I made a cheddar on Sunday from my gallon of raw milk- my fourth cheddar, and second stirred-curd cheddar. I also made a whey ricotta from the leftover whey- it yielded about a cup of a dry-textured, incredibly delicious ricotta. I'm using Ricki Carroll's recipes here.
Stirred-curd cheddar is not a true cheddar. To cook these curds, they are stirred for a half-hour over low heat (100 F). Traditional cheddars require the curds being sliced into strips and air-dried, and I haven't figured out the set-up yet. I'm working my way up to it.
(Sunday's cheddar in its second pressing)
I'm keeping a cheese journal- very important for reproducibility, and to figure out what I did right or wrong when after the cheese is ready to eat, which is usually a couple of months from the make date.
Here's the blow-by-blow of Sunday's cheese:
Stirred-Curd Cheddar, 11/01/09
11:30- Direct-set mesophilic starter added @ 96F, not 90F as in recipe. Pot removed from double boiler and covered.
12:15- Rennet added @ 94F; stirred in up-and-down motion for 4 minutes.
12:50- Curds cut. Pot covered, placed back on DB.
1:05- Heat turned on to lowest setting. Curds allowed to rest with lid on; temp slowly raised to 100F.
1:40- Began 30-minute stirring of curds- water in DB is 110F.
2:10- Stop stirring- curds considerably smaller.
2:25- Curds drained, whey retained for ricotta. 1 tbsp kosher salt added to curds. Pot covered on DB, with heat on low to keep curds at 100F. Stirred with hands every 5 minutes. Heat turned on and off with every third stir.
3:25- Curds resemble a very large curd cottage cheese sans cream. They are pebbly and a little grainy.
3:30- Curds spooned into cheesecloth-lined mold and put under press with 10 lbs.
4:05- Cheese removed from mold, turned over and re-wrapped, returned to mold. 20 lbs. Cheese was turned about a half-hour later than recipe instructions.
9:15- Cheese removed from mold, re-wrapped and turned a final time, returned to mold. 30 lbs.
After the last pressing, the cheese is removed from the mold in 24 hours, then air-dried for a few days at room temperature. Then, it gets waxed- in my case, with beeswax.
Whey Ricotta, from a little more than 1/2 gallon of leftover whey-Brought whey to a near-boil. Added two glugs of cider vinegar; whey precipitated immediately. Added a little salt after draining and cooling. Dry, crumbly texture.