ALL ABOUT CHEDDAR CHEESE
Since its humble beginnings in Cheddar, a 12th-century English village, cheddar cheese has become a beloved household staple. Our collective love for cheese has grown exponentially in the past ten years. An average American consumes more than 40 lbs of cheese each year.
Although cheddar cheese is still a family favorite, many cheese lovers still need to learn what makes it unique. What is the difference between sharp Cheddar and Cheddar? Is cheddar cheese supposed to be white or orange? We’ll answer these questions as we discuss cheddar cheese, its manufacturing process, and how to use it to enhance your dishes.
What is CHEDDAR CHEESE?
Cheddar cheese can be used in a variety of ways. It can enhance hamburgers or sandwiches, add flavor and depth to homecooked meals, and many other recipes. You can enjoy the familiar taste of home with a creamy yellow cheese spread or a deliciously crumbly aged wedge.
Cheddar cheese is a complex, natural cheese made from cow’s milk. How it is made and the time it has been cured will affect its taste and texture.
If you are a foodie, you will likely have had your fair share of cheese trays, cheese-topped pasta, and dips. These familiar dishes are easy to make, but it depends on the cheddar cheese you use. How long cheddar cheese has been aged will determine its texture and malleability. The cheese becomes crumbly if it is properly cured. If the cheese is not aged enough, it will become smooth.
It was the ideal form of cheddar cheese, and it was decided by Joseph Harding in the middle of the 19th century. He is known as the father of cheddar cheese. He is credited with inventing the best method to produce cheddar cheese.
Harding says the ideal cheddar cheese should have a closed texture and a soft, melty flavor. Harding also described its rich, full-flavored flavor as a hazelnut.
As cheddar cheese matures, its taste becomes sharper. Most mass-produced cheddar cheeses are aged between 9 and 24 months. Older cheeses, however, are highly valued. Only the best cheeses can withstand slow aging over multiple decades. This is why the 21-year-old aged Cheddar we have selected is so rare. You know what they say: the more cheese you have, the better.
Most likely, you have seen a variety of cheddar cheeses, from light to dark orange. Cheddar cheese can’t come in different colors because it is made only from white cow’s milk. Cheddar cheese can be found in its original state depending on the cow’s diet. It is either off-white or pale yellow. You may sometimes see vibrant orange because of “annatto,” a food coloring made from an achiote plant’s seeds.
Many cheddar kinds of cheese are available, whether you like white or yellow, young or old. Each one has its unique taste and quality.
HOW IS CHEDDAR CHEESE MADE
The Latin word “cases” means “to ferment or become sour.” This is how the phrase cheese was derived. This refers directly to cheese-making. While all cheeses can be made the same way, cheddar cheese is created using a few extra steps. This process takes longer and requires more attention to detail to achieve the distinctive cheddar flavor and texture.
HEAT AND ACIDIFY MILK
The cheddar recipe begins with heating the milk. The milk is heated slowly to 88 degrees at high heat. The cheesemaker constantly stirs the milk to ensure the temperature doesn’t rise too fast.
Cheddar cheese, unlike other cheeses, is made from cow’s milk. Different cheesemakers may have different preferences for pasteurized and unpasteurized milk. Unpasteurized milk contains bacteria, which enhances the cheese’s flavor. No matter which option you choose, cheddar cheese should have a rich flavor that is sweeter than bitter.
Cultures are added to the milk once it reaches the correct temperature. Mesophilic cultures are used to make cheddar cheese. These cultures help to develop the necessary bacteria in milk, which results in a richer and more mature taste. They absorb lactose and convert it to lactic acid.
MILK CURDLE AND COOK THE CURDS
Curdling is the key to the creamy texture we love and know. To curdle the naturally occurring protein in milk, rennet is added. This enzyme separates solids from liquids. The solid curds are formed when the watery whey is removed.
The curds then heat to a higher temperature, releasing excess whey and melting together, creating the first signs that cheese is formed.
CHEDDAR THE CHEESE
After heating the curds and draining any whey, they can be cut and stacked. This is when other types are pressed together in molds to make blocks. Cheddar cheese is given the perfect flavor and texture by adding an extra step.
The most crucial part of cheddar cheese production is the cheddaring of the curds. The cheesemaker makes large slabs of curds, which are then stacked together and flipped several dozen times. The Cheddar becomes dense as the cheesemaker converts it, and the Cheddar releases more whey.
MILL AND SALT THE CHEESE
Finally, the cheese can be cut into small cubes. A mill is used for mass production to cut the small loaf of Cheddar into pieces. To prevent the curds from clumping together, they are constantly stirred.
The cheese is then seasoned and pressed into molds to drain excess moisture and allow it to age appropriately.
AGE THE CHEESE TILL PERFECTION
Cheddar cheese needs at least three to six months to mature. The longer it ages, however, the better it tastes. Most cheddar varieties on the shelves can be found in stores for up to two years before they make their way into your home.
You can find out more about how cheese is made.