Making Cheddar Cheese
Cheddar can be made in several different ways to give each cheese its own unique characteristics.
- To begin, starter culture is added to the milk and set by adding rennet.
- The coagulated milk (curd) is cut into small particles, and then vigorously stirred for 2-2.5 hours, while heated. This process releases as much moisture as possible and ensures that the curd is firm. The next steps will influence the taste and texture of the cheese and give the Cheddar style its own special characteristics.
This process presses more whey out of the cheese by stacking blocks of curd on top of each other as if building a wall. The blocks knit together, and then are re-stacked until the cheese becomes quite acidified and stringy in texture. It is then cut into chips (milled), salted and pressed into hoops.
Colby Style or Stirred Curd
The process begins as Cheddar but the curds are prevented from knitting together (cheddaring). The curds may be washed with water (Colby) or just stirred (stirred curd).
The stirred curd style of cheddar-making creates an open texture instead of the close texture through traditional cheddaring. The stirred curd is then salted, and pressed into hoops. At this stage, as much moisture as possible is removed, usually overnight, by mechanical pressing.
Left to dry, the cheese is wrapped in cloth or packed in a vacuum-sealed bag, then stored in temperature controlled rooms to mature.
Created by blending one or more cheddars or other types of cheeses. Club Cheddar often contains peppercorns, herbs or sun-dried tomatoes to enhance its flavour and appearance.
A mild, smooth cheese, Processed Cheddar is a blend of cheddar pasteurised at very high temperatures to prevent further ripening and give it an extended shelf life. Available as a block, sliced, in wedges or as a spread, it is a great favourite with children.