Monday, February 11, 2008

From Cheese Curds to Cheddar Blocks

Ever wonder how Cheddar is made? The first Cheddar is believed to be produced in England sometime around the turn of the 12th century. However, the history here at Golden Age Cheese does not quite date back that far... We have produced many varieties of Cheddar since 1983. The Cheddar process is fairly long but simple.

Once all necessary steps in the cheese-making (Cheddar in this case) process have been taken in order to convert the milk into cheese, you are left with large solid slabs known as "matted curds". Next the matted curds (large solid slab) will be milled to create smaller Cheddar nuggets; these smaller nuggets are now known as Cheddar cheese curds. The Cheddar cheese curds are then salted and shoveled into Cheddar molds. These molds are then put into a press which forces out all of the remaining whey (liquids) and causes the warm curds to form into a single block of cheddar. Typically 41-43 pounds of curds are shoveled into a Cheddar mold. The curds are pressed in the mold for typically 1-3 days. After the curds have been pressed there is one 38-40 pound block of Cheddar. The Cheddar making process is then complete. The finished product (for up to 6 months) is known as "mild Cheddar", the terms: "medium", "sharp" and "extra sharp" come later once the block of Cheddar has been set to age. The longer the cheese has been set to age the "sharper" the flavor of the Cheddar.

Cheddar curds shoveled into the Cheddar mold:

Cheddar curds are being pressed into Cheddar

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