May 31, 2008

Stirred-Curd Cheddar

A couple of weeks ago I decided it was time to try another Cheddar. This time I opted for Ricki Carroll's Stirred-Curd Cheddar recipe. It is still a bit of a cheddar shortcut, but a little more involved than the Farmhouse Beach House Cheddar, since you do need to "cook" the curds for about an hour (stirring every few minutes to keep them from sticking together). However, I think it differs from a traditional cheddar in that you keep the curds separate while cooking (cheddaring?) them, rather then draining them and them cutting the block of drained curds into strips.

This cheese also needs to be waxed before aging. I used my smaller press hoop to create a taller cheese--then cut it in half before waxing. This way I ended up with two one-pound wheels. I plan on aging one for two months, and the other a bit longer to see how it develops.

2 Gallons Trader Joe's Organic Whole Milk
1 Packet direct-set Mesophilic starter
1/2 tsp. Double-Strength Vegetarian Rennet

2 tbs Flake Salt

May 28, 2008


Haloumi, my second hard cheese, is originally from Cyprus. It is traditionally made with sheep's or goat's milk, but can also be made with cow's milk.

The interesting part about Haloumi is that you press the cheese for several hours, and then essentially pasteurize the cheese in its own whey. After pressing into a hard block, I cut the wheel into four wedges, then cooked them in the whey at 190 degrees for an hour.

After giving it a couple of hours to dry, it is then soaked in a brine solution (two pounds salt per gallon of water... insanely salty!). I added a little bit of the whey back into the brine, to help add some flavor, and then started aging the cheese.

Haloumi has a very high melting point, so it's great for cooking at high temperatures (perhaps Saganaki?). It's best sliced thin and then pan-fried... Or just thrown on the grill!

Wikipedia Entry on Haloumi