Colby Cheese

Time: 3 1/2 hours plus 12 hours inactive and 2-4 months aging. Yield: 2 lb


2 gallons whole milk

1/4 tsp MA 4000 or 1/4 cup cultured buttermilk

1/4 tsp calcium chloride diluted in 1/8 cup cool water

1/8 tsp double strength vegetarian rennet, diluted just before use in 1/8 cup cool, non-chlorinated  water

2 tsp sea salt divided


2 gallon pot and a pot that will hold it




Pot with lid


Tray or drainboard

Cheese press and form

1 gallon vacuum-sealable bag and sealer

Time: 3 1/2 hours plus 12 hours inactive and 2-4 months aging

Yield:  2 lbs

1. Pour the milk into the 2 gallon pot and place the pot over another pot on the stovetop.  Heat the milk until the temperature reached 88 to 90 degrees F.  Then sprinkle the culture on top of the milking let set for 3-5 minutes.  Using the ladle, gently stir for 3-5 minutes.

2. Keep the milk at 88-90 degrees, stirring occasionally, for 40 minutes.

3. Stir in the calcium chloride and let set for 5 minutes.

4. Stir the milk using an up and down motion with the ladle.  Stop stirring briefly and pour the diluted rennet over the top of the ladle, and then continue stirring for 1 minute.  Hold the ladle to the top of the milk’s surface in several spots to help still it.

5. Keep the milk at 88 -90 degrees and let the curd set until it breaks cleanly, about 45 minutes.  Then, cut the curd mass into 3/8 inch cubes with a knife and let rest for 5 minutes.

6. Heat the curds  very gradually, stirring gently, to 102 degrees over 45 minutes.  Keep the curds at 102 degrees and stir for 15 minutes.  Let the curds settle for 15 to 30 minutes, and then scoop out the whey to 1 inch above the curds.

7. Stir the curds and slowly add cold tap water (about 60 degrees) until the whey reaches 80 to 86 degrees,  Maintain the temperature and stir for 15 minutes.  Next, scoop out the whey to the level of the curds and stir for 10 minutes.  Position the colander over another pot.  Carefully pour the curds into the colander and let drain reserving the whey.  Set the colander over a pot of hot water and stir the curd with your hands for 20 minutes, keeping the curds at 80 to 86 degrees.  Taste the curds; they should be sweet and mild.

8. Sprinkle the curds with 1 tsp salt and stir well; the whey coming from the curds will become milky-white.  Cover the colander with the pot lid and let the curds set for 5 – 10 minutes.  Add the remaining 1 tsp salt, stir again, and let the curds mellow for 5-10 more minutes.

9. Place the form on a tray or drainboard, dampen the cheesecloth with the reserved whey, and line the form with it.  Fill the form with the curds, pressing and packing them in by hand.  When all the curds are packed into the form fold the cloth over the top and place the follower on top.

10. Place the form into the press. If your press has a screw with a pressure gauge, start with 10lbs pressure.  If you are using a strap press, apply pressure just until you see a bit of white whey coming from the bottom of the form.  Press for 15 minutes, maintaining room temperature (68 to 72 degrees) if possible.

11. Increase pressure to 20lbs.  Press for 15 minutes.

12. Release the pressure and remove the follower.  Remove the cheese from the form, unwrap it, and flip it over.  Rearrange the cheese cloth in the form, and then replace the cheese, pressing the cloth into the form along with it; the rind should be knobby and you should still see the outline of the curds, but the mass shouldn’t fall apart.  If the mass starts to fall apart as you handle it, leave it in the form and increase the pressure for 15 minutes more before turning.

13.  Replace the follower and increase the pressure to 30lbs; there should be lots of resistance from the cheese without a lot of whey coming out.  Press for 1 hour more.

14. Repeat the steps again; the rind should be closing nicely with only small outlines of the curd.

15. Rewrap the cheese and place it in the press.   Insert the follower and increase the pressure to 50lbs.  Press for 12 hours or overnight.

 16. Age, vacuum-sealed or with a natural rind, for 2-3 months.

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