Cheddar cheese

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Cheddar cheese

Post by khandairies on Sat Sep 19, 2009 10:06 pm

Cheddar cheese is a semi-hard cows milk cheese which can vary in taste from mild to extra sharp. The cheese is one of the most well known cheeses in the world, and many countries produce regional versions of cheddar cheese, especially Britain and former colonies. Because of the fame of the cheese, it is readily available in most markets, and it varies widely in quality.
The origins of cheddar cheese are ancient. The cheese was first made in Cheddar, a village in southwest England, and historical records indicate that the cheese has been made since at least the 1100s. Today, cheese from Cheddar has an Appellation of Controlled Origin, along with cheddar cheese from neighboring counties in that region of England. Since “cheddar cheese” has become so generic, protected cheddar is labeled as “West Country Farmhouse Cheddar,” and a small seal indicating that it has earned Appellation certification.

Many consumers associate the color orange with cheddar cheese, due to a long tradition of adding dyes to the cheese to change the color. In fact, cheddar cheese is naturally a creamy to pale white, although orange cheese has become much more common. Cheddar cheese also has a wide range of flavors, depending on how it is made and how long it is aged. Young cheddar cheese tends to be more mild, while longer aged cheese has a more sharp, complex flavor. At a minimum, cheddar cheese is aged for around three months, but aging can take as much as 30 months.

As is the case with all cheeses, several things set cheddar cheese aside from other cheese. The first is the bacteria that the cheese is fermented with. The second is the manufacturing process. Cheddar cheese undergoes a process called “cheddaring” while it is processed to yield a distinct level of moisture and unique texture. The cheddaring process is quite distinctive, and it dramatically alters the end product.

To make cheddar cheese, milk is mixed with cultures and rennet to form curds, which are gently heated, cubed, and drained. The draining process causes the curds to mat up, and the mat is cut into loose blocks of cheese which are periodically turned, allowing the curds to drain even more. This process is called cheddaring, and it results in a very distinct cheese. The curds may also be stacked to create a more moist cheese at the discretion of the cheesemaker. Next, the cheddared curds are cut, salted, and packed into molds to age.
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