One of my favourite semi-hard cheeses is Colby which originates from Wisconsin, USA.
Colby is similar to Cheddar, but because it is produced using the washed curd method, it has a much milder flavour. It is delicious and an easy semi-hard cheese to make at home.
The one unusual ingredient that this cheese contains is Annatto, which is made from the seeds of Bixa orellana, a shrub native to South America.
Colouring has been added to cheese as a ruse to trick the buyer into thinking that they are getting a product made with premium milk. Before Annatto was used for colouring, cheese makers would use saffron, turmeric, and marigold petals to achieve the desirable yellowish colour.
It is still used today in most commercial cheese making. The cup in the picture above contains only 5 drops, diluted with non-chlorinated water.
Anyway, I have taken the time to make a video tutorial. It shows you how to make Colby cheese with full instructions during my commentary.
The full Colby recipe is available in our cheese making book, “Keep Calm and Make Cheese – The Beginners Guide to Cheese Making at Home“, which is available in our shop.
Now for the Taste Test: It was amazing! Smooth texture in the mouth. Mild to medium strength flavour, with a big hint of cheddar taste. Slightly stronger than commercially made Colby (we did a side by side comparison). My cheese had far more depth of flavour. The colour was exactly the same as the commercial product.
I must say that this cheese has shocked me. Never before have I produced such a perfect cheese. Well maybe I have, but not quite like this.
To prove a point, I served some up to friends, one of which is a Colby lover. I think she had a cheesegasim (is there such a word?) when she first tasted it. Her face told me that this cheese was a winner!
Verdict: 5 stars and two thumbs up! This is a must make cheese for all budding curd nerds.