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Frugal Tips: Making Colby Cheese

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I have learned to make yogurt, ricotta and mozzarella but several weeks ago decided to try making a hard cheese. Colby Cheese is a type of cheddar and only has to be aged from 2 to 3 months. Perfect for a first time cheese maker. It was rather a long process with a lot of heating the milk and then letting it set and then heating again. Once the curds were ready they had to be put in a cheese press. Being rather frugal my husband decided to make our cheese press and our cheese mold. He used some scraps of lumber to build the press and used a plastic jar to make the mold. Very creative and the press looked very professional by the time he was finished.

homemade, cheese press

Homemade Cheese Press

The recipe I used was from the book Home Cheese Making by Ricki Carroll, one of the best books around for home cheese makers. This book is available in our Home Front Store.

First the milk was heated to 86 degrees and the starter was added. The milk was covered and allowed to sit for an hour. Making sure the milk’s temperature was 86 degrees the rennet was added, stirred for several minutes and then allowed to sit for another 30 minutes or until the curd gave a clean break.

cheese making, prudent living, Colby cheese

Curds showing a clean break.

The curds were cut into cubes using a clean, sharp knife.

Colby  Cheese, cheese making,

Cutting the curds

The curds were then heated until the temperature reached 102 degrees, maintaining the temperature the curds were stirred gently for thirty minutes.

cheese making, prudent living, frugal tips

Stirring the curds

At this point the whey was drained off to the level of the curds and additional cold water was added. To have a nice moist cheese the temperature had to be kept below 80 degrees. This temperature was maintained for 15 minutes at which point the curds were poured into a colander and allowed to drain.

curds, cheese

Drained curds

Once drained, the curds were broken into smaller pieces, salt was added and the curds were placed into a cheesecloth-lined mold.

cheese mold, cheese making

Curds placed in the mold

The cheese was first pressed at 20 pounds for 20 minutes.

pressing curds, making cheese

First pressing

Then 30 pounds for 20 minutes,

hard cheese, Colby cheese

Cheese after the first pressing

40 pounds for 1 hour

cheese press, cheese making

Pressing the cheese

and finally 50 pounds for 12 hours. Between each pressing the cheese was removed from the mold, the cheesecloth was peeled away and then re-wrapped. With each pressing you could see that the cheese was getting more compact. After the final press the cheese was removed from the mold, the cheesecloth was peeled away and it was allowed to air dry at room temperature for several days.

hard cheese, cheese making

Almost finished

Once the cheese was dry to the touch it was waxed.

hard cheese, Colby Cheese

Cheese before waxing.

I now have a beautiful round of cheese aging for 2-3 months. From the 2 gallons of milk I got 2 pounds of cheese. Now to be patient for the next few months before I can actually try it.

cheese wax, Colby cheese

Colby Cheese, waxed and ready to age.

Next on my list is to make Parmesan.

 

Linked to:
LearningTheFrugalLife
OurDelightfulHome
premeditatedLeftovers
RaisingHomemakers
FrugalluSustainable.com

 

 

10 Responses to Frugal Tips: Making Colby Cheese

  • Jennifer says:

    wow, I am impresssed.

  • I have never yet ventured into cheese-making, but would love to learn how. Fascinating process!

  • I have never yet ventured into cheese-making, but the process looks fascinating!

  • April Harris says:

    What an interesting post! I’ve never tried making my own cheese, but this is a great tutorial. Actually, I haven’t eaten Colby cheese in years. We don’t have it in England, but when I was a kid in Canada we used to eat it a lot!

  • I just love this! I have been wanting to try making cheese and just haven’t done it yet. Can’t wait to hear how it turns out. I am new to your blog, but will definitely be following. :)

  • What an amazing tutorial! I have only made mozzarella, but would love to try making colby cheese.

  • Jeri case says:

    Hi, Nancy,
    I work for Ricki at New England Cheesemaking Supply Co. Great article about Colby. I’m wondering if you would be one of our guest bloggers at cheesemakinghelp.blogspot.com?

  • Eric says:

    I’ve been making my own soft chseees for about a year now – thanks to Barbara Kingsolver and Ricky :) It’s sooooooo….. easy! I do have some problems with mozzerella – if I don’t carefully follow instructions it does’t set up properly – but all the others are just so super easy. Along with all the obvious benefits – like better taste and saving $ I know when I make these chseees what the ingredients are and where they came from. I am also not purchasing additional packaging which has to be disposed of or recycled in some way.Does it always turn out perfect? No! But the mistakes are always good in lasagna or some other pasta dish or used to bake with. I have never – NEVER – thrown away a batch because it didn’t turn out as expected.Lindy in the Sonoran Desert where we rarely need much heat in the winter.

  • Dale says:

    So how did it turn out? I’m sure we’d all love to hear.

  • Nancy says:

    It was delicious! I am going to have to make it again. Only problem is my husband has been told not to eat cheese!

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