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5 Say Cheese! Farmhouse Cheddar: Part 2

O.k., folks, are you ready?  Welcome to part 2 of my cheese making journey!  Let's see....where did I leave off?  Oh yeah, "Do Not Disturb" for 12 hours.

Here is the cheese, in its unmolded glory.  If you look carefully, you can see little 'folds' where the cheese cloth left its mark.  Next time, I will make sure I pull on the cheese cloth a little more while packing the curds into the mold.
You put the cheese on a wooden board, in room temperature, and flip it over several times a day.  I kept it in my kitchen and it wasn't hard for me to see it and remember to flip it.
Once the cheese had a couple of days to develop a dry surface or 'rind,' it was time to wax it. 
The kit comes with 1 pound of cheese wax.  Not any ordinary wax will do!  Make sure the wax does not go over 210ºF.
Using a natural bristle brush that I purchased at Home Depot, I brushed on a layer of wax on the top and sides and let it dry for a few minutes.  Make sure there are NO holes in your layer! Then I turned the cheese over and brushed a layer of wax on the bottom.  The recipe encourages a second coat of wax....ahem...I did three layers....just to be sure.
Now my cheese was ready to be aged.  The best place to age cheese is in an area that is 55ºF and around 80% humidity.  I purchased an inexpensive hygrometer (from Home Depot garden area) to measure the humidity in my fridge.  If you need more humidity, place a clean, wet sponge in a small container of water.  Some people have found success in using the vegetable drawer in their fridge.
I made this cheese in September of 2009.  I have to admit that as it was stored in a fridge in my basement, I did not turn it every week.  But I did occasionally check on it, making sure that there wasn't any black mold developing on it and that the humidity was consistent. This cheese was ready after 8 weeks, but I decided to wait until after the holidays and check it at 4 months. 

I could hardly wait!  Can you?  Stay tuned...I promise it won't be 4 months!



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