Thursday, November 8, 2012

How American Cheddar Cheese is Made

From "Woman's Institute Library of Cookery, Vol. 2"
Since American Cheddar cheese is the kind that is commonly used in this country, the way in which it is made will be well to know. The milk used for this kind of cheese is first inspected as to cleanliness and the extent of fermentation it has undergone, and when these points are ascertained, it is ripened; that is, allowed to sour to a certain degree of acidity.

At this stage, coloring matter is added, after which the milk is prepared for setting by bringing it to a certain temperature. With the temperature at the right point, rennet is added to coagulate the milk, or form the curd. The milk is then allowed to remain undisturbed until the action of the rennet is at a certain point, when the curd is cut into little cube-shaped pieces by drawing two sets of knives through it and thus is separated from the whey.

As soon as the curd is cut, the temperature of the mass is raised to help make the curd firm and to cause the little cubes to retain their firmness, and during the entire heating process the whole mass is stirred constantly to assist in the separation from the whey. When the curd is sufficiently firm, the whey is removed and the particles of curd are allowed to adhere and form into a solid mass. If necessary, the curd is cut again into small pieces to get rid of the excess whey; but if the curd is too dry, the pieces must be piled up until they are four or five deep.

During this process, which is known as the cheddaring of the cheese, the curd is treated until it is of the proper texture to be milled, that is, put into a mill and ground into small pieces. The object of milling the curd is to cut it into pieces small enough to permit of uniform salting and the further escape of whey. When the curd has been brought to this point, it is salted and then pressed into molds.

Finally, it is wrapped and cured, or ripened.