Over the summer, we made and waxed a series of 2lb rounds of cheddar from our goats’ milk, and set it them the cellar to age. Over the winter, we’ve been opening and testing them, with varying levels of success. None have been bad, all have had a decent sharp flavor, but most were too dry and had a crumbly texture that I don’t like. I want my cheddar firm but sliceable, creamy rather than crumbly. We opened the last round recently, and THIS is what cheddar should taste like. Just the right texture, excellent flavor, the whole deal.
How did I achieve this? I have no idea. Joanna utterly failed to force me to keep good enough records of my cheese-making processes to know what I did differently on this batch from others. She’ll just have to do a better job next year.
Home cheese-making is pretty easy, with a modest investment in some equipment and starters. You don’t even need your own animals, as long as you have access to raw milk or even milk from an independent dairy. You just need milk that hasn’t been ultra-pasteurized and ultra-homogenized; the “chalk water” from a chain store isn’t going to cut it. Look at it this way: if it comes in a glass bottle, you can probably make cheese from it.