White Cheddar (Brazos Valley)
15 years ago, Rebeccah Salmeri decided to teach herself how to make cheese. Living in Waco, Texas in the traditional agricultural and crafts community Homestead Heritage, Rebeccah was looking for a way to use some extra spring milk that the community’s Brown Swiss cows had been producing. Using books and experimentation, she gradually began producing dairy products, hard and soft cheeses, eventually teaching her craft to others. In May of 2005, Rebeccah’s cousin Marc Kuehl visited the community and decided to stay and make cheese with her. Together, the pair founded Brazos Valley Cheese.
Since then the company has continuously grown—from making two 36-gallon batches per week to using a 200-gallon vat, to purchasing a 400-gallon vat that was custom made in the Netherlands and building an underground aging cave. Milk is sourced from three local Brazos Valley dairies, where Jersey and Brown Swiss cows graze freely outside. All of the company’s cheeses are raw milk cheeses.
Wheels of Brazos Valley White Cheddar are rubbed with vegetable shortening and bandaged with cheesecloth in the style of a traditional farmhouse cheddar. According to Marc Kuehl, the bandage allows the cheese to breathe during three to six months of maturation.
This cheddar is bouncy and springy in texture. Taste is quite mild, with pleasant, slightly sour and milky flavors.
Pair it with an unoaked chardonnay.