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Thursday, 21 June 2018

Cheddar - a classic cheese


"Once cheddar was 'Cheddar', a large, hard-pressed barrel of cheese made by a particular process in the village of Cheddar in Somerset, which is close to deep caves that are perfect for maturing the cheeses.

The slightest variation in milk origin, temperatures used, type of rennet and how much, drainage techniques, salting, size and ageing will all produce different flavours in what seem to be the same cheese. True cheddar’s special difference is based on cheddaring, a process of cutting the curds, stacking these and then turning them by hand as they drained and firmed under their own weight. That plus the flavour of milk made from the grasses of Cheddar Gorge made a unique, easily liked eating and cooking cheese. But no one thought to protect the name or the process, hence cheddar-type cheese are today made all round the world, some good, some awful and very few in the least bit traditional.

Availability
Everywhere, all the time, but what’s available close to you might not be the best.

Choose the best
The only guarantee of tasting cheddar the way it once was and should be is to buy cheese labelled West Country Farmhouse Cheddar, which guarantees it is made with milk only from four counties of South West England. Some of these are still made with unpasteurised milk, which better reflects the grasses and wildflowers of the farms on which the cows were feeding and that gives a notably fuller flavour and sharper finish.

These genuine cheddars will be wrapped in cloth and matured nine months before being sold and often are aged very much longer, as vintage cheddars. If you can, discover when a cheese was made, those made in early spring when grasses are juiciest and tastiest will be especially good.

Even cheeses made in the cheddar-style and with unpasteurised milk are often made with a rennet starter that includes enzymes designed to affect the ultimate flavour, meaning they are sweeter (usually) or more acidic (seeming older) than if they had used traditional rennets. Block cheddars, made by an industrialised process and from pasteurised milk, are cheaper but very often can be very enjoyable cheeses indeed, especially those from New Zealand.

Store it
Like all cheese, cheddar and cheddar-style cheeses should be tightly wrapped so their cut surfaces are protected from the air. Modern cling film is quite the best and the cheese should also be kept cool; if refrigerated it should be brought to room temperature before eating. The worst thing you can do to any cheese is to store it at room temperature or unwrapped; avoid a cheese bell.

Cook it
Cheddar is one of the diner’s and the cook’s best friends. As well as providing a very satisfying snack or sandwich, by itself or with almost anything savoury including pickles and chutney, cheddar accompanies fruit, especially apples and pears, fruity jams in sandwiches, fruit pies, fine wines and beer. It can be cubed into salads, grated onto baked potatoes or into savoury pastry and where would the food writer be without the classic phrase: 'sprinkle with grated cheddar and pop under the grill until bubbling and golden brown.' But never believe that mild cheddar is suitable for cooking, as its flavour simply disappears; if you're cooking with cheddar-style cheese, choose something with real heft to its flavour – you’ll use less and get better results.

Cheddar can provide some of cheese’s greatest taste thrills. So don’t just pick up a pack and hope. Try different styles and ages. There’s bound to be one that’s better than the others for you. But you must taste a real West Country Farmhouse Cheddar and in it sniff farmyards and summery fields, taste acidity and creaminess and finally know what the fuss has been about – for centuries."

Above words and picture from article here

Do you like cheddar? You may have another favourite cheese.
Cheese can be enjoyed with low carb crackers, see recipe here

You will find a variety of articles and recipe ideas within this blog, and not all may be suitable for you. If you may have any food allergies, or underlying health issues please take these into account. If you are a diabetic and not sure how certain foods may affect your blood sugars, test is best, i.e. use your meter.

All the best Jan

30 comments:

Author R. Mac Wheeler said...


I should visit you much later in the day.

Nothing like having raving salivary glands at 8 in the morning.

eileeninmd said...

Cheddar is one of my favorite cheeses. Great post, thanks for sharing.
Enjoy your day!

Christine said...

Thanks for this useful information, we use cheddar mostly.

Tom said...

classicly yummy!

Catarina said...

Cheddar is one the cheeses I have been buying lately since I found one that is lactose free.

DUTA said...

Interesting info about one of the more popular cheeses around!

Lorrie said...

Cheddar is the cheese I grew up with, alas, not from one of the four official counties, but still very tasty!

Jules said...

I love cheddar. Possibly a little too much. X

William Kendall said...

It's a tasty cheese!

Mary Kirkland said...

I do love cheese and cheddar is so good.

Chris Lally said...

Good stuff! Love cheddar!!

Valerie-Jael said...

Cheddar cheese is one of my faves. Hugs, Valerie

Elephant's Child said...

I am a big fan of cheese. Lots of varieties.

The Joy of Home with Martha Ellen said...

A good sharp cheddar is my favorite cheese. When we were in England we really enjoyed your wonderful cheddar. Here in the US we are able to get really good cheddar as well. Cabot Sharp Cheddar is a great one! Have a great weekend. ♥

Cheryl mylittlepieceofengland said...

I love a piece of cheddar, you’ve made my mouth water even though I’ve had my dinner xx

happyone said...

Oh yes, cheddar. A great cheese and we eat a fair amount of it at my house.

Martha said...

This is definitely a classic! I buy it now and again.

Jan (JFM) said...

Cheddar is always a winner in our house. Great post Jan!

Margaret-whiteangel said...

They certainly have cheeses different these days, even though it's cheese :) That's a bit Irish!

baili said...

wow this is terrific write up!

for me though i am not cheese fan yet knowing about particular form of cheese is great as my both elders like this food a lot!
thank you for such informative and interesting post my friend!

Bob Bushell said...

Great news item from cheddar Jan.

Iris Flavia said...

Ah, thank you for the tips, Jan, I will look out for the label West Country Farmhouse Cheddar (but am not in high hopes to find it here).
Indeed I´ve tasted heaps of "bad" cheddar over the years. Australian Coon is very yummy, that´s where I had my first one.

Marco Luijken said...

That looks so tasty. Lovely.

Greetings, Marco

David Gascoigne said...

I love Cheddar. I buy aged Cheddar all the time. Aged Cheddar with a fresh baguette and a glass of Merlot is from heaven. I hate to see you advocating that we should wrap it in single use plastic . Before the plastics age people had perfectly satisfactory ways to store their cheese and that’s what we should be doing, not contributing to pollution of the worst kind.

Linda said...

I love Cheddar for an everyday cheese. I really like Kraft Medium Cheddar. Sharp and Mild are too strong for me. Yes, Mild is to strong.

I have never met a cheese I did not like except Kraft Mild Cheddar. I really dislike cheese that has gotten bubbly and crispy.

Phil Slade said...

Some more expert advice there Jan. We find that a lot of this supermarket cheese is very bland and as you say, it's best to source an original type. Used to love Wensleydale but even that has lost its flavour. Farmers have a lot to answer for in many ways - bland meat, tasteless cheese and in not looking after our wildlife. All linked together IMHO.

carol l mckenna said...

Oh love cheese ~ especially cheddar!

Happy Weekend,
A ShutterBug Explores,
aka (A Creative Harbor)

Teresa said...

Muy sabroso el queso. Feliz noche.

Magic Love Crow said...

I love all kinds of cheese, too much! LOL!

ANNA said...

Gracias en el blog hay un traductor por si te puede servir para seguir leiendo.
Gracias por tu paso significa mucho ya que un personage que me hace la vida imposible diciendo que le copio poemas y muchos seguidores se han ido
Besos