in the lower kettle until the curds reach 100 degrees, making sure to go slowly - the curds should only gain 2 degrees every 5 minutes. The whole heating time should be around 30 minutes. Stir the curds gently up from the bottom every so often to keep the curds from matting. You will notice that there is a LOT more whey.

Once you're up to 100 degrees, cover your kettle and let the curds sit for 10-15 minutes. Then drain as much whey as you can without losing any curd (save the whey! You can use it to make ricotta, save it for boosting your sauerkraut or other ferments, feed it to your chickens (whey is high in protein, so it makes a good supplement to their feed. Better yet, soak their feed in it for a day or two for a fermented wet mash!), or even sprinkle it on your garden). Then flop the curds out into a colander with a bowl under it to catch the remaining whey. Mix in the salt (I do this with my hands, crumbling the curds and mixing them until the salt is completely incorporated), cover, and let stand in a warm place overnight (since my house is pretty cold this time of year, I put the bowl and colander inside the bottom canning kettle (that I was using as a double boiler - it still has warm water in it), cover it, and then put a towel over the top to keep it warm.) If you want to, you can put a plate on top of the curds with a jar of water on top to weight it down, as a minimal imitation of a cheese press. I've done it with and without, and haven't noticed too much difference.

In the morning, flop the finished cheese out of your colander and store in a covered container in your fridge. This won't keep as long as a pressed cheese, but it can be used in any of the ways you normally would use cheddar (I've never had any go bad - but then again, it's never lasted more than a week in my house!)

As I said, this cheese is very versatile - it shreds nicely, melts well, and slices just like you'd expect - it's not soft at all.

And it goes very well on scrambled eggs, as my children will attest!
If you aren't sure where to get rennet, cultures, and cheese salt, they're all available online. Here are the links to where to find them on Amazon:



This post is part of the Homestead Barn HopSunday School, and The Creative HomeAcre Hop

49 comments:

  1. I want to try this! Hmmm, looks like I need more milk :) I found you on the Barn Hop and I would love to have you join the fun on my Creative HomeAcre Hop!
    http://www.theselfsufficienthomeacre.com/2013/02/the-creative-homeacre-hop.html

    Hope to see you there!

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    1. What a fun blog hop! Thanks for sharing!

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    2. Thanks so much for sharing this on The Creative HomeAcre Hop!!! I am featuring your post tomorrow :) Stop by and share more creative posts!
      http://www.theselfsufficienthomeacre.com/2013/02/the-creative-homeacre-hop-3.html

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  2. I'm going to give this a try as my pressed cheddars don't always come out very well and I hate waiting 2 months to find that out!

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  3. I'm definitely trying this! Thanks so much!

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  4. I wonder if you can use this recipe and then go ahead and age the cheese after?

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  5. I believe you have to press it if you want to age it, because it needs a lower moisture content. Since we're eating this cheese fresh, it doesn't matter so much.

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  6. I pinned. I am going to try this. Sounds fab!

    hugs x
    Crystelle

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  7. This sounds great. I have been wanting to find a recipe for a homemade cheese that shreds well.
    Thanks!

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  8. I cannot wait to try this recipe! I have become skilled at making chevre and am ready to move on into new cheeses. I was a little intimidated by cheddars, but no longer. Thanks! :)

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    1. We now make this a couple times a month! Thanks so much for this recipe!

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  9. Does it work with raw goat cheese :)?

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    1. It should! Let me know if you try it.

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    2. let me know i am hoping to try it too with raw goat milk

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    3. I make this using only raw, unpasteurized goats milk. Turns out great every time.

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  10. Sea salt contains natural Iodine.

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  11. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  12. Thank you for sharing this recipe. I look forward to making my first batch.

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  13. do you actually measure out your culture or did i just add 2 or 3 packets. I was looking to order from Hoegger Supply, do you know which culture I would order from there?

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  14. I measure mine because I buy it in the big packages. I would just follow the directions on the package you buy, since different brands have slightly different bacteria mixes, so you need different amounts.
    I've never ordered from Hoegger Supply, so I can't help you there! Sorry!

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  15. Cheese can not process/age/culture with iodine in it. Your sea salt probably had iodine! :o)

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  16. I'm making this for the second time tonight. The first time I made it, it came out perfectly :) Thanks so much for this simple cheddar recipe. We LOVE it

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  17. I was wondering if I can use liquid rennet?
    Thanks!

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    Replies
    1. That should work fine - I'm assuming the amount would be listed on the packaging.

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  18. It works great with Goats milk. I have made several different cheeses with our abundance of Goat milk and this is my hubbys favorite. Yes you can use liquid rennet. That is what I use. If it call for half a tablet I use a half teaspoon.

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  19. Leuke tekst hier! Ik ben op zoek naar een aanrechtblad van keramiek, graniet of composiet en vroeg me af of jullie betere prijzen weten te vinden online dan http://natuursteen-werkblad.be/keukentablet/. Ik ga namelijk een nieuw aanrechtblad kopen

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  20. Thank you for these clear directions. I would love to make some, as my family is very fond of cheddar cheese! Wishing you and yours a wonderful Thanksgiving! Linda

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  21. So this doesn't have to age?!? You're my hero!! Making this ASAP!

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  22. Absolutely love this recipe! We make it with raw goat milk and we love it! It is so convenient. We freeze some of it. We like the flavor of the MA 11 culture better than the MM100.

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  23. I made this using raw goat milk. The texture was really squeaky - husband commented it was kinda like eating an eraser! But the taste is good, if not exactly like cheddar. Haven't tried melting or shredding it yet. I think I messed up the texture by getting distracted when the curds were warming, and they heated up too quickly. Looking forward to trying again!

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  24. I've made this several times using goats milk. Always comes out great. Tonight I'm actually going yo put it in my press and see what difference it makes. Thsnks for sharing :)

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  25. The recipe is easy. The flavor is alright. However, I cannot say it was truly worth the $5.50 a pound it cost to make it. If we had our own milk cow/goat it would probably be worth it. However, raw milk is $4.50 a gallon, plus the cost of the culture and rennet. Easier and cheaper to buy the cheese from a store.

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  26. I want to try this. Thanks for sharing. I was wondering if I could liquid rennet as that is what I have on hand and do you know how much of the liquid to use?

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  27. as usual I asked before I read all the comments and know I can use the liquid rennet. Thanks again for the great recipe!!

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  28. Thank you so much for sharing this! Absolutely LOVE IT! It has such an amazing flavor and doesn't require 2 months of patience to see if it turned out ok! Everyone I've shared this with think its amazing!

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  29. Do you use the raw milk with the cream or without the cream?

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  30. Do you turn the stove off once you reach 88 and cover? The same question for after you reach 100 degrees and let the batch sit covered? Thanks!

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    1. Yes, I just turn the burner off and let it sit.

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  31. Thanks for your recipe. I have always wanted to make my own cheese, if only to say that I could. However, I do worry that I won't like it as well as the cheese I get from the store. Probably because I don't think I would be patient enough to press it and let it age. Coincidentally, do you know how long cheddar should be aged if pressed? http://mrdairy.com/cheese-products.html

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  32. Living in Vegas, we have no raw milk of any kind. I've successfully used store bought for mozzarella. Any chance it will work for your recipe?

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  33. Sorry, this went to my "junk" box, so I'm just seeing it now. Storebought milk should work just fine.

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  34. It's been a while, so not sure if you will get this, but I accidently put in twice as much of the starter than your recipe called for (forgot I was halving the recipe! oops!). Anyway, will that ruin my cheese? Is there a way to counteract it by adding more of something else? Thanks!

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  35. I might taste a little stronger than usual, but I think it should work. Let me know how it turns out!

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  36. Can you use liquid rennet or does it have to be tablet?

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    Replies
    1. I've never used liquid, but I don't see why not!

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  37. I have liquid animal Dennett that calls for 1/2 tsp for 2 gallons...so for 3 gallons I will use 3/4 tsp. Correct?

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