O.k. I won't keep you in suspense ANY longer! After four months of keeping my cheese at a cool 54ºF and checking it every so often, it was time to.....cut the cheese.
Loud laughter erupts from the other room. Sorry folks, I've got boys. The above picture does NOT come to mind when someone says, "cut the cheese." Oh boy.
I was very nervous. Giddy. Excited. Worried.
Those of you who bake bread can relate to this feeling. You put all the time, effort, and love into your bread dough, lovingly shaping it and patiently waiting while it baked, basking in the oven dispersed aromas....As you patiently (or not) wait for the bread to cool and gingerly cut into the bread and....
the bread is heavy. Dense. You can't save it or fix it. What's done is done. Might as well toss it to the birds.
Anyway, back to the cheese. I was afraid that this would be rock hard and difficult to cut. It wasn't. The knife sliced through easily.
I cut of some slices and gingerly bit into it. Hmmmmm....it is cheese! A wee bit drier than cheddar, but not like a Parmesan. I wonder if it is because I cut the recipe in half, but did not cut the weights used in half, which pushed out more whey and resulted in a drier cheese. It tasted like a very, very mild cheese. It was good!
I waxed the cut end of the larger piece and put it back in the fridge to age a little longer. I like a sharp, white cheddar, as used in my Mac N Cheese, Smashed Potatoes and Cheese Ball. Sharp cheeses take at least 10 months or more to age, producing a more tangy, complex flavor.
Would I do this again? Definitely. In fact, I would like to make a Montery Jack or even a Colby cheese.
Psssttt....I do have some Parmesan Cheese aging as we speak...won't be ready for six months....can't wait!
Was it difficult to make? If you purchase the kit and have the right tools, no. The instructions were a little confusing, so I have posted the step-by-step tutorial, with pictures at the end of the post.
So, if you love cheese and have always wanted to learn how to make it, go to New England CheeseMaking Supply Co.
Farmhouse Cheddar Cheese (printable recipe)