Make Clothbound Cheddar Cheese Video (Cheesemaking Part 7)

Cheddar cheese came from a town in “Cheddar” England in the 1500’s. Cheddar was traditionally made by a farm wife. Cheddar was developed as a way to preserve fresh milk during the peak of the green growing season and when cows are typically at there height of lactation just after spring calving. Cheddar can be eaten young at 3 months and can age as long as 24 months for a strong cheddar. Make your Cheddar in the Spring and early summer, then you can enjoy your finely aged cheese in the winter when the cows are eating hay.


  • 20 Qt Stock Pot. I have the Norpro KRONA 20 Quart Stainless Steel Stock Pot with Lid
  • 21.5 Qt Water-Bath Canner w/ rack 
  • 12” Thermometer. Here’s my favorite, Dial Thermometer 12” Probe Stainless Steel
  • A skimmer. Here’s the one I use, Stainless Steel Skimmer
  • Icing knife. Here’s where I bought mine, 12″ Curd Knife on Amazon
  • Measuring spoons. I own this set, Norpro 18/10 Stainless Steel Measuring Spoon Set (Including Mini)
  • Stainless Steel Measuring Cups
  • A 18” Stainless Whisk
  • Stainless Steel Colander. Don’t use your kitchen colander, buy another colander  just for cheesemaking.
  • Mesh Strainer Stainless Steel
  • Cheese cloth. Look for the “butter cheesecloth” fine holes from New England Cheesemaking or Glengarry Cheesemaking.
  • Optional: pH meter, here’s the one I have… Hanna Instruments HI 98128W pH Meter
  • In your cheese cave, you need a Travel-Size Personal Humidifier or some whey to raise your humidity to 85% and also a hygrometer to measure humidity, here’s my favorite Thermo-Hygrometer by ThermoWorks.


  • Milk: 4 Gallons. Click HERE for my post on milk and sanitation for the full story on what milk to use.
  • Mesophilic type II  direct set culture1/2 teaspoon  (or 1 cup / 8 cubes of a mother culture prepared culture)
  • Calcium Choloride (optional): 1/2 teaspoon, diluted just before use in 1/2 cup clean water
  • Annattoo coloring: 3/4 teaspoon coloring diluted just before use in 1/2 cup water (optional only if you want orange cheese)
  • Rennet: 3/4 teaspoon, diluted in 1/2 cup water just before use
  • Salt: 1/4 cup (must be non iodized)


1.) Place all your stainless equipment in the stock pot and fill with water. Boil for 15 minutes. Sanitize plastic equipment with water and a tad of bleach, then rinse well. Thoroughly clean and sanitize counters, sink and any place you will be making cheese. Refer to Part 4 of my Cheesemaking Series for more information. Optional step, check pH of cold milk. pH of good raw milk should be between 6.6 and 6.7. Milk that is 6.9 and above is bad. Take pH before adding anything to the milk.

2.) Warm milk to 84 degrees in your double boiler.

3.) Sprinkle culture on top of milk. Wait 3-5 minutes. Cover the pot. Then stir culture in with 20/20 top bottom turns (turn milk over in a big O shape).

4.) Raise temperature to 90 degrees, maintain temperature for 30 minutes. Stir occasionally.

5.) Add calcium chloride diluted in water (optional). Stir for 20 turns.

6.) Add annatto coloring (optional) diluted in water. The color will gradually appear in the milk. Don’t add more.

7.) Add liquid rennet diluted in water. Stir for 20 turns. Stop milk from moving. Cover and let sit undisturbed for 45 minutes or until you get a clean break.

8.) Cut the curd into 1/2” cubes then let the curd heal for 5 minutes. Cut with a icing spatula or with a large whisk.

9.) Over the next 30 minutes, stir gently and raise the temperature to 102 degrees.  After temperature is reached, stir curds to the size of half a peanut while holding the temperature at 102 degrees for 45 to 60 minutes until curds passes the texture test. See video and picture below for example.  An optional step is to check the pH of the whey, it should be between 6.1 and 6.3 pH.

10.) Let the curds settle to the bottom of the pot and then pour off all the whey. Use a strainer to catch any curds that try and escape, put the curds back in the pot. Save the whey for baking, ricotta, fermenting veggies, use in the garden (blueberry’s love the acid), making fizzy drinks, the compost, soaking liver, feeding animals, soaking grains or fattening your pigs! 🙂

11.) Now we’re ready to “cheddar” the cheese. Let the curds drain in a cheesecloth lined strainer in the pot sit for 15 to 20 minutes  to form a slab. Cut the slab in two. Turn the slab over in the pot. You can also stack the slabs to help release whey.Your goal is to keep the slab at 102 degrees. Pour out extra whey in bottom of the pot. Keep pot with curds in your double boiler.  Turn every 20 minutes for 40 minutes to two hour or until a pH of 5.3 to 5.64 is reached.

12.) Mill the curds… cut the slab in to strips, french fry size. Place curd back in pot and sprinkle with 1/2 the total salt. Wait 5 minutes (put back in caner full of warm water, cover). Add the rest of the salt. Mix salt well. Wait another few minutes. Your goal is to get to 2% salt content. Keep curds warm in your double boiler with lid on.

13.) Boil a pot of water and pour it over your mold and cheese cloth. Then fill your cheesecloth lined mold with the curds quickly so the curds don’t cool down.

14.) Press your cheese until you feel resistance and see whey coming out. Wait 15 minutes and take the cheese out, flip it and repack it. Press with stronger weight, make sure that the whey that’s coming out isn’t too cloudy. Wait 30 minutes unmold, flip and repack cheese. Press with maximum weight needed to close rind. Press for 12 hours. After about 6 hours I usually lessen up the weight. I have a tendency of putting too much weight on my cheese! Most books will tell you to put 50 lbs of weight on your cheese. But, it depends on your press, that number is subjective! 🙂

15.) Air dry cheese for 7-10 days in an environment of 50-55 degrees and 85% humidity.

16.) Seal the cheese, by either bandage rapping, vacuum sealing, dipping in melted beeswax or cheese paraffin wax. Click HERE for part 8 of my cheesemaking series, how to wrap cheese!

17.) Age cheese at 50-55 degrees and 85% humidity for 2 to 12 months. Turn cheese twice a week. Brush cheese every so often. For complete instructions, click HERE for part 9, working your cheese cave.

4 month old lard bandage rapped cheddar cheese.
cheese cave wine fridge
Rashel and her helper, 19 month old Isabella in their cheese cave.
Cheese just out of the press, ready to air dry and then rap 7 days later
Fresh cheese just out of the press, ready to air dry at 50-55 degrees and 85% humidity. Then after 7 days, it will be rapped for aging.
Double boiler with canner upside down. This allows the cheese vat to fit without contacting the direct heat.
My favorite direct set powered culture from Glengarry, Meso II. I store it in the freezer between uses.
Calcium chloride from, I use this when we’re late in lactation. If you’re using store bought, pasteurized and/or homogenized milk use this as well.
Fresh cheddar cheese curds area real treat. They’re especially tasty after the two hour cheddaring process. Isabella knows when it’s time and comes running signing “more” for a taste! 🙂
IMG_1827 IMG_1835
Fresh cheddar curds starting to form a slab.
Cheese in my press. My favorite press from
Testing pH is optional, but is a neat way to understand what’s happening with your milk and it will give you a more consistent cheese. Since the milk changes from day to day, you’ll rely on the pH, cheese texture and look instead of the clock to proceed to the next step.
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  1. http://Becky%20Brilliant-Parent says

    Hi Rashel! My husband and I have been enjoying your videos for the past couple weeks and we watched your cheddar making video last night. I would LOVE to try cheese. Detail oriented tasks are right up my alley. I’m a knitter, enamellist, gardener, canner, baker, gourmet cook, etc., so I think cheese-making would be a natural fit. Sunday was my 40th birthday and as a gift to myself I am going to order some cheese making supplies today. I think I can get all the basics of making cheddar from your video, but I wanted to ask your opinion on one specific matter. My favorite all-time cheddar is one that is imported from England and is called Cotswold. It has chives and onions in it. I’m wondering if you have ever made anything similar. My two specific questions are these: 1) When would you add the onions and chives? and 2) Should I use fresh or dried? My instinct says that I should use dried onion flakes but that fresh chives would be ok. But I wanted to hear your thoughts. Hope you are having a terrific day and hope to hear from you soon!

    • http://Becky%20Brilliant-Parent says

      Nothing like taking the bull by the horns. Or, I suppose, the heifer by the udders as the case may be. I ordered a cheese press and some basic cheese making supplies this morning. SO excited! Should be here in about a week.

  2. http://Dave%20Carlson says

    Very interesting and well done. We have goats and I’ve been making cheese for several years. My go to cheese is a version of feta. It’s fast easy and predictable. Lately I’ve been drying ( in a electric dehydrator) it which adds an entirely different flavor. The last two batches I smoked which added another flavor. I did Parmason last year and it dried a little to much. Great taste but takes a grinder to shave it. I’ve done several other types with varying success.
    Thanks for your wonderful site. May try a cheddar again this year

  3. I made this recipe and it worked wonderfully (I think!). The cheese is in a cheese cave now and seems to be doing very well… though it’s formed a pretty hard “crust”. Is that what should be happening? It still has another day of air chilling and then will be wrapped but I’m worried that it’s getting too dried out – even though our humidity is where it should be. Just wondering if it’s normal for it to feel hard at this stage. Thank you!!

    • http://Rashel says

      Great. Yup sounds like it’s working well. Once you wrap it there’s so much moisture inside the outside won’t stay that dry. GOOD work!

  4. http://Pat%20Cheatham says

    First of all, your little girl is so cute and well behaved…love seeing her in the videos as she grows. I have been gathering supplies and making simple cheeses like chevre, ricotta and yogurt. Am waiting on chemicals to make mozzarella. I have a press that was given to me but when I look at yours, it tempts me to get a new one. Thanks for the instructions. They are very exact and helpful.

  5. Very cool!

  6. http://bob says

    Thanx for such detail! I am new to cheesemaking and really like it. The first batch of any new style cheese never seems to come out right, but I guess that’s life… I mastered mozzarella so I decided to move on to some hard cheeses. I really want to make parmesan, but I figured I would start with something easier like cheddar! I researched for weeks… I built my cave out of a 32 bottle wine fridge (scratch and dent sale) found on ebay. For humidity, I used the zoo med reptile humidity controller with an aquarium air pump. The air pump then connects to an air stone in a bowl of filtered water inside the save. I can hit 85% humidity in the driest of our NJ winters (parmesan needs 95%, so I will need to adjust my setup a bit to get there). Anyway, your cheddar instructions are different than what I have seen on other site. However, you explained it a lot better, and I like your method. One thing you left out though, if your PH is not within specification, what do we do?

    My next progression will be Gouda. Almost the same process, except during the ripening stage, you take out some whey and replace it with filtered water. This keeps the acid production down and the cheese sweet. We really love smoke gouda, so I also have a smoker with a cold smoke fixture.

    It’s going to be an exciting year (or at least yummy at my house!)

    Also your links in steps 16 and 17 do not work 🙁


    • http://Rashel says

      Glad you found my site. If you’re pH isn’t dropping as it’s suppose two, the first option is to give it more time and then check again. Another is that maybe your cheese starter isn’t working like its suppose to… the other is that maybe you have bad milk. Usually the first idea takes care of it… just give it more time.

      You’ll love making Gouda. Adding the water to it does something magical to the texture it’s its one of our favorite cheeses around here to make. You’ll really like Guyere if you like Gouda.
      What a great you have on the humidity! I really have trouble getting my humidity up, it’s not really enough with a mini humidifier. I might have to look into your invention.
      Thanks for the heads up on those links, I’ll get them fixed.

  7. An excellent video and instructions generally. Especially for me, a just-out-of-the-gate cheddarmaker. Really like the idea of clothrapping. Of doing it right no matter the extra work.


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