Kosher Cheddar Cheese (Efrat Style)
The kosher curd nerds of Efrat seem to really love to make fresh kosher cheese and for them to make a nice kosher cheddar cheese I thought would just make many very happy. It has been taking a very long time, but I have finally been able to have the Kosher Cheddar Cheese workshop take place. It is the first time that this workshop has been done in English only in Israel and I am proud to say that once again I had the pleasure of being hosted by the Leavitt family in Efrat once again for the first Kosher Welsh Cheddar Cheesemaking workshop in Israel.
This family are true partners in making sure that the word is out when a workshop is going to take place. I just can’t say how much I appreciate all the work they did to make this workshop happen. Thank you.
The turn out was smaller than what we thought, but it was a great day of cheese making and discussing the kashrut issues of hard cheese making.
The cheese that we made is Kosher Cheddar Cheese called Caerphilly. It is a Welsh Cheddar style cheese that is crumbly and salty (and not usually kosher). There are many versions as to how this cheese can be made, for this workshop I took the one that will produce the quickest results without spending more time than needed to get it from pot to press and finally to mouth. My intention is to have a salty cheese ready for Chanukah and this cheese will fit the bill.
Like all of my workshops, this cheese uses regular Tnuva 3% sack milk. Once again,only this milk can be used to make cheese at home (unless you have your own animals). This milk is the only milk from the store which we are able to make cheese with here in Israel.
We started the process of ripening the milk by adding are Mesophilic starter culture to the milk. Once the milk ripened we added the rennet. In this recipe I used the liquid rennet instead of the powder rennet. With hard cheeses, the powder rennet might tend to give a bitter taste if aging for more than a few months. The curds were formed in about 1 hour and ready to be cut.
The process to make hard cheeses can take any time from 3 to 6 hours before getting it to the press. We were hoping to have it in the press within 3 hours time but it did take us about 5 hours from the time we started.
The whey was really starting to be released and we were getting to a nice curd mass that we were going to then drain, then cheddar and drain some more before milling, salting and putting it in the press.
The curds can be somewhat hypnotizing and many were getting lost as their constant change was taking place.
After the curds have been cut and whey has been released. We need to drain them. This is done by putting them in the cheesecloth and colander.
Once they have drained for around 5-10 minutes we need to mill them and add the salt.
One of the great parts of this workshop is you get a cheese press (if you want). You are not able to make a hard cheese without a press, so to have one included in the basic kosher cheddar cheese making kit was a great whey for the participants to start making this cheese instantly. Our host even made his family press, and I had mine that I purchased from the states many years ago. The pressure was applied by bricks, spring, and straight pressure applied by hand. Below are the different presses that we used to make our cheese.
Well, the next day came and not everybody was able to make it to the unwrapping, drying stage of the workshop so my host family, one participant and myself were able to take out of the press and unwrap and start the air drying process of about 6kg of a wonderful Caerphilly cheese. The cheese will be in the air for about 4-5 days before being placed in the fridge for final aging.
Taking the Cheese out of the mold, Paring the left over, tasting a bit before it dries Yumm!!!
This cheese is one of my favorites because it can be aged for a s little as 14 days, but to really get a nice surprise it is better to wait another 14 days. This is not a cheese that you want to age for long time though. It was traditionally made and eaten within the month. Below is the cheese getting ready to spend some time alone.