1. BYH Picture of the Week (POW) - Submit your Pics Now !!
    Click HERE!
    (if you are logged in, this notice can be dismissed using the "x" to the top right of the notice)

  2. Official Poll: What Herd Animals Do You Own?
    (if you are logged in, this announcement can be dismissed using the "x" to the top right of the notice)

colby vs. cheddar, what's the difference?

Discussion in 'Recipes and Kitchen Tips' started by doo dah, Sep 27, 2010.

  1. Sep 27, 2010
    doo dah

    doo dah Chillin' with the herd

    Joined:
    May 19, 2009
    Messages:
    74
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    29
    This isn't really about homemade cheese, but it's about milk products so I figured it probably goes here. I know colby is both smoother and milder than cheddar, but what is the real difference between them? Are they made differently? Is colby simply a milder cheddar? How do they make it creamier?

    These questions go in my mind every time our family switches cheese type.
  2. Sep 27, 2010
    patandchickens

    patandchickens Overrun with beasties

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2009
    Messages:
    781
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    89
    The differences between different kinds of cheese depend on a whole bunch of things, including what exact cultures are used, what temperatures and for how long, how the curds are cut and stirred-or-left-to-clump, whether the curds are rinsed (some whey replaced with warm water, to let curds set in a less-acidic solution), etcetera. All these factors affect the cheese's taste, texture, creaminess, ageing characteristics, etc. In a very complex and near-incomprehensible way IMO :p

    The issue of what "defines" cheddar (or colby either for that matter) is probably not something you want to get into -- it will make your head hurt :p And it depends a great deal on WHOSE cheddar (or whose colby) you are talking about, as grocery-store type cheese is labelled as far as I can tell as a PR thing rather than necessarily reflecting a particular manufacturing process.

    But if you really want some sort of answer, overgeneralized though it is: In principle, the "truest" cheddar involves a particular method of cutting, draining, and repeatedly inverting the curds in a big block; and I believe the curds are normally not washed. And in principle, colby does not involve this true "cheddaring" process but does involve washed curds. Otherwise however they are not all THAT unalike in how they are supposed to be made, at least not as dissimilar as either of them are to (say) Brie or mozzarella or swiss.

    I have no idea what if any legal controls there are on what mfr's call cheese; it sure seems like for plain ol' cheap cheese from the supermarket (as opposed to fancy imported or artisan-type cheeses) the mfr can call it pretty much whatever they think will sell it :p

    Pat
  3. Sep 27, 2010
    freemotion

    freemotion Self Sufficient Queen

    Joined:
    May 19, 2009
    Messages:
    3,271
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    154
    Location:
    Western MA
    It is similar to bread in that most breads are made with the same basic ingredients, but the methods change and can make a very different loaf. I'm talking about real bread, not what you see on the grocery store shelf, which is mostly made from the lab and waste products from other industries. :/

    Some cheese names are protected and restricted, but others are not, that is why you see such variation in, say, store-brand cheddar vs "good" brand cheddars. And aging makes a huge difference in taste and texture.

    There are a few basic categories of cheeses, each having the same basic recipe/ingredients, but variations in the method....temp, time, draining, aging, etc. Whether a cheese is hung or pressed, whether it is turned or not, how long it is aged and at what temp/humidity, and on and on. A slight variation in temp, for example, can make a completely different cheese.
  4. Sep 27, 2010
    doo dah

    doo dah Chillin' with the herd

    Joined:
    May 19, 2009
    Messages:
    74
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    29
    Wow! I never knew there were so many variables :th ! Thank you both for your very informative answers :D.

Share This Page