So you’re done making your delicious cheddar cheese, the curds are pressed and you’ve removed the cheddar from the mold, it is time to bandage your cheese! Here are some useful directions that will allow for a perfectly bandaged block of cheddar, ready to age.
1. You can begin by cutting 2 circles of muslin cloth which is just slightly bigger than the top of the cheese. Now melt some lard or butter (lard is better for binding) and soak the cloth in it. This is to help the cloth to adhere to the cheese surface. Be sure to wring the cloth of excess.
2. Next, spread the cloth evenly over the surface and smooth it out from center to the edge.
3. After that, bandage the other end and repress it for about an hour at max pressure.
4. Now the side should be finished in a similar manner to the top. Put it back to press overnight.
5. Once you have removed the cheddar from the press, it will be wrapped in cloth and ready to age for around 8-24 months. To ensure this goes successfully, the cloth must be airtight and well pressed against the surface of the cheese. You should wipe away the excess lard/butter from the surface of the bandage before you place it in the cave.
6. You can now place it on a shelf in the cave at 55F and 85% humidity. Turn it once a day for the first 8-12 weeks.
7. The first natural molds will begin to show after the first 2-3 weeks. These will continue to grow and spread over time. You should begin turning only two times a week after 2-3 months of aging.
8. The mold will eventually dry off as the moisture of the cheese decreases, leaving the surface quite rustic after 8-12 months.