Farmhouse cheese is a cooked curd cheese with a delicious cheddar-like flavour. It follows a traditional recipe that doesn’t require cheese press or cave for aging. This homemade hard cheese is probably similar to what Laura Ingalls Wilder was making in Little House in the Big Woods.
This recipe assumes some basic cheesemaking knowledge. If you are uncertain about any of the steps check out this post on how to make cheese for more detailed information on ingredients, equipment and techniques.
Aging Farmhouse Cheese
Farmhouse cheese is perfect for experimenting with all the different ways to ripen cheese. The flavour and texture of the cheese will dramatically change depending on how it is aged.
Here are the four different ways to finish homemade hard cheese:
- Fresh farmhouse cheddar will be like quark or cheese curds. Fresh cheese is perfect if you can’t age the cheese.
- Waxing will give the cheese a clean Gouda or Cheddar-like flavour. Waxed cheeses need to be thoroughly air-dried before waxing.
- Washed rind cheeses are brined after pressing. Then they are regularly washed salt water to encourage orange mold to grow on the outside of the cheese. This mold gives the cheese a strong stinky cheese flavour. (See photo above.)
- Bandage wrapping is the easiest way to age hard cheese. It involved coating the cheese in a layer of butter and wrapping it in cheesecloth. The cheesecloth layer will grow mold, flavouring the cheese without any of the added work involved with washed rind cheeses. (See photo below of the mold on a bandaged cheese. The layer of mold comes off cleanly when the bandage is removed.)
See Aging Hard Cheeses for more details on how to wax or bandage hard cheeses, along with information on how to make an aging cave in your home.
Homemade Hard Cheese
Farmhouse cheddar cheese is a basic hard cheese that is perfect for beginners. It doesn’t need any special equipment -see notes to create your own cheese press and cheese cave with items already in your house. Experiment with waxing, bandage wrapping or making a washed rind cheese.
- Prep Time: 30 minutes
- Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
- Total Time: 2 hours
- Yield: 1-2 lbs cheese 1x
- Category: Cheese
- Method: Cheddaring
- Cuisine: British
- 1 gallon whole milk
- 1/2 packet of powdered mesophilic starter or 1/4 cup of cultured buttermilk
- 1/4 tsp of rennet in 2 tbsp filtered water
- 1/4 tsp of calcium chloride in 2 tbsp filtered water (if using homogenized milk)
- 1 tbsp salt (non-iodized)
- Heat milk to 90F (32C).
- Stir in culture and maintain at 90F for 45 minutes.
- Stir in calcium chloride, then add the rennet, mixing thoroughly.
- Maintain at 90F for 45 min and do not stir.
- When the curds show a clean break, cut the curds into 1/2″ cubes.
- Cook the curds by stirring the cut curds every 5 minutes for the next 1/2 hour, slowly raising the temperature to 100F (38C).
- Line a strainer with butter muslin and pour the curds into it. (Save the whey!)
- Hang the curd in the butter muslin and allow to drain for 1 hour.
- After an hour, place the curds into a bowl. Break the curds into small pieces and mix in the salt.
- Pack the curds in to a cheese mold lined with butter muslin. Press at 11 lbs for 10 minutes.
- Remove the cheese, re-wrap it and turn it over, press at 22 lbs for 10 minutes.
- Re-wrap the cheese again and turn over, press at 44 lbs for 12 hours.
- See below for finishing and aging the cheese.
- Sterilization is key to making hard cheese. It’s the only way to ensure that the cheese is cultured with exactly the right strains of mesophilic bacteria.
- Please read up on the detailed processes involved with cheesemaking if you are uncertain about any of the steps in this recipe.
- If you don’t have a cheese press, then make your own using heavy objects from around your house. The cheese won’t be as firm if it isn’t pressed at 44lbs, but you will still get a semi-hard slicing cheese pressing with 11 lbs for the full 12 hours. Just flip twice as directed to evenly press the cheese.
- Don’t throw out your whey! The sweet whey from cultured cheese is very useful. Here’s my favourite ways to use up whey.
- Age farmhouse cheese at around 55 F (13 C) and 75% humidity for 1 to 4 months. Here’s how to make your own cave.
Keywords: simplest, beginner, waxed, washed, bandaged, aged, cheddar, traditional, diy