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How to Make Cheddar in Just One Hour


Taking on the challenge of making your own fresh cheese can be a fun and tasty project. There are lots of different types of cheeses that are easy to make at home and don’t take up a lot of time such as Ricotta, Queso Blanco, and even fresh chèvre. Typically we associate these fresh white cheeses with home cheesemaking because of their quick prep time, but what about making something that packs a bit more of a punch? Claudia Lucero of Urban Cheesecraft has come up with a recipe for Cheddar that will be ready in just one hour. Sorcery, you say? Think again!

Lucero’s cookbook, One-Hour Cheese, which was released earlier this year, includes a recipe for Smoky Cheater, a wheel of cheddar cheese that can be prepared in just one hour.

Usually, the cheddaring process takes a long time. When the curds are separated from the whey, they need to be cut and stacked up on top of each other over and over again to squeeze out any excess moisture. This allows for the sharp flavor that will develop over time. Then the curds are put through a mill to chop up the stacks and create the curds that will be pressed into molds. From there, wheels of cheddar are typically aged anywhere between two and ten months.

So how can you fit two to ten months of aging into just one hour? Well, you can’t really—but you can come close! Smoky Cheater, as you might have assumed by its name, is a faux cheddar. But that’s not to say it’s not without its redeeming qualities. It has the taste of cheddar but the texture of a fresh cheese.

Photo via Chicago Tribune

Photo via Chicago Tribune

Smoky Cheater is a bit squeaky and does not melt, but the rind of the cheese is golden and crusty. According to Lucero, this makes it like a self-contained grilled cheese sandwich in every bite.

You can find the recipe for Smoky Cheater at the Chicago Tribune, as well as a helpful video. If you’re interested in different types of cheeses you can make at home, you can check out Lucero’s book One-Hour Cheddar or browse some of the recipes we’ve got right here on the culture website—e’ve got recipes for fresh chèvre, ricotta, queso blanco, and even how to make your own “processed” cheese!

Feature Photo via NPR

Jamie Ditaranto

Jamie Ditaranto is a senior at Emerson College and an online editorial intern for culture, who enjoys writing, photography, and travel. She finds a way to sneak cheese into just about every meal and is a sucker for free samples.