If you're ready to get started making hard cheeses, this is a great place to start. This cheddar comes out great, and can be tweaked a little to make a horseradish flavored cheddar cheese. Horseradish is one of the world's most underrated condiments. After unwaxing and giving this a taste, you'll taste that it's delicious. UNBELIEVABLE is the only way to describe it. Here's how I made it. If you want to make regular cheddar just ignore step 7.
Mesophilic Cheese Starter Culture
Liquid Rennet (Vegetable or Animal)
Cheese Making Mold
Cheese Making Draining Mat
Cheese Making Thermometers
Horseradish or Other Additives
First, as always, make sure your pot, spoon, and everything you'll be using are sterilized. I can't stress this enough. Add 2 gallons of WHOLE milk (never ultra pasteurized for any cheese) and SLOWLY heat it up to 90 degrees. Add 1/2 teaspoons of mesophilic starter and stir for a minute. Turn off the burner, cover the pot, and leave it there for 45 -60 minutes.
Add 1/2 teaspoon of liquid rennet diluted in a little bit of water. Stir for about a minute, then cover and leave until the milk gives a clean break (usually about 60 - 90 minutes).
Cut the milk into 1/2 inch cubes and leave for about 15 minutes.
OK, this is the hardest part when you begin making hard cheese. You have to heat up the curds (which should have cooled down a bit) up to 100 degrees VERY slowly. Fill up your sink with water that is about 105 - 110 degrees. Carefully put your pot of curds into the sink. This will heat up the curds much slower than the burner. You want this to take about 30 minutes so you'll have to monitor the temperature of both your curds and water in the sink (I set up 2 thermometers for this). Stir gently every couple of minutes to keep the curds from matting.
Once your curds reach 100 degrees, keep them at temperature for another 30 minutes, stirring every once in a while to keep them separated. Again, this is tricky so if the temperature fluctuates a little don't stress out. After 30 minutes let it sit for 5 minutes.
Carefully drain off the whey by placing the curds in a colander and place them back into the pot. Add 2 tablespoons of kosher salt to the curds and stir them with your (hopefully clean) fingers.
If you want regular cheddar, skip this step. If you want some knock-your-knocks-off horseradish cheddar, pour a small container of horseradish sauce into the curds and gently mixed with your fingers. We've also added jalapeño chiles here for good results too, and are working on a buffalo cheddar at the moment.
Carefully put the pot of curds back into the sink of hot water (100-105 degrees now) and keep them at 100 degrees for an hour, stirring every 5 minutes to keep them separated. Place a weight on top of the pot to keep it from floating around.
After an hour, gently pour the curds into a mold lined with cheese cloth and press at 20 pounds of pressure for about 15 minutes.
Carefully, and I mean carefully, undress curds, flip them over, and press them again at 30 pounds of pressure for 15 minutes. Do this again at 40 pounds of pressure for 2 hours, and finally at 50 pounds of pressure for 20-24 hours.
This is the final part but it's pretty important. Let it air dry for 2-3 days until it is dry when you touch it. DO NOT let it dry in a room that is too hot or dry, or else you'll get cracks in the cheese and all that work is going to be for nothing.
Once it's dry, wax it and let it age 3 - 7 months at 50 - 55 degrees. Many cheese makers will just put it in a little wine fridge or a cool place if you have one.