KEFIR FARMHOUSE CHEDDAR CHEESE
- 8 litres full cream milk
- 200 g milk kefir
- ½ teaspoon liquid rennet diluted in 60 ml cool boiled water
- ½ teaspoon Calcium Chloride diluted in 60 ml cool boiled water (if using homogenised milk)
- 2 tablespoons cheese salt (non-ionised salt)
- 2 tablespoons whole peppercorns
- 2 tablespoons Thyme
Heat the milk to 32°C. Add the Calcium Chloride (if necessary). Add the kefir and stir well. Cover and let milk ripen for 45 minutes.
Add the diluted rennet and stir gently for 1 minute. Cover and let stand at 32°C for 45 minutes or until you get a clean break.
Cut the curd into 1.25cm cubes. Increase the temperature to 38°C slowly, no more than 1 degree for every 5 minutes. Stir to ensure that the curds do not mat. This should take about 30 minutes and the curd will shrink a bit.
Cover the pot and let stand for 5 minutes. Pour the curds into a cheesecloth lined colander, drain for a few minutes then tie the corners of the cheesecloth into a knot and hang the bag and allow to drain for 1 hour. The curds need to stay warm so hang at room temperature. Place the drained curds back in the pot and gently mill into walnut sized pieces. Mix in the Salt, then pack into lined cheese moulds.
Fold over cheesecloth, top with follower and press at 5 kg for 10 minutes. Remove the cheese from the mould, gently remove the cloth and turn, re-wrap, and press for 10 kg for 10 minutes. Repeat and press for 22.5 kg for 12 hours.
Remove from the mould and air dry the cheese on mats at room temp on a wooden board. This may take between 2 – 4 days depending on the season. Turn the cheese often, at least 4 times a day so that moisture does not collect on the bottom. When a thin yellow rind has formed, wax the cheese and age at 13°C for at least 1 month. The longer it is left the sharper the taste.
I added pink and green peppercorns to my recipe. To modify this recipe, add 1 tablespoon of peppercorns (green or pink but not dried black ones) to 1/2 cup of water and simmer for 15 minutes. Strain.
Dry roast the thyme for a few minutes in a pan
At the milling stage, add the peppercorns and thyme and mix gently but thoroughly before putting the curds into the mould for pressing. Press as per the recipe. I find this adds some zing to this cheese, even though it is wonderful without it. You will find this has a sharp taste and crumbly texture, which improves with flavour as it ages.
You will definitely get all you ingredients at Finest Kind online. It’s where I buy mine.
Recipe and photo: Natacha Visagie