1-42. MAKING CHEDDAR CHEESE
The manufacture of Cheddar cheese is the basis for manufacture of all cheeses.
The various varieties of cheeses are created by adding or subtracting steps. Cheddar
cheese in the United States is made from the milk of healthy cows. A brief description
of the Cheddar cheese making process follows.
a. Milk. The milk used in the manufacture of Cheddar cheese determines the
quality of the finished product. Raw or pasteurized milk may be used. When raw milk is
used, the cheese must be aged at least 60 days at temperatures between 35F and
50F (2C and 10C).
b. Additives. After the cheese vat has been filled with milk, then the starter,
color, calcium chloride, and rennet are added.
(1) Starter. The starter is a culture of bacteria which produces acid, usually
lactic acid. The starter also produces desirable flavors and the acid prevents other
bacteria from growing. It is added after the milk in the vat is brought to a temperature of
about 88F (31C). The amount of starter added is usually less than one percent of the
milk in the vat.
(2) Color. If color is added, it must be uniform throughout.
(3) Calcium chloride. Calcium chloride may be used to assist the rennin in
forming the curd. The amount added shall not exceed 0.02 percent of the weight of the
(4) Rennet. Rennet is a commercial preparation of the enzyme rennin and is
added to coagulate the casein to form the curd. The amount added is usually between
2 to 4 ounces per 1,000 pounds of milk and is added 15 to 30 minutes after adding the
c. Setting. Setting is the process of allowing the casein to coagulate and form
curd. It normally takes about 25 to 30 minutes.
d. Cutting the Curd. The curd is cut into small cubes to facilitate the escape of
whey. Cutting is done after the desired firmness is reached and the size of the cuts are
uniform so that the drainage of whey will be uniform throughout the curd pieces.
e. Cooking. After the curd is cut, the curd and whey in the cheese vat are
heated to a temperature of 102 to 105F (39 to 41C) for 30 to 45 minutes. The
purposes of cooking are to firm the curd, assist in the escape of the whey, and increase
the formation of acid. During the cooking process, the curd is stirred continuously to