Up Close with Face Rock Clothbound Cheddar

Up Close with Face Rock Clothbound Cheddar

A shining star in our aged cheddar lineup is Clothbound Cheddar. Face Rock Clothbound presents with a rich and exquisitely flakey texture that delivers a nutty, complex flavor that is a signature of our rugged Southern Oregon coastal terroir.

sliced wedge of face rock clothbound cheddar on white background

Our Clothbound lineup includes Classic, Peppercorn Harvest, and Face 2 Face. In 2018, our Classic Clothbound took home the 1st place ribbon in the American Cheese Society (ACS) national competition, a Good Food Award in 2019, and a 3rd place at the 2022 ACS competition. Peppercorn Harvest Clothbound won 1st place at both the 2019 and 2022 ACS competition, and Face 2 Face Clothbound won a 2nd place at the 2022 ACS competition.

rack with wheels of aging clothbound wheels

Clothbound cheddars can be found at specialty cheese counters and dedicated cheese shops around the country. We also sell ½ lb wedges of Clothbound in our online store separately or in a sampler box which we will ship directly to you. We’ve even had people buy a whole wheel to anchor an epic wedding cheese tower! Try our Clothbound Sampler to taste all three of these special cheddars.

three wedges of clothbound cheddar

Clothbound Cheddar couldn't be a better addition to cheese plates! It stands on its own, and is also a great pairing cheese. Try it with olives, cured meats, marinated artichokes, sundried tomatoes, roasted garlic, fig jam, sweet-tart Cherries, pepper jelly, and honey.

We pulled one of our cheesemakers away from the vat to find out more about what makes Face Rock Creamery Clothbound a standout in the cheese case. Enjoy their insights!

What’s the basic process for making a Clothbound wheel?

At Face Rock Creamery we take freshly milled curd from our prized cheddar and place it in a round 10-pound mold. We press it at 60 pounds of pressure for 10-20 minutes. We take the cheese out of the mold and wrap it with cheese cloth bandages. Then we return the cheese to the mold for an overnight press. The next morning, we take it out of the mold, smooth a butter coating over all the bandaged surface and off to the cave it goes. By the time it’s ready to enjoy 13 months later, the wheel will have lost about 1/10th of its weight in moisture and acquired a gorgeous rind.

wheel of fresh cheddar being wrapped in clothbound

What happens with the wheels in the aging room?

The technical term for tending cheese as it ages is Affinage. Our wheels are flipped daily with TLC to keep the moisture content even throughout the wheel. They are brushed on a regular basis and kept at a certain temperature for 13 months. As they rest, a gorgeous rind forms as the flavor and texture transforms inside. We have only one person conducting this labor of love which leads to a consistent final product.

How do you know a cheese is ready to eat after it has been aging?

By having 19 years of experience producing Clothbound cheddar!

What is special about the Face Rock Clothbound process?

All Clothbound cheeses need a coating of something fat based. The traditional coating is animal rendered fat (lard). We use butter for an extra touch that I feel makes a big difference for our Clothbound flavor.

Should I remove the bandage before eating, and can I eat the rind of Clothbound cheddar?

Yes, remove the bandage layer before you eat the cheese. As far as the rind, it’s an individual choice. I do not eat the rind of our Clothbound myself but know some that do and they like it.

image showing the clothbound layer being peeled away

Why does a 13-month Clothbound Cheddar taste more dry/sharp than a 13-month block of Extra Aged Cheddar?

It comes down to the aging process we use for each style. Clothbound cheddar breathes while it ages and dries, while our vacuum packaged cheese retains all its moisture as it ages. Our Clothbound has the moisture content of a parmesan, 30%.

What’s the best way to store Clothbound cheddar at home once I open the package?

You have leftover cheese? If you do, tightly wrap the remaining wedge in parchment or actual cheese wrap paper.

What’s your personal favorite drink and food pairing with Clothbound?

I like to keep it simple and classic. Room temperature Clothbound, fresh pear slice, a quality cracker and a glass of Oregon Pinot Noir.

Read more

Face Rock is a 2023 Good Food Awards Finalist

Face Rock is a 2023 Good Food Awards Finalist

Face Rock Creamery's Clothbound Cheddar Featured in Culture Magazine

Face Rock Creamery's Clothbound Cheddar Featured in Culture Magazine

Face Rock Creamery Brings Home Gold at 2023 American Cheese Society Competition

Face Rock Creamery Brings Home Gold at 2023 American Cheese Society Competition