Hard Cheese

in Home Preserving

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The title of this post sounds like I’m telling someone to get over it, and while I do have reason to say words to that effect on a regular basis (she said nyah nyah to me!, she wooked at me!), I did literally make hard cheese for the first time this week.

I chose to make Colby, because I heard it was an easy starter cheese, plus it has a relatively short aging period. That meant I would know sooner rather than later whether or not it was a success.

I followed the step-by-step tutorial here, which was very detailed and hand-holding, with good descriptions and explanations.  I find if I have a better grasp of the reasons why to do something, it makes it easier to do things the right way.

I guess I’ll know in a few weeks.

One of the reasons I wanted to make hard cheese is that I’ve built a Dutch-style cheese press, pictured above.  Hard cheeses need to be pressed at incrementally higher weights over a period of time to remove excess moisture. While you can rig up presses with stuff around the house, it’s pretty cool to have a real press. Then once you have a press, you simply must make cheese with it.

Here it is before waxing:

Then after waxing:

I bought the yellow/clear/white cheese wax because the black and the red just seemed so, colorful.  If you’ve seen my wardrobe, you’ve probably suspected I’m either not into color, or I belong to a pretty depressing cult.  But now that I’ve waxed my first round of cheese, I get the color thing. When you put clear wax over creamy white cheese, it’s hard to tell if you’ve missed any spots. And, if you’re dipping cheese into hot (210 deg. F) wax, it’s nice to know at a glance when you’ve reached the level below the tips of your fingers. I didn’t burn myself this time, but I saw with a frisson of fear just how close I came.  Respect the wax.

And I don’t belong to a cult. Unless you count Ravelry.

I’ll be reporting on the progress of the hard cheese making as it comes time to test it.

If it doesn’t turn out, well . . .

Too bad.



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