How To Make Sharp Cheddar Cheese

It may have been originated from England but cheddar cheese is already a worldwide hit. There’s no doubt about that since cheddar cheese comprises more than half of United Kingdom’s cheese market. There are also many varieties of cheddar cheese and each has a distinct flavor. Two of the major varieties of cheddar cheeses are the sharp and mild. This refers to the flavor, which means that the sharper the cheese is, the more complex its flavor becomes.

Turning the usual cheddar cheese into a sharp variety is easy but is never fast. What makes cheddar cheese sharper is its aging. As a rule, a cheddar cheese becomes sharp if it’s already at least six months old. Extra-sharp cheddar cheeses are up to two years old. Below are the steps on how to make a sharp cheddar cheese:

  • Warm a gallon of full cream milk. Put this in a double broiler and make it warm to about 90F.
  • Add an ounce of mesophilic starter culture. This ingredient will make the milk turn into cheese. Whisk the starter culture thoroughly with the milk. It has to be evenly distributed. Let the full cream milk to ripen for about an hour.
  • Prepare a quarter tab of rennet. Do this by adding about four tablespoons of cool water into the rennet. Stir the mixture until the latter is completely dissolved. Pour this mixture into the full cream milk. Constantly whisk the mixture for about five minutes.
  • Leave the milk to set for about two hours. A firm curd will set, which means you can already make clean cuts on it. A long and sharp knife should be used for cutting the curds into quarter inch of cubes. Let the curds to set for about 15 minutes.
  • Slowly raise the temperature to 102F. This will take about 45 minutes. Just bear with gentle and continuous stirring. Doing so will prevent matting together of the curds. Once the 102F is achieved, continue cooking the milk for 45 minutes. Keep stirring the curds in between minutes during the whole 45-minute duration.
  • Line a cheesecloth on the colander. Drain the curds using that. Do this as quickly as possible to prevent matting of curds. Bring the curds back to the boiler, which is set to 102F.
  • Separate matted curds. Add about a tablespoon of salt and then stir this into the curds. Cook the salted curd for another hour. Stir the mixture occasionally within the hour.
  • Put the curds into a mold lined with cheesecloth. Press the curds using 20 pounds of weight. Keep it for about 45 minutes. Remove the weight and then flip the curds. Press again but now with 40 pounds of weight for three hours. Flip the curds again and this time with 50 pounds of weight. Keep it on for 24 hours.
  • Remove the press and then place the cheese on a cheese board. Let it dry on that for three to five days at room temperature.

Once dry, wax the cheese and keep it in the refrigerator for three to 24 months. Flip the cheese after every few days. The longer it is stored, the sharper it gets.

The longer the cheese lasts, the more bacteria is produced, which also means there are more bacteria to break down the cheese proteins and fats. This process is the reason why the sharp cheddar cheese develops its nutty and beefy flavor.


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