Category Archives: Semi-hard

End of the Year Cheese – December 26, 2017

Today we made a 10 gallon batch of Cheddar and a 3 gallon batch of Jack. I so often make

Cheese wheels with Mo'
Cheddar and Jack wheels

cheddar that I had forgotten how easy Jack is to make.  The Jack recipe takes about half the time and we tossed the curds into the mold and pressed for a few hours and it was done. The Cheddar by comparison took another 4 hours to complete.  We did get 11 lbs. of cheddar from 10 gallons of milk  and 3 lbs. of Jack from the 3 gallon batch.  We added 10 drops of annato per gallon of milk to the cheddar to give it a nice yellow look.  The Jack came out fairly white, but this is raw milk and the cheese will always finish darker than with grocery store milk. The only flaw was that the cheddar seemed to finish a bit dry and some was even cracking a bit.  I probably over-cooked in the later stages of getting the curd to shrink. It will be something to look at in 60 days as the cheddar wheels begin to finish.

Cheddar Curds – October 8th, 2017


I always seem to come back to Cheddar Curds and although I haven’t posted in a while I am still making cheese. The problem usually comes down to time, I never have enough.

So as a time saving measure,  I had a friend of mine create a curd knife to try to cut the curd quicker.  It had limited success as it was a little bit big to turn well in the pot.

My last batch was a 14 lbs batch.  You can see it in the pictures before it I milled the curd.

Curd Knife
Curd Knife

New Dairy – R Patch of Heaven – More Great Cheese

Cheddar Curds Pressing
Cheddar Curds Pressing

There are people who will tell you that cheese can be made from any milk; Goat, Sheep, Cow, Grocery, Pasteurized, Organic or Raw. This is correct, however the milk I have been having great success lately is fresh, raw cow’s milk.  Today’s milk came from a great dairy just outside Eaton, CO. R Patch of Heaven is a organic raw milk dairy where you can get great milk for cheese. John and Joy, from R Patch of Heaven have been dairy farmers for most of their lives and know what good milk is all about. I made Cheddar curds in two batches, one with a little Annatto and one without. It made for some pretty cool looking cheese. Best of all it tasted great.  So if you need milk for every day or for a project, give Patch of Heaven a call.

Epic Cheese Weekend – October 2, 2016

Fresh Burrata cheese
Fresh Burrata cheese

This weekend, I made two new cheese and one old favorite. New for the year were Romano and Burrata. I also stayed up late to make Cheddar after the Bronco game. For those who have followed the Cheddar recipe before, you know that particular recipe takes 8 hours.

Wheel of Romano drying.

I have also decided that I should redesign the blog and put Recipes and Makes directions in a separate area and save the homepage for shorter posts pointing to the current recipe. I’m hoping this will make posting easier for me. It should also make things easy to find. The homepage is sort of a mess at this point.

Garlic Montasio – September 5th, 2016

Montasio is a cheese that has been around since the 13th century. It was traditionally made by monks living in the Moggio abbey, located at the top of the Carnic Alps. My recipe comes from Kent Walker Cheese in  Little Rock, AR. I first made this recipe more than a year ago, when I was a real newbie and had a hard time making a decent cheese. Today’s make came out perfectly, at least from the first reviews. Lets take a look at the recipe.

Original Ingredients List :
Cow Milk
2:1 Thermo/Meso Culture
Garlic Cloves
Actual Ingredients List :
2 Gallon non-homogenized, 1 Gallon grocery store Cow Milk
1/16 tsp per gallon Mesophilic type II = 3/16 tsp
1/16 tsp per gallon TA61 Thermophilic  = 3/16 tsp
1 tsp Rennet
3 tsp minced store bought garlic
  • Heat milk to 70° add culture
  • Let culture set for 2-5 mins before mixing, mix in up and down motion, don’t stir.
  • Continue heating – Heat to 88°  should take 30-45 minutes.
  • Add rennet 1 tsp for the 3 gallons
  • Let rest for 60-75 mins,  with 1 gallon of grocery milk we waited 75 mins.
  • Cut curd to 1/4″
  • Heat to 102° stir for an hour,  heating took a little over 30 mins and stirred for 30 minutes more
  • Heat a pot of distilled water to 140°
  • Drain off 1/3 of the whey
  • Scald curd to 110° by adding heated water
  • Stir for 10 additional mins at 110°
  • Drain off most of the whey, its ok if there is a little left in the pot
  • Mix in the garlic breaking up the curds as you go to get a good mix
  • This will cause additional whey to be expelled, drain it off
  • Press curds into a mold
  • Press over night. If 8 lbs wheel press at 65lbs
  • Start with 8-10 lbs for first half hour
  • Double the weight for next hour, flip
  • We got up to 42 lbs. and left overnight
  • Soak in brine for 12-24 hours
  • We went for 15-16, it was a long day
  • Age 2-36 months
  • Coat in olive oil as needed to prevent mold

Update: Oct 1,2016 – I cut the wheel in half and Vacuum Sealed after testing it. The cheese had very little flavor but a great texture and creaminess to it. It might need more garlic next time or it might just need time. We will see.

Welcome to the Fair, July 27th-August 1st

It has been a great week at the Weld County fair making cheese for everyone to try.  Our booth was set up as a demonstration of what cheeses you can make at home.

fair booth
fair booth

The fair board is evaluating if Cheese should be a competition sport.  We had lots of interest in taking classes and making cheese.

This week we made:

Wednesday: Cheddar Curds – Cow Milk
Thursday: Asiago Pepato – Cow Milk
Friday: Manchago – Sheep Milk
Saturday: Ibores – Goat Milk
Sunday: Gruyere – Cow Milk

This week we ate:

  • Ibores – Goat
  • Chevre – Goat
  • Manchego – Sheep
  • Cheddar – Cow
  • Belper Knolle – Cow
  • Feta – Cow

July 9th – Stirred Curd Recipe AKA Cheddar Curds

Another batch of amazing milk from WiMo Farms and I used all 7 gallons for Cheddar. I am able to split the milk into 2 3.5 gallon batches and just combine the curd at the end to finish the process.

I have now chosen to make this recipe several times and under many conditions, so this is the first recipe I will add to a recipe section of this site.

Curd blocks as I waited for the PH

One of the things that always bothers me about the process is that there are hundreds of places to make mistakes.  If there is some way to fake till you make, I want that short cut.  This recipe has that built in.  It is precise PH readings that we are waiting  to reach. Once the step of curd blocks has been reached, you just keep flipping until the PH reaches 5.4, then you stop.

Cut the curd into french fries to salt

Cheddar is a process not a type of cheese. Again this recipe lends itself to success by salting after the correct PH has been reached.

Just out of the press
1 lbs and a 2 lbs wheel of cheddar.

Everyone struggles with making a good looking wheel.  At first I thought it was just me. Afterall, I am new to cheese making and there must be a secret I’m missing. Over time I have come to the conclusion that everyone struggles, but that a good mold and some practice and most of us can come out with a decent looking wheel.

Happy 4th of July

Most of you probably spent the day doing something other than making cheese, but that is the way I started mine.  I have 10 gallons of fresh raw cow’s milk so we need to make cheese.

Getting the milk ready.
Getting the milk ready.

Today, I am going to make a quick batch of Swiss. We will use the same recipe as before.

2.5 gallons whole milk
1/8 tsp MA4002 mesophilic culture
1/8 tsp propionic shimano
1 tsp Rennet

-Heat to 84
-Add Culture, rehydrate for 5 mins, mix for 1minute.
-Set for 45 mins at 84 – ph 6.07
-Add Rennet – mix for 2 mins – ph 6.13
-Set for 45 mins at 84
-Wait for clean break
-Cut 3/8 in cuts
-Rest for 5 mins
-Stir for 5 mins
-Rest for 5 more mins
-Remove 1/3 of the whey
-Replace with 130 water over 5 mins to bring the whey up to 95 while stirring
-Then just stir for 5 mins
-Add more hot water to bring up to 102 over 5-10 mins.
-Cook at 102 for 30-40 mins(I did 35 mins) – ph 6.28
-Drain whey down to 1 inch above curd
-I add a dinner plate on top of curd
-Add a 1/3, water filled, milk jug to weigh it down and begin press. for 15 mins
-Then press curds into a mold – iI used their own weight for 15 mins
-Flip curd use 10 lbs for 30 mins, Flip curd again use 10 lbs for 30 mins
-Flip curd use 20 lbs for total time of 5 hours
-Then rest the curd in the mold with no weight.

The best part of Swiss is the aging process. 2 weeks cold age in the cheese cave. 3 weeks  warm age at room temp. anywhere from 68-80, at this point I wax it for 9 days to get the best bulge and eye development. Un-wax, wash well with brine and eat! Or seal-a-meal it and age as desired.  The period of warm aging is the most time consuming.  It will require that you wash with brine every day, you can skip a day but it get messy.

  • cold age july 5-18
  • warm age july 18-

A tale of two cultures – Havarti/Takelma -April 9

Many of the cheeses I have made involve adding two cultures, Swiss and Jarlsberg, Manchego, to name a few, however, I haven’t made many that require 2 mesophilic cultures. I started reading Mastering Artisan Cheesemaking some time ago and I am fascinated by many of the recipes.  They are more about technique than about the name on the cheese.

Today I made “same temperature, light brine, washed cheese” p260, it most closely resembles Havarti or St. Paulin.

cheese fresh from the brine.
cheese fresh from the brine.

The creamery also created a name for the cheese they were making, Takelma after native Americans close to where they make cheese.

This was also a chance to try out my new cheese mold that has a built in cheesecloth. I ordered the new mold from Amazon using Christmas cash.

Mold with follower and attached cheese cloth.
Mold with follower and attached cheese cloth.

I love it when Christmas extends all the way to April. The mold is super sturdy, easy to use, easy to clean. Wish I had a couple.


  • 2 Gallons Whole milk
  • 1/8 tsp. MM100 Mesophilic
  • 1/16 tsp. C61 Mesophilic (Called for LM)
  • 1/4 tsp. rennet
  • 1/2 tsp. Calcium Chloride


cheese curds in the mold
cheese curds in the mold
  • Heat milk to 79°  – mix in cultures, let sit for 5 minutes,
  • Stir for 2 minutes – Up and down motion, not stirring motion. (PH was 6.34)
  • Continue to Heat to 89°
  • Stir in Calcium Chloride for 1 minute – let rest for 5 before proceeding
  • Add Rennet for 1 minute, goal time is 45 minutes
  • wait for clean break, cut 1/4inch cubes slowly…over 20 minutes
  • Let rest for 15mins.
  • Heat 1 gallon of water to 89°  –
  • Drain off 1 gallon of whey, slowly add water and 1 teaspoon of salt while stirring
  • Stir and heat to 100°  –  over a 30 minute period
  • Press under whey for 10-15 minutes ( I put a plate on top of the curd and placed a half filled milk jug on top)
  • Drain whey and place into mold – pressed with 4 lbs for 15 mins.(Probably should have been 2 lbs.)
  • Flip curd for 30 and double the weight
  • Flip for an hour, flip for 8 hours
  • Brine for 2-3 hours per pound( I went for 4 hours total)
  • Pat dry and put in frig.
  • 2-3 months aging. Can be washed or waxed.

Note: When I began to age this cheese, I placed it into the wine frig and wiped it daily with a brine solution. After just a few days the top started to look dry and cracked, so I flipped it washed it in brine. Then the other side started to look the same, until I placed it in tupperware and the cheese is looking great.  I also put 4 drops of Annatto into a cup and half of brine and used it to wipe down the cheese daily.  It is aging as well as anything I have had in the frig. Higher humidity may be the answer, but if you can’t keep up the humidity, tupperware is the answer.

Annatto Brine rub
Annatto Brine rub

Sharp End of the Cheddar – March 19, 2016

I was going through some recipes a friend gave me and came across; “How to make sharp cheddar cheese“, by Ally Heers. Just last week I received two Mesophilic cultures: MM100 and C61 Meso type II, so decided to make this recipe with each culture. Making two cheeses at once keeps you on your toes to make sure the temps are always correct.  Below you will find the tweaked recipe and the things I did to make both of the cheeses.

  • 1 gallon of whole milk (2 gallons Safeway and Lucerne milk)
  •  1/8 tsp mesophilic culture (MM100, C61)
  • 1/2 tsp Calcium Chloride
  • 1/4  tsp rennet
  •  1 tablespoon of salt
  • Begin warming milk, add calcium chloride somewhere before 90°. I added at about 86° a few minutes before it reached 90.sharpcheedarmilk
  • Warm the milk to 90 F using a double boiler. Add 1/8 tsp  of mesophilic culture. Allow a couple minutes for the culture to
    re-hydrate. Mix thoroughly with a whisk or spoon in an up and down motion, the culture must be distributed evenly throughout the milk. Be careful not to stir it!
  • Let the milk ripen for 1 hour.
  • Put the 1/4 tsp of rennet into 1/4 cup of distilled water at least 20 mins before using. Slowly pour the rennet into the milk over a slotted spoon. Stir constantly in an up and down motion. Stir for several minutes.
  • Let the milk set for 1 to 2 hours. After 1 hour, I checked and it was reasonably firm but decided to go for 2 hours to let the flavor develop. Once a firm curd is set and a clean break can be cut, take a long knife and cut the curds into 1/4 inch cubes. (Curd for MM100 firmer)
  • Allow the curds to set for 15 minutes.
  • Slowly raise the milk to 102° F. It will take 45 minutes to raise the milk to this temperature. While you wait, gently stir the curds occasionally so they do not mat together. Cook the curds at 102° F for another 45 minutes. Keep stirring the curds every few minutes so they do not mat. (Strange thing happened here, I checked the PH,  MM100 was a 4.86 and the C61 was PH 6.05)
  • Drain the whey by pouring through a cheesecloth lined colander. Do this quickly without letting the curds to mat.
  • Put the curds back into the pot at 102 F. Separate any curds that have matted together. Add the tablespoon of salt and stir together. Keep the curds at temperature for 1 hour stirring occasionally. (I stirred every 5 mins, easiest to set a timer. This allowed me to sit most of this hour and not lose track of time.)
  • Gently put the curds into your cheesecloth lined mold.
  • Press the cheese at about 20 lbs. for 45 minutes. Remove the cheese and flip it. Press the cheese again at about 30 lbs. for 3 hours. Remove the cheese and flip it. Press the cheese for the third time at about 30-40 lbs. for 15 hours. (recipe originally called for 24 hrs but I didn’t want cheese to dry into the cheesecloth also called for more weight in final press.)
  • Remove the cheese from the press. Place the cheese on a cheese board and let dry at room temperature for 3 to 5 days. (waiting for it to dry)
  • Wax the cheese and age it in your refrigerator for 3 to 24 months. Remember the longer the cheese is aged the sharper it will taste! Every few days flip the cheese.

Make Notes:

Wheels after pressing.
Wheels after pressing.

The MM100 curd was very creamy with a sweet salty taste sort of like sour cream and it finished with 1.2 lbs of curd after pressing.

The C61 finished pressing with a firmer feel and the curd tasted a bit like a havati. Finished with 1.5 lbs of curd after pressing. Of course I could have my cultures mixed up, so when we taste the cheese, we will have to remake my favorite to try to duplicate.

Update: June or July and beyond.