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 8, 2011

Sage Darby

We have a great crop of sage in the herb garden - in the next couple of weeks I will use it to make a great pepper and sage Darby

Base recipe
Derby Cheese
This cheese, pronounced "Darby" originated in the country of Derbyshire, England. It is similar to cheddar but has higher moisture content and ages more quickly.

I made this cheese last winter and we enjoyed it but it wasn't spectacular. In fact, most of my cheese was good, but not spectacular. This year, I started using my clabber/buttermilk in place of mesophilic starter culture. This cheese went from mediocre to great. In fact, since I am terrible at letting cheese age, I tested it at two weeks and it was really good. I can't wait to see what it tastes like with a little age on it. Well, that's assuming I can actually get some age on wheel before eating it all! 


  • Preparation time: 4 Hours
  • Pressing Time: 26 Hours
  • Aging Time: 1-2 Months
  • Makes 4 pounds

  • 4 gallons of whole milk
  • 2 cubes or 1/4 c mesophilic starter culture (I use buttermilk/clabber)
  • 1/2 tablet rennet, dissolved in 1/2 cup cool water
  • 1/4 cup salt

  • Heat milk to 84 degrees F. Add starter culture, mixing well. Cover and let ripen 30 minutes.
  • Add dissolved rennet, stirring well. cover and let sit 45 minutes.
  • Cut the curd into 1/2" cubes.
  • Heat slowly to 94 degrees, stirring the curds by hand. This should take 30 minutes.
  • Let the curds settle for 30 minutes.
  • Drain the whey and allow curds to sit in colander for 30 minutes.
  • Cut into four slabs. Stack slabs on top of each other, reversing their order every 20 minutes for one hour.
  • Tear slabs into pea sized pieces. Sprinkle 1/4 cup salt over curds. Mix well.
  • Pack curds into a cheesecloth lined mold.
  • Apply 10 pounds pressure for one hour. Flip and repack. Apply 10 pounds pressure for one hour. Flip and repack. Apply 50 pounds pressure for 24 hours.
  • Air dry cheese on a mat for several days until dry to the touch. Turn twice a day.
  • Wax cheese and age it for 1-2 months at 50-55 degrees turning it twice a week.

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