Recipe: Leicester

This cheese is very like cheddar, with many of the same procedures included in the recipe. It can be eaten young or left to age for a more pronounced flavor. Leicester is usually colored, but this is an optional step.


Ready to Learn More?INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. In a cheese pot, heat the milk to 85°F. A water bath method is best for this recipe.
  2. Once the milk has reached temperature, add the starter by sprinkling it over the surface of the milk and allowing it to rehydrate for 1 minute before stirring it in with a cheese spoon using long, steady up-and-down strokes.
  3. Cover the milk and allow it to ripen for 45 minutes, undisturbed.
  4. Add the coloring by pouring it into the milk through the holes of the cheese spoon and stirring it in very well, to ensure it is incorporated evenly.
  5. With the milk still at 85°F, add diluted rennet, pouring it into the milk through the holes of the cheese spoon, and stirring the rennet in for 1 full minute using long up-and-down strokes. Cover the milk and allow it to set for 45 minutes, undisturbed and maintained at 85°F throughout.
  6. Cut the curd into 1/4-inch cubes with a curd knife. Let them rest, stirring gently every couple of minutes, for 15 minutes.
  7. Gradually increase the temperature of the curds and whey to 95°F over 20 minutes. Keep stirring intermittently and gently to prevent matting during the heating time. Maintain the curds and whey at 95°F for 30 minutes.
  8. Suspend a colander over a clean bowl or sink and pour in the hot curds. Let them drain for 20 minutes.
  9. Place the cooled, matted mass of curds on a cutting board and slice into 2-inch long strips. Lay them on a draining board or mat and drain, covered with a clean towel wrung in warm water, for 1 hour, turning curds every 20 minutes and keeping the towel warm.
  10. Crumble the slices into dime-size pieces. Place them in a large bowl and stir for a few minutes.
  11. Add the salt and continue to stir for one more minute.
  12. Put curds into a damp cheesecloth-lined press and press at 15 pounds for 30 minutes.
  13. Remove cheese from mold, peel away cheesecloth, flip cheese over, re-dress it in the cheesecloth, place it back into the mold, and press at 30 pounds for 2 hours.
  14. Remove, undress, flip, re-dress, and press the cheese at 50 pounds of pressure for 24 hours.
  15. Take cheese out of the press and peel away cheesecloth. Rub cheese with a little salt and set it on the counter on a draining mat to air-dry for a few days, or until it is dry to the touch.
  16. If desired, wax the cheese once it is done air drying, then age it at 55°F for 12-16 weeks for a young Leicester. Age it for up to 9 months for a more pronounced flavor.