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sweetiepie
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Location: York, ND (Zone 3b)

Trying to Make American Cheese?

So I am hoping someone might have an easier way to make American Cheese. I love my Mozzarella recipe, no stretching and my family is not real crazy about other cheese but like good old American Cheese. The kicker is it is a long process. Most recipes call for Colby Cheese first. So I am going to try it but am hoping someone has a real easy, like shake your magic wand way and Presto, American cheese.

So we have to start with making Colby Cheese.
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I love this book. It is so easy to follow and has recipes for almost anything dairy. So I am using the recipe out of here. I am going to just give basic steps.
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Warm 4 gallons of raw whole milk to 85 degrees in a double boiler. Add the mesophilic starter and stir well. Cover the mixture and let sit one hour. Add coloring and rennet.
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After it sits for an hour, cut the curds.
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Allow it to sit for 15 minutes. Then heat curds to 100 degrees by increasing 2 degrees every five minutes for half an hour. Stir as it is heating. Then hold temp at 100 for half an hour and continue stirring.
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Let curds sit for 5 minutes. Then remove whey and measure the whey you take out. Add the same amount of water at 60 degrees that you took out of whey. The temp of the curds should be 80 degrees, hold this for 20 minutes. Stir while you wait. Dump curds in a colander lined with cheese cloth. Drain for 20 minutes. Put curds back in the pot and add 4 tbsps of cheese salt.
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Pack curds into mold.
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Press at 20 lbs for 30 minutes, then flip. Press for 20 lbs for 30 minutes. Then flip and press at 40 lbs for one hour. Flip and press at 50 lbs for 12 hours.
Cheese 2015 009.JPG

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sweetiepie
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Re: Trying to Make American Cheese?

Cheese 2015 011.JPG
Remove from cheese mold and put on a cheese mat. Flip 4 to 6 times a day for 5 days. Once dry wax the cheese. The cheese needs to age for 4 to 6 weeks at 55 degrees before we can start to make American Cheese. The Cheese next to it waxed is only 2 gallons. I will update when we hit the one month mark.

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rainbowgardener
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Re: Trying to Make American Cheese?

These are your pictures of work you did? Amazing. I always think making cheese at home sounds so cool. But never am I going to have the equipment OR patience to do that! Once I get retired (ONE more week! :) ) I may try some of the easy ones, queso fresco, mozzarella, ricotta....
Twitter account I manage for local Sierra Club: https://twitter.com/CherokeeGroupSC Facebook page I manage for them: https://www.facebook.com/groups/65310596576/ Come and find me and lots of great information, inspiration

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sweetiepie
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Location: York, ND (Zone 3b)

Re: Trying to Make American Cheese?

Yes, I have to make cheese at least once a week or it goes to the chickens. Delight is giving 6 gallons a day. The calf gets 2 and the pigs get 2. Depending on who is here to visit and how much baking I do, we average half a gallon a day that we personally use. Some extra goes to the cats and dog. The chickens get the whey.

So truly hoping to find an easier way to make American Cheese but I am probably dreaming. It cuts into my gardening, log splitting, baking, house cleaning, chore time.

You can still try making your hard cheeses with stuff you have around the house. I just do so much at a time to make it worth my while and use the milk up in the fastest way possible that I invested in stuff to accomplish that.

For Mozarella you don't even need a starter culture, you can use buttermilk and yogurt, that way you are not commited to making cheese every week. A culture in the frig is only good for a week or you should freeze it or make more. It's a tedious cycle.

But it keeps me out of the store. With the cow in milk now, I haven't been to the grocery store for 3 weeks. I think the only thing on my list is chocolate chips. :-()

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applestar
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Re: Trying to Make American Cheese?

This all sounds so fun! I wish I lived near you so I could come visit and learn from you. Cheese making is one of my LearnIt projects. I tried a few things last fall and winter. I might try some more again during the cooler months... Unless I get REALLY into it and set up a dedicated fridge/cheese cellar.

Do you know about New England Cheese? https://www.cheesemaking.com HUGE resource of information for dabblers who have to BUY good cheese making milk like me but even more for serious, what am going to do with all these GALLONS of milk folks like you, @sweetiepie.

Please, please keep posting about your cheese making -- I will enjoy vicariously. :()
Learning never ends because we can share what we've learned. And in sharing our collective experiences, we gain deeper understanding of what we learned.

Susan W
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Re: Trying to Make American Cheese?

I am impressed, but have to admit no burning desire myself to make cheese. I did just give one son a book (One Hour Cheeses) for his b'day. It looks sorta doable, and not much in extra equipment. I figure they can have fun playing making some soft cheeses, and bring me some samples of course. We usually have a milk vendor at the market I do, and he may try buying the unprocessed milk. (cheaper and easier than keeping a milk cow in town!)

SP, keep us up to date, when you're not milking, chopping, weeding. picking and all else. Guess we'll have to pretend to taste and share over the screen.
Have fun!
Susan

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sweetiepie
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Re: Trying to Make American Cheese?

applestar wrote:
Do you know about New England Cheese? https://www.cheesemaking.com HUGE resource of information for dabblers who have to BUY good cheese making milk like me but even more for serious, what am going to do with all these GALLONS of milk folks like you, @sweetiepie.
I have ordered from there and I have there book. For me, it seems driven to make you buy more of there stuff. Like cultures, etc. Where I tend to like to know how to make the culture and keep the culture without having to buy it all the time. So I buy a little culture now and keep it going like sourdough starter. I only need 1/8 of a tsp of culture to get me started for the whole cow in milk season. Way more economical for me. Though the book does have different fun cheeses in it. If I wasn't so Norwegian and liked everything plain, I might enjoy it more.

Right now I mostly have been getting my stuff from thecheesemaker.com. He is super nice and very willing to answer and questions or problems you have.

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sweetiepie
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Re: Trying to Make American Cheese?

Susan W wrote:We usually have a milk vendor at the market I do, and he may try buying the unprocessed milk. (cheaper and easier than keeping a milk cow in town!
Oh, you are lucky if you live in a state where you can buy raw milk easily. North Dakota is one of those few states where it is illegal to sell raw milk or products made from raw milk. If you want it you have to have the cow. :cry: I wish as consumers we would be given back our decision making abilities but until then, enjoy.

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rainbowgardener
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Re: Trying to Make American Cheese?

Wow, sweetiepie, you are really living the country, homestead life AND there in zone 3 ! Do you do a blog or anything? I'd love to hear more about it.

So I looked up York, ND. Very north part of ND in Great Plains. Wiki says: "The population was 23 at the 2010 census. ! Population density 100 inhabitants per square mile." We probably have more than that in the city block I live in. So how far do you have to go to get to a grocery store for those chocolate chips :) ?

Dave's garden tells me your average frost free dates are May 27 to Sept 10, 106 day growing season. I have on average 181 frost free days, and I am moving south, because I think it is too cold here in zone 6 and too short a growing season. They make them tougher on the Plains! We had a lady in our church who died a few years ago (maybe ten or so now) at the age of 106. She grew up in a sod house in ND in the 1800's.

So how do you manage a garden with not much more than 3 months of growing season?

Do you know the books of Helen and Scott Nearing (Living the Good Life and others)? They did something similar to what you are doing, in rural Vermont. Not a much more friendly climate.
Twitter account I manage for local Sierra Club: https://twitter.com/CherokeeGroupSC Facebook page I manage for them: https://www.facebook.com/groups/65310596576/ Come and find me and lots of great information, inspiration

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sweetiepie
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Re: Trying to Make American Cheese?

I do not have a blog, I am not real good with words and I don't have a lot of time. I sneak on here when I am chained to the house, like in a few minutes the buns will be out of the oven and I don't want to start another project because I want to be free to go outside.

I travel about 30 miles to the nearest grocery store but that town doesn't have a Walmart or Department stores. The town like that is about 45 miles away and still it is smallish about 7000 people. I have always lived rural except for about 3 years. This is how my parents lived while I was growing up. Then it was being frugal now it is being a prepper. My parents are now retired and don't live quite like that anymore, though mom still has a garden. Though mom didn't make cheese or soap, so I am on my own there.

I have visited other places while being in the Army Reserve but have always lived in ND. So gardening has always been what it is. Sometimes you fight to get your pumpkins big enough and melons are tricky, depending on the year. But things are slow to bolt here and we have more day light, so things tend to catch up. Our soil here is great, which helps a lot. Very fertile.

I do not know the book of Helen and Scott Nearing (Living the Good Life and others). I love living here with my family. I have found as I grow older that I tolerate people less and dig into the farm life a little deeper. When it is cold, you can cuddle up with your hunny but when he's hot and sweaty, not so inviting. :eek:

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