Adventures in Cheesmaking

This all started out as a curiosity. Like most stuff we eat there is a rich history behind it. Centuries of experimentation. Cheese is just another example.

From the horse back tribes of the Asian Steppes to the Silk Road camel caravans to Romans Legions to European Monks to today, milk was a great source of nutrition but spoiled quickly and was heavy to transport.

The answer was cheese.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Farmhouse Cheddar with pink peppercorns and paprika

Waxed and ready for the Christmas table in a few months

The classical farmhouse cheddar was made in a kettle oven an open fire - that will be a project for another day. Today its all about getting ready for Christmas. I want to make several cheeses that will look good together on a platter and be ready at the same time and easy and interesting for the Christmas group to enjoy.
You can see the veins of paprika - more inside 

The first will be this colorful (I hope) Farmhouse Cheddar with Pink Peppercorns and Paprika Swirls all coated in red wax - should look great as a wedge on the cheese plate and will go well with a peppery Pinot.


1 gallon full cream organic milk
20 drop calcium chloride solution
1/8 teaspoon Mesophilic Starter
20 drops double strength vegetable rennet


Prepare all ingredients and materials and give it all a spray with vinegar to disinfect
Place 1 tablespoon of Pink Pepper corns in 1 cup of water and simmer for 15 minutes, drain and keep both water and pepper corns separately.

Heat milk to 90 F
Add cooled water from pepper corns
Add calcium chloride dissolved in 1/4 cup water
Add Mesophilic Starter and mature for 45 minutes
Add rennet dissolved in 1/4 cup water
Mix well top to bottom for 3 minutes
Hold at 90 with lid on for 45 minutes until a clean break is obtained
Cut the curds in to 1/2 inch cubes
Mix gently and place in a water bath and raise the temperature 1-2 degrees every 5 minutes with gentle stirring
Allow to settle for 5 minutes
Drain whey and curds into a cheese cloth
Hand for 60 minutes at room temperature to drain
Unwrap and mill to 1/2 pieces
Mix is 1/2 tablespoon flake salt and pink pepprcorns
Crack the curd cake into several large pieces
Add streaks of paprika
Place in cheesecloth and into press form

Press for 10 minutes at 10 lbs
Remove unwrap, flip, re wrap and place back in press for 10 minutes at 20 lbs
Remove unwrap, flip, re wrap and place back in press for 12 hours at 50 lbs
Unwrap and surface dry at 55 F for one week turning each day until a light dry rind has formed
Wax and age at 55 for 60 days minimum, 6 months for a sharper cheese.

Prep and disinfect all ingredients

Add pepper corns 


Cut the curds

Slowly increase temp to 100 in a water bath

Drain for 60 mins

Remove and add to peppercorns and salt

Add paprika

After 12 hours in the press and ready for a week of drying

After a week the cheese is dry and ready to wax

Choose a saucepan where the wax can be dipped 1/2 the cheese height

Use a natural bristle brush to make sure all surfaces are covered

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