Another cheese making goal for 2011 is to better understand the aging process. I now feel that I can produce a good quality cloth-bound cheddar. But how long should I age it for? Up until this point, I've simply been holding on to my cheeses and breaking into them willy-nilly. If it looked good on the outside, I would chance it and crack the wheel open. But would it have been better to open it up at 3, 6, or 12 months? I had no way of knowing.
But this past November my parents gave me a 7 gallon stock pot, which will allow me to process larger batches of cheese. Coupled with this pot, I've purchased extra cheese molds. Now I can make two 3 lb wheels of cheese under the exact same conditions, but then try them at different ages. Today I made my first batch with the new equipment and I'm very excited. Hopefully onward and upward from here!