Making Colby Cheese is not hard. Like most things that are delicious it just takes time. My husband and I are self-taught cheese makers. Having a cow that produces an abundance of milk inspired us to start making our own cheese. We have been doing it for a number of years now and still enjoy every delectable step and bite.
Colby Cheese is an American cheese named after the township in southern Wisconsin where it was first made. It has a more open texture than Cheddar, contains more moisture, and has a pleasantly mild flavor.
Colby takes around 4 hours and 45 minutes from start until the final press, which then takes a further 12 hours. You can time this so you are doing the 12 hour final press at night while you sleep.
Food items you will need.
- 2 gallons skimmed or whole milk (we skim ours so we can make butter How to make Butter.
- 1 packet direct-set mesophilic starter or 4 ounces prepared mesophilic starter
- 4 drops cheese coloring.
- 1/2 teaspoon liquid rennet.
- 2 Tbls cheese salt
- Cheese wax.
Kitchen items you will need.
- Large pot to hold your milk.
- Cheese knife
- Cheese thermometer
- Double boiler to hold and heat your cheese wax (We store the wax in the same pot after using and just let it cool).
- Cheese press
To Begin heat the milk to 86 degrees. Add the starter and mix thoroughly. Cover and allow the milk to ripen for 1 hour. (We move the pot to the back of the stove for the 1 hour and the temperature stays at the 86.)
Add the coloring and stir.
Make sure the milk’s temperature is 86 degrees. Add the rennet and stir gently with an up-and-down motion for 1 minute. If using farm-fresh cow’s milk, top-stir 3 minutes longer. Cover and let set for 30 minutes , or until the curd gives a clean break.
Cut the curd into 3/8-inch cubes. Stir gently. Let the curds set for 5 minutes.
Heat the curds by two degrees every 5 minutes until the temperature reaches 102 degrees. Stir gently to keep the curds from matting. Maintain the temperature of the curds at 102 degrees for 30 minutes, stirring gently. (Again just move the pot to the back of the stove for the 30 minutes and the temp. should stay at the 102.)
Drain off the whey to the level of the curds. (If you want to keep the whey just have an extra pot or container handy to pour it into). While stirring, add 60 degree water or cold tap water until the temperature of the curds and water reaches 80 degrees. Maintain the curds at 80 degrees for 15 minutes. Stir to prevent matting. (the temperature of the additional water controls the moisture content of the cheese. If a drier cheese is desired, keep the curd-water mixture a few degrees higher than 80. For a moister cheese, keep the temperature below 80 degrees.)
Pour the curds into a colander. Allow the curds to drain for 20 minutes.
Break the curds into thumbnail-sized pieces. Add the salt and mix gently but thoroughly.
Place the curds into a cheesecloth-lined mold (cheese press.) Press at 20lbs of pressure for 20 minutes.
Remove the cheese from the mold, gently peel away the cheesecloth, turn over the cheese, re-dress it, and press at 30lbs of pressure for 20 minutes.
Repeat the process but press at 40lbs of pressure for 1 hour.
Repeat the process but press at 50lbs of pressure for 12 hours.
Remove the Colby Cheese from the mold and peel away the cheesecloth. Air-dry at room temperature for several days, or until the cheese is dry to the touch (around 3 days.) Being sure to rotate it several times a day.
Time to wax the cheese. To start heat your wax in your double broiler until it is melted.
Now dip half of the cheese into the wax and take out. Hold for about 5 seconds and dip again. Do this until it is nicely covered. Repeat the process on the other side.
Once the cheese is waxed on both sides, rotate the cheese in the wax, going one direction and keep rotating until the sides are also waxed.
Place your waxed cheese on waxed paper and let it set for about 10 min. Mark the date with a marker if you wish on the wax to remember when it was made.
Age the colby cheese at 50 degrees for 2-3 months. Be sure to rotate the cheese once a day for a couple of weeks. If you miss a day it will not ruin it, just try your best.
YIELD: 2 pounds