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Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Cheshire Cheese

More cheese! Like, is there any such thing as enough cheese?

So this time I made a recipe off New England Cheesemaking Supply (more or less used the recipe...). I was scrolling down the list of cheeses and the description for Cheshire started, "This is one of Britain's oldest and finest cheeses and almost lost in history..." I was sold! Who doesn't want to make a cheese that has almost been lost in history?

The first part was the same as any other hard cheese. Ripen, rennet. I think cutting the curd is one of my favorite parts of making cheese. Then you cut it and the curds sink under the whey and it looks like a glassy sea of curd. Or something like that.
The cooking is where things got a little different. They had me cook the curd to a lower temp than normal, and instead of pressing the curd right out of the pot, I strained it, pressed it, then broke it into chunks and continued flipping to help the whey drain. Kind of like cheddaring, but you had to keep the curd warm so I put it in the oven on a warm setting. Not sure if you're supposed to do that, but I'm too impatient and not obsessive enough to babysit it in a waterbath. Some people.
The recipe said to do the first pressing with a cheesecloth. Normally I disregard cheesecloth rules because the curds are too big to go through a colander, but these curds were like a big floppy mess of slop so I thought it would be a good idea. There was a bunch of pressing instructions that I royally abridged. This was the result.
It'll probably work, but see all those cracks and crevices? Those are havens for mold and insects and anything else that likes cheese. I'm hoping that my new plastic baggie system works though.
This is my cheese cave. It's actually just an unplugged (i.e. non-cooling) fridge that we had lying around. Like don't all normal people have an extra fridge or two? It works really good for my purposes though. The cheeses have been in storage for several weeks now and not a sign of mold. They were heavily salted though, so that could be a component. The only thing I'm concerned about at this point is the humidity within the bags. But if I might open the bags and let the cheese 'breath' every few weeks or so. It's scary what a wheel of cheese can literally grow into if it's not cared for or properly prepared for storage. I had one wheel that got left in the basement in a tupperware box. After 6 months it was like a hairy blue mold farm. My mom ordered me to take it out, and I thought, "No problem. I'll just take it out to the dumpster, dump the cheese and use the box for another cheese." Then I went and looked at it... and just threw the whole box away. I probably put on rubber gloves before taking it out, too. That thing was nasty!


  1. Wow! You are amazing! I can't believe you can make all this neat food. Keep it up!
    ~Honour Purity

  2. Thanks! I appreciate you stopping by. :)