Once you have had a great cheddar the flavor and texture are unforgettable. If you have only had factory produced cheddar you are really missing out on the spectrum of flavor offered by this famous English cheese. English Farmhouse Cheddar is traditionally made from early May through October from the milk of shorthorn cows but I think you will find making it with goat milk extremely rewarding.
From the artisan's standpoint there are two types of cheddar, farmhouse and stirred curd. Farmhouse cheddar typically has a milled curd where the curd is cut into slabs, stacked and flipped in order to allow the acidity build up. A stirred curd cheddar is made to save the labor involved with milling the curd. Either method, when done right, will yield excellent results. Cheddaring builds up acidity and also orients the direction of the strands of molecules in the cheese. The combination of a lower pH and salting the individual curds is what gives this cheese its classic cheddar flavor. While I generally make both types throughout the year, I prefer the farmhouse method. It just seems to fit my cheese making rhythm better.
Warm 4 gallons of fresh goat milk to 86F
Sprinkle 1/2 tsp of MA4001 DVI culture onto the surface of the milk, allow it to rehydrate a few minutes then incorporate it into the milk
Cover and ripen 45 minutes
Optional- if a yellow cheese is desired dilute 1/8tsp annatto in 1/4 cup of cool water and add it to the cultured milk.
Dilute 1 teaspoon of rennet in 1/2 cup of cool water add it to the cheese milk, stir well
Maintain temperature for 40 minutes until clean break is achieved
Cut curd to 1/4 inch, rest 10 minutes
Stir curd with a large whisk while raising the temperature to 102F over 40 minutes, let curds settle
Hold at 102F for 30 minutes, stir curds to prevent matting
Hold at 102F, allow curds to settle to bottom of the pot 20 minutes.
Drain the curds into a colander. Reserve 1/3 of the whey and pour back into the cheese pot. Set colander of curds on the top of the cheese pot. Insert a thermometer into the curd. Maintain temp of 102F with the warmth of the whey. Cover with clean muslin and put the lid on the pot. Use minimal heat under the pot as needed to maintain temperature.
Allow curds to drain for 60 minutes, flip the curd mat every 20 minutes and re-cover with cloth and lid.
Cut the cheese slab into 1 inch curds with a sharp knife or pastry cutter. Add 2 tablespoons of course salt.
Press at 20lb for 30 min.
Invert and Press at 30lb for 30 min.
Invert and Press at 40lb for 1 hour
Invert and Press at 50lb for 12-15 hour.
Remove cheese from the press, place on a wooden board and allow to dry at room temperature for a few days. Flip the cheese daily to promote even drying.
There are many ways to prepare this cheese for aging. You can wax it, seal it with a food sealer but cloth banding is the traditional method. To make the cloth bandage coat the cheese with butter or lard then wrap the cheese carefully with cheese cloth. Repeat the process until you have three layers of butter or lard coated cloth.
Age at 55F and 80-85% humidity 3-6 months or longer. The longer you age it the better the flavor. The longest I have been able to hold out so far is three years, it was crumbly and sharp, the best cheddar ever!