Part of the cheesemaking process is allowing the cheese to age. Cheese needs to sit for months, and sometimes years to get those complex flavors and interesting textures. It needs patience combined with weekly check-ins to see how it's developing.
It doesn't need some food blogger opening the cheese cave door every couple of hours to manhandle it and debate whether it would be possible to just eat it right now and not tell anyone what happened. Some cheese ages in peace (other people's cheese) and some cheese is constantly harassed (my cheese).
Suddenly buying cheese that's 2,3, or sometimes 6 years old is mindblowing. Someone waited SIX YEARS before slicing into this cheese? I've been dying for the last four weeks to check out my cheddar, never mind if I had to wait until I was 33 to try it!
We had initially covered our wheels of cheddar with a few layers of cream wax. A few weeks in we tried coating the cheese with some hardwax which we made out of a combination of beeswax and coconut oil to add some flexibility. It was definitely a learning experience: hard waxing cheese does not come naturally to us. In some places there was air visible between the wax and the cheese, and in other places it adhered nicely. We weren't too worried about that though because the cream wax was already creating an air-tight barrier underneath.
The wax cracked in a couple of places after about a week, so next time we are going to try it with proper cheese-wax. Just need to remember to order it online before we get started.
The cheese itself was delicious! My first reaction was "it tastes like cheddar!" which might seem like stating the obvious ("This cake I baked tastes like cake! This muffin is muffin flavored!") but I even though I was aware that we were making cheddar, the fact that we actually succeeded surprised me.
After that initial 'wow' reaction I tried to be a little bit more critical of the cheese so that the next batch will be even better.
The cheese was pressed too thin (needs to be made in a smaller cheese mold) which resulted in the edges getting a bit dry. The center of each slice was still moist and a little creamy, but I want to make it thicker next time to increase that creamy center part. I would also increase the weight that the cheese was pressed by to help get rid of some of the little air holes that were dotted throughout.
Aside from those little changes I was excited that we had made cheddar flavored cheddar and managed to age it as long as we did without it accidentally getting eaten.
I promptly melted a good portion of it in an epic grilled cheese sandwich. So, so worth it.
Tasting Notes for Farmhouse Cheddar:
- Appearance: Orange. Drier texture on the edges, creamier center
- Nose (aroma): Cheesy and Chive
- Overall Taste: Cheddar Flavored! Mild
- Sweet to Salty: salty
- Mild (mellow) to Robust to Pungent (stinky): Mild
- Mouth Feel: (gritty, sandy, chewy, greasy, gummy, etc.): drier, chewier sides. Soft creamy middle