Once you have pressed your curds and removed the finished cheddar from the cheese mold, your cheese is ready to be bandaged. Follow the directions below and you will have a beautiful, bandaged cheddar, ready to age.
If needed, we also have a detailed recipe for making Cheddar Cheese.
Start by cutting two circles of butter muslin, slightly bigger than the top of the cheese. Melt some butter or lard, we prefer using lard because it binds better. Soak the cloth in the butter or lard to help it adhere to the surface of the cheese. Once soaked, wring the cloth to get rid of any excess.
Spread the cloth evenly over the top surface of the cheese and smooth out from the center to the edge.
Bandage the bottom surface of the cheese and smooth out from the center to the edge. Once both ends are covered, place the cheese back into the cheese mold, and press for one hour at full pressing weight, from the recipe.
After pressing, remove the cheese from the cheese mold.
Cut a strip of butter muslin slightly shorter than the cheese hight and slightly longer than the cheese circumference. Once cut, the new cloth should slightly overlap the cloth already applied to the cheese.
Soak the cloth in butter or lard, wring off excess, then apply it to the remaining surface of the cheese.
Once done, place the cheese back into the cheese mold and press overnight, at maximum weight, for the recipe.
After pressing, the cheese can be removed from the cheese mold and will now ready to age for 8-24 months. The cloth should be well pressed into the surface of the cheese, with no air space between the cloth and the cheese. Any excess butter or lard can be scraped or wiped from the surface of the bandage before placing the cheese into the cave.
The cheese should be aged around 55F with 85% humidity and should be turned once a day for the first 8-12 weeks.
After about 2-3 weeks, the first natural molds will begin to grow, they will spread over time. At 2-3 months the cheese should be turned two times per week.
This mold will eventually dry off as the cheese moisture decreases, leaving a beautifully rustic surface after about 8-12 months.