Lee was very interested in making Cheddar too, and I wanted to make another one, follow my principles, and keep the pipeline full, even if I'd never actually tasted one of my cheddars at this point. Alda and Einar came around too, and while we had milk heating up and maturing, and letting the rennet set the milk, we tried a few cheeses. Iceland was represented by generic brauðostur and Óðal ostur, England with their generic bulk cheddar, Cathedral City, and my very first wheel of farmhouse cheddar, one month old.
My cheese was inedibly sour. Complete failure. I was really quite upset. At least bad homebrew is still decent, and it's still beer, but this was very very sour, and really quite inedible.
Still, one must carry on. And by golly by gosh did it look good at least! I'd expected this first cheese to be less than perfect, 1 month was the bare minimum given for aging the cheese, especially for a cheddar, and my cheese had been oosing liquid though the wax for most of it's aging process. I'd probably not let the cheese air dry long enough first, and the book confirmed that "excessive sourness" was normally caused by "excessive moisture" The second cheese, which was still aging on the shelf, had been air dryed for about twice as long, for just that reason.
This night was cheddar number three, and we were more accurate with our temperatures and times as well, and I ended up letting it air dry for about 15 days, vastly more than the 3-4 the first cheese got.
However, just because it was inedible, it still was very much CHEESE, so we didn't throw it away, we just stuck it back on the shelf to age a bit longer. I'm writing this almost 4 weeks later, and though the exposed wedge had grown some nice mould, we cut another hunk out of it, and it was now quite edible! Quite decent even! Decent enough that people kept picking off more bits to eat. I'm leaving for russia tomorrow, and when I get back in two more weeks, it should be even better. Like with homebrew, patience helps, but still, I'm finding dairy to be a lot less forgiving than beer :)