Category Archives: Semi-hard

Cheddar Curds 10-8-17

 

I always seem to come back to Cheddar Curds and although I haven’t posted in a while I am still making cheese. The problem usually comes down to time, I never have enough.

So as a time saving measure,  I had a friend of mine create a curd knife to try to cut the curd quicker.  It had limited success as it was a little bit big to turn well in the pot.

My last batch was a 14 lbs batch.  You can see it in the pictures before it I milled the curd.

Curd Knife
Curd Knife

Garlic Montasio – September 5th, 2016

Montasio is a cheese that has been around since the 13th century. It was traditionally made by monks living in the Moggio abbey, located at the top of the Carnic Alps. My recipe comes from Kent Walker Cheese in  Little Rock, AR. I first made this recipe more than a year ago, when I was a real newbie and had a hard time making a decent cheese. Today’s make came out perfectly, at least from the first reviews. Lets take a look at the recipe.

Original Ingredients List :
Cow Milk
2:1 Thermo/Meso Culture
Rennet
Garlic Cloves
Actual Ingredients List :
2 Gallon non-homogenized, 1 Gallon grocery store Cow Milk
1/16 tsp per gallon Mesophilic type II = 3/16 tsp
1/16 tsp per gallon TA61 Thermophilic  = 3/16 tsp
1 tsp Rennet
3 tsp minced store bought garlic
  • Heat milk to 70° add culture
  • Let culture set for 2-5 mins before mixing, mix in up and down motion, don’t stir.
  • Continue heating – Heat to 88°  should take 30-45 minutes.
  • Add rennet 1 tsp for the 3 gallons
  • Let rest for 60-75 mins,  with 1 gallon of grocery milk we waited 75 mins.
  • Cut curd to 1/4″
  • Heat to 102° stir for an hour,  heating took a little over 30 mins and stirred for 30 minutes more
  • Heat a pot of distilled water to 140°
  • Drain off 1/3 of the whey
  • Scald curd to 110° by adding heated water
  • Stir for 10 additional mins at 110°
  • Drain off most of the whey, its ok if there is a little left in the pot
  • Mix in the garlic breaking up the curds as you go to get a good mix
  • This will cause additional whey to be expelled, drain it off
  • Press curds into a mold
  • Press over night. If 8 lbs wheel press at 65lbs
  • Start with 8-10 lbs for first half hour
  • Double the weight for next hour, flip
  • We got up to 42 lbs. and left overnight
  • Soak in brine for 12-24 hours
  • We went for 15-16, it was a long day
  • Age 2-36 months
  • Coat in olive oil as needed to prevent mold

Update: Oct 1,2016 – I cut the wheel in half and Vacuum Sealed after testing it. The cheese had very little flavor but a great texture and creaminess to it. It might need more garlic next time or it might just need time. We will see.

Welcome to the Fair, July 27th-August 1st

It has been a great week at the Weld County fair making cheese for everyone to try.  Our booth was set up as a demonstration of what cheeses you can make at home.

fair booth
fair booth

The fair board is evaluating if Cheese should be a competition sport.  We had lots of interest in taking classes and making cheese.

This week we made:

Wednesday: Cheddar Curds – Cow Milk
Thursday: Asiago Pepato – Cow Milk
Friday: Manchago – Sheep Milk
Saturday: Ibores – Goat Milk
Sunday: Gruyere – Cow Milk

This week we ate:

  • Ibores – Goat
  • Chevre – Goat
  • Manchego – Sheep
  • Cheddar – Cow
  • Belper Knolle – Cow
  • Feta – Cow

July 9th – Stirred Curd Recipe AKA Cheddar Curds

Another batch of amazing milk from WiMo Farms and I used all 7 gallons for Cheddar. I am able to split the milk into 2 3.5 gallon batches and just combine the curd at the end to finish the process.

I have now chosen to make this recipe several times and under many conditions, so this is the first recipe I will add to a recipe section of this site.

curdblock
Curd blocks as I waited for the PH

One of the things that always bothers me about the process is that there are hundreds of places to make mistakes.  If there is some way to fake till you make, I want that short cut.  This recipe has that built in.  It is precise PH readings that we are waiting  to reach. Once the step of curd blocks has been reached, you just keep flipping until the PH reaches 5.4, then you stop.

frenchfries
Cut the curd into french fries to salt

Cheddar is a process not a type of cheese. Again this recipe lends itself to success by salting after the correct PH has been reached.

Just out of the press
1 lbs and a 2 lbs wheel of cheddar.

Everyone struggles with making a good looking wheel.  At first I thought it was just me. Afterall, I am new to cheese making and there must be a secret I’m missing. Over time I have come to the conclusion that everyone struggles, but that a good mold and some practice and most of us can come out with a decent looking wheel.

Happy 4th of July

Most of you probably spent the day doing something other than making cheese, but that is the way I started mine.  I have 10 gallons of fresh raw cow’s milk so we need to make cheese.

Getting the milk ready.
Getting the milk ready.

Today, I am going to make a quick batch of Swiss. We will use the same recipe as before.

Ingredients:
2.5 gallons whole milk
1/8 tsp MA4002 mesophilic culture
1/8 tsp propionic shimano
1 tsp Rennet

Process:
-Heat to 84
-Add Culture, rehydrate for 5 mins, mix for 1minute.
-Set for 45 mins at 84 – ph 6.07
-Add Rennet – mix for 2 mins – ph 6.13
-Set for 45 mins at 84
-Wait for clean break
-Cut 3/8 in cuts
-Rest for 5 mins
-Stir for 5 mins
-Rest for 5 more mins
-Remove 1/3 of the whey
-Replace with 130 water over 5 mins to bring the whey up to 95 while stirring
-Then just stir for 5 mins
-Add more hot water to bring up to 102 over 5-10 mins.
-Cook at 102 for 30-40 mins(I did 35 mins) – ph 6.28
-Drain whey down to 1 inch above curd
-I add a dinner plate on top of curd
-Add a 1/3, water filled, milk jug to weigh it down and begin press. for 15 mins
-Then press curds into a mold – iI used their own weight for 15 mins
-Flip curd use 10 lbs for 30 mins, Flip curd again use 10 lbs for 30 mins
-Flip curd use 20 lbs for total time of 5 hours
-Then rest the curd in the mold with no weight.

Aging:
The best part of Swiss is the aging process. 2 weeks cold age in the cheese cave. 3 weeks  warm age at room temp. anywhere from 68-80, at this point I wax it for 9 days to get the best bulge and eye development. Un-wax, wash well with brine and eat! Or seal-a-meal it and age as desired.  The period of warm aging is the most time consuming.  It will require that you wash with brine every day, you can skip a day but it get messy.

  • cold age july 5-18
  • warm age july 18-

A tale of two cultures – Havarti/Takelma -April 9

Many of the cheeses I have made involve adding two cultures, Swiss and Jarlsberg, Manchego, to name a few, however, I haven’t made many that require 2 mesophilic cultures. I started reading Mastering Artisan Cheesemaking some time ago and I am fascinated by many of the recipes.  They are more about technique than about the name on the cheese.

Today I made “same temperature, light brine, washed cheese” p260, it most closely resembles Havarti or St. Paulin.

cheese fresh from the brine.
cheese fresh from the brine.

The creamery also created a name for the cheese they were making, Takelma after native Americans close to where they make cheese.

This was also a chance to try out my new cheese mold that has a built in cheesecloth. I ordered the new mold from Amazon using Christmas cash.

Mold with follower and attached cheese cloth.
Mold with follower and attached cheese cloth.

I love it when Christmas extends all the way to April. The mold is super sturdy, easy to use, easy to clean. Wish I had a couple.

Ingredients:

  • 2 Gallons Whole milk
  • 1/8 tsp. MM100 Mesophilic
  • 1/16 tsp. C61 Mesophilic (Called for LM)
  • 1/4 tsp. rennet
  • 1/2 tsp. Calcium Chloride

Directions:

cheese curds in the mold
cheese curds in the mold
  • Heat milk to 79°  – mix in cultures, let sit for 5 minutes,
  • Stir for 2 minutes – Up and down motion, not stirring motion. (PH was 6.34)
  • Continue to Heat to 89°
  • Stir in Calcium Chloride for 1 minute – let rest for 5 before proceeding
  • Add Rennet for 1 minute, goal time is 45 minutes
  • wait for clean break, cut 1/4inch cubes slowly…over 20 minutes
  • Let rest for 15mins.
  • Heat 1 gallon of water to 89°  –
  • Drain off 1 gallon of whey, slowly add water and 1 teaspoon of salt while stirring
  • Stir and heat to 100°  –  over a 30 minute period
  • Press under whey for 10-15 minutes ( I put a plate on top of the curd and placed a half filled milk jug on top)
  • Drain whey and place into mold – pressed with 4 lbs for 15 mins.(Probably should have been 2 lbs.)
  • Flip curd for 30 and double the weight
  • Flip for an hour, flip for 8 hours
  • Brine for 2-3 hours per pound( I went for 4 hours total)
  • Pat dry and put in frig.
  • 2-3 months aging. Can be washed or waxed.

Note: When I began to age this cheese, I placed it into the wine frig and wiped it daily with a brine solution. After just a few days the top started to look dry and cracked, so I flipped it washed it in brine. Then the other side started to look the same, until I placed it in tupperware and the cheese is looking great.  I also put 4 drops of Annatto into a cup and half of brine and used it to wipe down the cheese daily.  It is aging as well as anything I have had in the frig. Higher humidity may be the answer, but if you can’t keep up the humidity, tupperware is the answer.

Annatto Brine rub
Annatto Brine rub

Sharp End of the Cheddar – March 19, 2016

I was going through some recipes a friend gave me and came across; “How to make sharp cheddar cheese“, by Ally Heers. Just last week I received two Mesophilic cultures: MM100 and C61 Meso type II, so decided to make this recipe with each culture. Making two cheeses at once keeps you on your toes to make sure the temps are always correct.  Below you will find the tweaked recipe and the things I did to make both of the cheeses.

  • 1 gallon of whole milk (2 gallons Safeway and Lucerne milk)
  •  1/8 tsp mesophilic culture (MM100, C61)
  • 1/2 tsp Calcium Chloride
  • 1/4  tsp rennet
  •  1 tablespoon of salt
  • Begin warming milk, add calcium chloride somewhere before 90°. I added at about 86° a few minutes before it reached 90.sharpcheedarmilk
  • Warm the milk to 90 F using a double boiler. Add 1/8 tsp  of mesophilic culture. Allow a couple minutes for the culture to
    re-hydrate. Mix thoroughly with a whisk or spoon in an up and down motion, the culture must be distributed evenly throughout the milk. Be careful not to stir it!
  • Let the milk ripen for 1 hour.
  • Put the 1/4 tsp of rennet into 1/4 cup of distilled water at least 20 mins before using. Slowly pour the rennet into the milk over a slotted spoon. Stir constantly in an up and down motion. Stir for several minutes.
  • Let the milk set for 1 to 2 hours. After 1 hour, I checked and it was reasonably firm but decided to go for 2 hours to let the flavor develop. Once a firm curd is set and a clean break can be cut, take a long knife and cut the curds into 1/4 inch cubes. (Curd for MM100 firmer)
  • Allow the curds to set for 15 minutes.
  • Slowly raise the milk to 102° F. It will take 45 minutes to raise the milk to this temperature. While you wait, gently stir the curds occasionally so they do not mat together. Cook the curds at 102° F for another 45 minutes. Keep stirring the curds every few minutes so they do not mat. (Strange thing happened here, I checked the PH,  MM100 was a 4.86 and the C61 was PH 6.05)
  • Drain the whey by pouring through a cheesecloth lined colander. Do this quickly without letting the curds to mat.
  • Put the curds back into the pot at 102 F. Separate any curds that have matted together. Add the tablespoon of salt and stir together. Keep the curds at temperature for 1 hour stirring occasionally. (I stirred every 5 mins, easiest to set a timer. This allowed me to sit most of this hour and not lose track of time.)
  • Gently put the curds into your cheesecloth lined mold.
  • Press the cheese at about 20 lbs. for 45 minutes. Remove the cheese and flip it. Press the cheese again at about 30 lbs. for 3 hours. Remove the cheese and flip it. Press the cheese for the third time at about 30-40 lbs. for 15 hours. (recipe originally called for 24 hrs but I didn’t want cheese to dry into the cheesecloth also called for more weight in final press.)
  • Remove the cheese from the press. Place the cheese on a cheese board and let dry at room temperature for 3 to 5 days. (waiting for it to dry)
  • Wax the cheese and age it in your refrigerator for 3 to 24 months. Remember the longer the cheese is aged the sharper it will taste! Every few days flip the cheese.

Make Notes:

Wheels after pressing.
Wheels after pressing.

The MM100 curd was very creamy with a sweet salty taste sort of like sour cream and it finished with 1.2 lbs of curd after pressing.

The C61 finished pressing with a firmer feel and the curd tasted a bit like a havati. Finished with 1.5 lbs of curd after pressing. Of course I could have my cultures mixed up, so when we taste the cheese, we will have to remake my favorite to try to duplicate.

Update: June or July and beyond.

Wheel has bulged from 2.5 inches to 4 inches.

Baby Swiss
2-26-2016

Baby Swiss
Baby Swiss ready for warmer aging

I took a class last fall that featured a Trappist style cheese and other hard cheeses like Swiss and Gruyere.  Most of the cheese I eat would be considered semi-hard to hard.  This is just what I like, however most of those cheeses require a lot of waiting.  Waiting is not my favorite thing to do.

So, last week, when I ended up with 2 gallons of goat milk, 1 gallon of Cozy cow whole milk and 2 gallons of Safeway brand Lucerne whole milk; I decided to start the waiting  and made  a baby swiss and a trappist style cheese.

The Baby Swiss recipe  comes from cheesemaking.com however, it is not on their site. It is in a downloadable recipe book for giving out your email address. It calls for 4 gallons of milk(I actually used 3 ½ gallons), Mesophilic culture, Propionic shermanii, and rennet.

Baby Swiss Directions:

  • 1 Gal Cozy Cow Whole, 1 Gal Lucerne Whole 1 ½ Gal Goat Milk
  • Heat to 84°, add Calcium Chloride, I used 1/2 tsp (Ph was 6.67)
  • 1/8 tsp MA4002, 1/8 tsp Propionic shermanii
  • Re-hydrate for 2 min, stir for 1, let sit for 45mins.
  • Add 1 tsp rennet to water, mix for 1 min, set set for 45-55mins.
  • Cut curd to 3/8 carefully, stir as you cut don’t shatter curds
  • Then rest the curd for 5 mins., stir for 5, set for another 5.
  • Remove 1/3 of the whey
  • Add 130° water a little at a time to bring temp up to 95° then stir for 5mins.
  • Continue to  add water to bring temp up to 102° it should take 5-10 mins.
  • Now at temp. stir for 30-40 mins (PH was 6.59)
  • The curd will be done when it is firm and has a moderate resistance between fingers
  • let curd settle and begin to ladle off the whey.
  • When you have about an inch of whey consolidate the curd to one side of the pot
  • take a dinner plate and set it into the whey and place 2.5 lbs on top of plate. I used the empty milk container with some water in it. Press for 15 mins.
  • move the curd into butter muslin and into a press . Try to keep the curd at 75°-80°.
  • Press 1 hour at 8-10 lbs. Flip and redress
  • Press 1 hour at 25-30 lbs.  Flip and redress
  • Press 1 hour at 25-30 lbs.  Flip and redress
  • Press 1 hour at 25-30 lbs.  Flip and redress
  • Press 1 hour at 25-30 lbs.  Flip and redress, total of 5 hours
  • Unmold and let rest for 8-10 hours, I covered it with a bowl to keep safe.
  • Brine for 8-10 hrs, flip halfway through, you can sprinkle salt on top as it floats. I generally put a ramekin on top to keep it under the brine.(brined 9 hrs)
  • Dry for a couple hours and put it in your cheese cave at 50°-55° for  2-4 weeks (dried for 2)
  • Next age cheese at 65°-70°  3-4 weeks at 80% humidity
  • This whole time after the brine you should wipe the cheese with brine to keep away mold and excessive drying.
  • Turn cheese often (daily)
  • After the 3-4 weeks out of the frig it can be waxed or returned to the cheese cave for several months.
Cheese box
Cheese box for keeping humidity up in Frig

Additional Notes: This is most of the  directions and generally what I did with this recipe.  During the step where the cheese was covered by the plate the Ph was 6.46 and dropping.  After I begin to press a cheese I hate to mess up the look by pressing my Ph meter into the cheese,  so I usually stop taking readings at this point. I rested the cheese longer than it said because it was overnight and I was asleep.  In the Frig, I kept the cheese in a cheese box. Every few days I wiped the cheese with brine. It didn’t get any mold until the end of the second week.

Update: The wheel developed normally for 2 weeks, with periodic wipe downs with brine till March 11th. After the 2 weeks in the frig the cheese came out for the warm aging process. It molded pretty badly with in 2 days.  From there on out I had to wash the cheese every 36 hours or so. Often, I would wipe it down in the morning and then again the following evening. On March 26th, a little over 2 weeks of warm aging and I had to wax the cheese, since I was going out of town. A week later (April 3)I came back to find that the cheese had really swelled(See the photo).  It had gone from 2.5 inches tall to over 4 inches. For the next few days, I turned it twice a day to even out the bulge.  On April 6th, I decided it had had enough and put it back into the Cave for the rest of the aging. There is a cheese contest the first week in June, so we will cut into it then.

Baby Swiss
Baby Swiss

The wheel developed quickly once I waxed it and the bulge got pretty crazy. So, I cut into it tonight to find the picture on the left.  It tastes pretty nice, a nice light swiss flavor. It needs a lot more time but, Wow, the eyes came out great.

How Gouda is It? – February 15th, 2016

Gouda
Is the baby Gouda cute?

Gouda is a Dutch yellow cheese made from cow’s milk. It is named after the city of Gouda in the Netherlands. I don’t eat a lot of Gouda, but I generally like it and it is often found waxed in the red wax I use for most of my cheese. This batch was from the Gouda recipe on Cheesemaking.com.

The recipe does say that you can wash it  with beer or add spices to the mix.

It was made from a couple gallons of king soopers milk.  Gouda is a washed curd  cheese, so after the curd has been cut and stirred, a third of whey is drained off and replaced with 1/3 with hot water(98°-102°) and stirred more.

Ingredients:

  •  MA4002 – 1/8 tsp
  • 1/2 tsp Calcium Chloride
  • 1/8 tsp lipase
  • 1/4 tsp double strength microbial rennet

Brining: When it came time to press the curds I decided to make 2 wheels of different sizes and vary the brining time. 1/2 lbs wheel got only 2 hours of brine while the 2pound wheel was brined for 8.5 hrs.

These were waxed right after brining. The aging is 2-6 month, so May-December we should be eating these.

Trappist Style – Saint Paulin – February 26, 2016

After 30 days of washing with B. Linens
After 30 days of washing with B. Linens

Trappist Style Cheese is named for the Trappist Monks that originally made the cheese. They were each named for the particular monastery such as Port Salut, Saint-Paulin.

These cheeses have a distinctive orange color and a smelly locker room kind of a smell, but the taste is worth the smell.

The recipe calls for 2 cultures or a blend of Thermophilic and Mesophilic cultures. For this make I chose MA4002 which is a blend. I also chose a combination of milk 3/4 gallon goat and 1/2 gallon grocery store whole milk.

At this time I didn’t have any B. Linens so I just washed it with brine. I did this for about 6 weeks before I grew tired of washing it just waxed it.

I left it in wax for 2 months until I took an advanced cheese making class and the teachers were really down on wax.  So I came home from the class and un-waxed this wheel and decided to  wash it with beer (New Belgium 1554). Every couple days I would wipe it down with a wet paper towel of beer.  The bottle lasted about 3 weeks and I continued with regular brine for another couple weeks before it looked really good. Then I put it in a seal-a-meal bag and forgot about it.

Update: Here we are 8 months later and I have tasted it a couple times and it is awesome. The rind is a little funky and adds to the mystery of this 1 pound wheel.  I have done a triple batch of Trappist and have a lot more to say about this style, so see the next Trappist entry.