What are the different types of cheddar cheese?
Cheddar cheese comes in mild, sharp, and extra sharp varieties. Mild cheddars are aged from 3 to 6 months, while sharp cheddars are aged 9 to 12 months. Extra sharp cheddars are generally aged up to two years, though some cheddars are aged as long as 10 years or more.
Why is cheddar cheese orange?
In 17th-century England, where cheddar cheese originated, the milk for cheddar cheese was often produced by cows with a diet rich in beta-carotene which lent an orange tint to the cheese. The orange color became associated with cheddar, and cheesemakers through the centuries have added coloring to create orange cheddar cheese. In its natural state today, cheddar cheese is white or pale yellow. Orange cheddar cheese is made by adding an odorless vegetable dye called annatto, which is the fruit of the achiote tree. The flavor of white cheddar vs. orange cheddar is not affected by the color of the cheese, but by how long it is aged.
Where can I learn how to make cheddar cheese at home?
There are many instructional videos on the Internet. The process for making cheddar cheese at home is fairly straightforward. But the difficulty in perfecting the process and aging the cheese for three months to two years causes many would-be cheesemakers to leave the cheddar recipes to the professionals.