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 you are using farm fresh cow milk, mix for 2 minutes longer.
- Cover and allow to set for 1 hour, or until you have a clean break. When this is done, cut the curd into 1/2-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 that has been set upon a towel. Cut the curd into 1/2-inch slices. If the curd has not matted, don’t despair. 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 five 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 them 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 into 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 about 3 to 5 days, or until the outside rind is dry to the touch. Wax the cheese, and age it at 50° to 55°F for 2 to 3 months.
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