Derby cheese is a milder cheddar originating from Derbyshire, England. It has a higher moisture content than traditional cheddar and a shorter aging period.
- Heat the milk to 84°F. Add the starter and mix slowly for one minute with an up-and-down motion. Cover and allow to ripen for 45 minutes.
- Keeping the temperature steady at 84°F, add the diluted rennet using the same up-and-down motion used for incorporating the starter. If using farm fresh cow's milk, mix for 2 minutes longer.
- Cover and allow to set for 1 hour, or until you have a clean break. Cut the curd into ½-inch cubes.
- Heat the curds to 94°F, increasing the temperature by only 2°F every 5 minutes. Stir periodically to keep the curds from sticking together (matting). Once the temperature has reached 94°F, maintain the temperature and stir continuously for 10 minutes.
- The curd will be matted by this point. Scoop out the mass and place it on a cutting board; cut the curd into ½-inch slices. If the curd has not matted, this might mean the curd temperature went below 94°F while you were stirring it. Fix it by scooping the curds into a colander, then suspending the colander over the hot whey in the pot and placing the lid on top of that. Leave the curds this way for 5 minutes (no longer!), and you should have a solid, cuttable curd.
- Lay the curd slices on a draining board and cover them with a clean towel that has been dampened in 94°F water. Leave curds to drain this way for 1 hour. Keep the covering towel hot and damp for the duration of the draining period. Turn the slices over every 10 minutes.
- Place the curd slices in a bowl and gently mill them with your fingers into quarter-size pieces, being careful not to squeeze them too much. After they are all of fairly uniform size, add the salt and stir it in with your hands.
- Put the curds in a 2-pound cheese press lined with butter muslin. Press at 15 pounds of pressure for 10 minutes.
- Take the cheese out of the press, peel away the butter muslin, flip it, rewrap it, and place it back into the press at 30 pounds of pressure for 2 hours.
- Remove, undress, flip, and re-dress the cheese and press it at 50 pounds of pressure for 24 hours.
- Take the cheese out of the press, undress it, and place it on a drying mat at room temperature away from drafts to dry for 3-5 days, or until the outside rind is dry to the touch. Wax the cheese, and age it at 50-55°F for 2-3 months.
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