How To Make Cheddar Cheese: Detailed Guide for Newbies

We use cheddar cheese in our recipes all the time. I like it because it has character and a nice tangy taste. Did you know you can make your own cheddar cheese right at home? I’m here today to show you how to make cheddar cheese! I’m sure it will come as no surprise that making your own cheddar cheese is very easy!

What Is Cheddar Cheese?

What Is Cheddar Cheese?

Cheddar cheese is a cow’s milk-based cheese that originated in the English village of Cheddar. The cheese was first made by monks at Cistercian monasteries, and it was named after the village where it was first produced. Cheddar has been made for more than 1,000 years and is still popular today.

Types of Cheddar Cheese and How to Know What’s Right for You

There are many different types of cheese, and cheddar is one of the most popular. Cheddar cheese is a yellow or orange-colored semi-hard cheese that has been made since the 18th century in England. It can be made from cow’s milk or goat’s milk. The difference between cheddar cheeses is how long they are aged, what type of animal produces the milk, and how much moisture the curds contain.

Cheddar Cheese Varieties

There are several varieties of cheddar cheese, including sharp cheddar and mild cheddar. Sharp cheddar has a sharper taste than mild cheddar, which is less sharp and creamy. Sharp cheddar also has more moisture than mild cheddar because it is aged longer and soaks up more whey as it matures. Mild cheddars have less moisture because they are not aged as long as sharp cheddars are.

American Cheddars

American Cheddars

This type of cheddar cheese is characterized by its sharpness, which comes from being aged for long periods of time. American Cheddars are usually made from whole milk or skim milk and not pasteurized, which means they may not be suitable for people who are lactose-intolerant.

Colby Cheese

This type of cheddar has a milder flavor than most other types of cheese due to its lower fat content and shorter aging period. Colby cheese is also popular in burgers because it melts well but doesn’t become greasy when cooked at high temperatures.

Brick Cheese

Brick cheese, also called brick cheese or brick, is a semi-hard to hard cheese that originated in the United States. It is made from cow’s milk and has a mild flavour with a hint of smokiness. The cheese is aged for at least one year and up to two years depending on the manufacturer.

Brick cheese is a versatile product that can be used on its own or as an ingredient in dishes such as scalloped potatoes, casseroles and salads. It also works well with fruits such as apples and pears because of its sweet nutty flavour.

A Cheddar Cheese Making Recipe That Delivers A Great Flavor

Cheddar Cheese Making Recipe

This is a recipe for making cheddar cheese. It uses citric acid to coagulate the milk, which is then cut into curds, drained and pressed into molds. The curds are then heated and stirred, at which point they are ready to be pressed into blocks of cheese.
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 5 hrs
Total Time 5 hrs 10 mins
Course Appetizer
Cuisine American, British
Servings 4 pounds


  • Large pot: for cooking the curds
  • Ladle: for pouring the curds into molds
  • Thermometer: for temperature control during the process of making cheese 
  • Kitchen scale: to weigh ingredients accurately
  • Cheesecloth: to drain the whey and form the cheese into molds
  • Rennet tablets: used to coagulate milk


  • 3 cups of milk (whole, 2%, or skim)
  • 1/2 cup of water (if you use skim milk, use 3/4 cup) 
  • 1/4 cup of vinegar (apple cider, white distilled) 
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper 
  • 3 tablespoons of lemon juice (freshly squeezed)


  • Warm the milk to a temperature of 88 degrees Fahrenheit. Turn off the heat in the pot.
  • Add the annatto and the mesophilic culture. 2 minutes of stirring
  • Cover and set aside for 1 hour to retain the temperature.
  • 30 seconds after adding the rennet, stir it in. For small batches of cheese, there is no need to dilute the rennet in water. Slowly but thoroughly combine the ingredients. With your ladle, stop the milk from moving.
  • For about 40-50 minutes, coagulate the milk. If you're using a flocculation cap, place it on the milk after 12 minutes and check for flocculation. Make a note of how much time has passed. Multiply by three, then remove the flocculation time from the result. (For example, 15 minutes of coagulation; 153=45; 45-15=30 more minutes of coagulation.)
  • Look for a complete break.
  • Cut the curds into 14-inch pieces. Cut the depth of the pot in all four directions in a grid, then on the diagonal.
  • Allow 5 minutes for the curds to settle and heal in order to seal in moisture. If you want a dry cheddar, skip this step.
  • Return the saucepan to the heat and heat for 30 minutes, or until it reaches 95 degrees Fahrenheit. Stir constantly, starting slowly and then increasing the speed as the curds thicken. 
  • In 15 minutes, heat the curds to 102°F while stirring constantly.
  • For the final 15 minutes, keep the temperature constant and stir constantly. As rapidly as you can, stir the ingredients together.
  • Squeeze the curds in the palm of your hand to see how firm they are. When stroking them with your thumb, they should stick together in a clump yet break apart.
  • Allow the curds to drop to the bottom after pitching for 5 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, make a waterbath to keep your curd warm while it's being cheddared. To weigh down the pot, I use a kitchen sink filled with hot water and two half gallon mason jars filled with water.
  • Take the whey out of the pot.
  • NOTE: For the cheddaring process, try to keep the temperature at 102 degrees Fahrenheit. 
  • Make four blocks out of the curd mass at the bottom of the pot and lay them on top of each other. 
  • Fill the water bath with the covered pot and weight it down. 
  • For 1 hour, stack and rotate the curds every 15 minutes until they have the consistency of cooked chicken breast. When flipping the curds, drain any whey in the bottom. (With three flip/stacks, this takes a total of 4- 15 minutes.) 
  • Weigh the curd mass and make a note of it.
  • To avoid losing too much warmth, quickly chop the curds into 1" cubes.
  • Weigh out 2.6 percent of the curd mass in salt using a micro digital scale.
  • Add the salt in two batches to the diced curds, waiting 5 minutes between each addition. Between saltings, return the pot to the waterbath.
  • Between saltings, prepare your cheese press.
  • Transfer salted curds to a cheesecloth-lined hoop as soon as possible.
  • For 15 minutes, apply 20 pounds of pressure. 
  • Redress the cheese in the cheesecloth after removing it from the hoop.
  • Return the cheese to the press and set the pressure to 60 pounds for the night.
  • Remove the cheese, flip it, and redress it one more time in the morning. Return the cheese to the press and apply 80 pounds of pressure until it has been in the press for 24 hours.
  • Place the cheese on a cheese mat and let it air dry for 2-3 days, rotating it twice a day. 
  • Was the cheese for aging or use clean cotton fabric and melted butter to create a cloth bandage rind.
  • Age the cheese in a cheese fridge for 4-6 weeks at 55°F and 80% humidity for mild cheddar and 3 months or more for sharp cheddar at 55°F and 80% humidity.

How to Make Cheddar Cheese

This is a simple guide to making cheddar cheese at home. It starts with a description of the process, followed by step-by-step instructions on how to make cheddar cheese from start to finish.

This recipe is for making a small batch of cheddar cheese. To make a larger batch, simply multiply the ingredients by how many pounds of milk you want to use.

How to Make Cheddar Cheese

Acidifying/Culturing Cheddar Cheese

The first step in making cheddar cheese is to acidify the milk. This can be done by adding citric acid or vinegar to the milk, which causes it to curdle and separate into a thick layer of whey and a thinner layer of curds. The pH of the milk must be between 5.0 and 6.2 for this to work properly. If you want to add flavor complexity to your cheddar, you can also add salt at this point.


When the desired pH level has been reached, rennet is added to further separate the curds from whey (the liquid part). Rennet is an enzyme that aids in coagulation by helping proteins bond together into smaller pieces called “clots.” Most commercially produced cheeses use rennet derived from animal sources, but vegetarians can use vegetable-based rennets instead (e.g., fungal chymosin). After adding rennet, you’ll notice some separation within 10 minutes or so — this is called flocculation. At this point, you need to cut your curds so they’re small enough that they will break up easily when heated later on in the process.

Cutting the Curds

Cut the curds into 1/2-inch cubes. The shape of the curds will determine the texture and consistency of your finished cheese. For example, if you want a smooth and creamy cheddar, cut your curds into smaller pieces. If you want a crumbly cheese, like feta or parmesan, cut your curds into larger pieces.

Releasing Whey (Cooking & Stirring the Curds)

The cheese is cooked until it reaches 115° F/46° C. The curd must be stirred constantly during this process to keep it from matting together and forming lumps. This step can take anywhere between 10-30 minutes depending on how much whey you want to release from your cheeses.

Cheddaring the Cheddar Cheese

Cheddaring the Cheddar Cheese

This is a technique used to make traditional cheddar cheese. It’s important to note that this process is different than making other types of cheeses. The curds are cut into small cubes and piled together. This process is then repeated until the cheese has been pressed down into a firm block. The idea behind this method is to force moisture out of the curd and make it firmer.

Using the Cheese Press

Once you have your curds cut into squares, place them in a cheese press with a follower, or weight, on top. Put the press on top of another plate or pan so that when it’s all done, you can easily remove your finished product from underneath the press by flipping over both plates at once. The follower will help keep pressure on your curd as it presses down into shape and helps create a more even surface for cutting later on down the line when it comes time to slice off some slices for eating or cooking with!

Cloth Bandaging Cheddar Cheese

Cheddar cheese is the most popular form of cheese sold in the world. It is made from cow’s milk and has a characteristic orange color. The most common varieties are sharp cheddar, mild cheddar, and extra-sharp cheddar. Cheddar cheese is also known as Cheshire cheese.

Cheddar cheese is made by adding a bacterial culture to milk and heating it up to about 86 degrees Fahrenheit (30 degrees Celsius). This process causes the milk solids to separate from the liquid whey. The curds are then cut into blocks or squares and placed in cloth bandages to drain out more whey. The resulting cheese forms a natural rind on its surface which helps protect it from contamination by harmful bacteria.

Aging Cheddar Cheese

Aging is done to develop flavor and texture. During the aging process, moisture evaporates and the cheese becomes firmer. The length of time a cheese is aged varies according to the variety and desired outcome. Cheddar cheese can be aged for as little as 4 months or as long as 2 years.

FAQs About How to Make Cheddar Cheese

1. What is the best temperature for making cheddar cheese?

The best temperature for making cheddar cheese is 60 degrees Fahrenheit, with a humidity of 85 percent. This will keep the curds from drying out and make them easier to handle.

2. What is the best way to make cheese at home?

The best way to make cheese at home is by using a kit or a recipe. You can buy the kit at your local grocery store or online. The recipe will tell you what ingredients to use and how much.

3. Can I use raw milk to make Cheddar cheese?

No, only pasteurized milk may be used when making Cheddar cheese. Raw milk contains certain bacteria that can spoil the milk during the cheesemaking process and cause foodborne illness if consumed by humans.


You may have an excess of milk, or maybe you just want to dive into the world of artisan cheese-making. Whatever your reason, here’s how to make cheddar cheese, which has a long history in America and is a classic ingredient in many dishes.

Joe Ciardullo

Joe Ciardullo

In the year 2012, Joe Ciardullo opened C’est Cheese in Port Jefferson, New York, and has had great success over the past many years by combining all these passions into a trendy modern diner. Is a passionate foodie, especially cheese, beer, and wine.

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