The most widely purchased and eaten cheese in the world. Cheddar cheeses were originally made in England, however today they are manufactured in many countries all over the world. Fully cured Cheddar is a hard, natural cheese. It is shaped like a drum, 15 inches in diameter, with natural rind bound in cloth. Normally, the color of Cheddar ranges from white to pale yellow. Some Cheddars, however, have a color added, giving the cheese a yellow-orange color. Cheddar is always made from cow's milk and has a slightly crumbly texture if properly cured. If the cheese is too young, the texture is smooth. Cheddar gets a sharper taste the longer it matures. It is generally matured between 9 and 24 months. The important thing in purchasing Cheddar, is to consider the age of the cheese. Milk is heated to 86 degrees F and inoculated with a lactic starter culture. After an hour rennet is added. When the curd is firm, it is ground down to marble-sized bits which are heated to 100 degrees F. The whey is discarded and it is sliced into slabs. The curd is pressed overnight and stands for 4 days in a cool atmosphere. Unlike other well known cheeses, Cheddar's name is not protected so it has been used and abused by many producers around the world. A cheese made from whole milk of cows that ranges in color from natural white to orange, depending on the addition of the natural additive known as annatto that is used to color the orange grades of cheese. Cheddar has a flavor that ranges from mild and sweet to sharp and tangy, which is a result of the age of the cheese. Mild cheddar is aged from 2 to 4 months. Medium cheddar is aged from 4 to 6 months. Sharp cheddar is aged from 6 months to a year and extra sharp cheddar for 1 year or longer. Cheddar cheese originated in the town of Cheddar, England and is one of the most popular and versatile varieties of cheese available. It is often used in sandwiches with luncheon meat or as grilled cheese, as an appetizer or snack, as a dessert cheese with pie, and as an ingredient in a variety of cooked dishes.