Category Archives: Hard Cheese

Cheese that I am aging.

Spressa – 90 days Without Supervision

This is what happens if you ignore a cheese.
This is what happens if you ignore a cheese.

In July I was making a lot of cheese and quite busy as well, so when a wheel starting to get out of control I decided to let it go.   Another cheese maker recently told me that they were letting a lot of their cheese go natural for the aging process and cleaning it up when it was time to eat it. So this was my chance to take a chance. The recipe calls for several months of aging up to a year. So today I pulled the wheel out after 90 days of aging and cleaned it up a little bit and wanted to share a picture.  I’m going to let it go for a while longer and then we will try it. I’ll let you know how it tastes.

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

Big Block Parmesan – April 16, 2016

A year ago this week I made my first Parmesan.  A couple weeks ago we cut into that wheel and although it wasn’t like most Parms you buy, it was tasty and now it’s gone.  It will take a year before I have Parmesan to eat, so this time I made a much larger batch, 7 lbs.20160416_180116_001

I started with 6 gallons of 2% and 1 gallon of whole milk. My pot will hold 3 ½ gallons, so I am doing two batches side-by-side. As I started the prep I discovered two  different recipes, one with Lipase and one without.  I had planned on making the double batch and combining the curds for one wheel, but decided to keep them separate.  As the make continued I noticed that the milk looked pretty different. The milk without the lipase

Lipase on the right
Lipase on the right

had a lot of small floating curds, while the lipase batch was almost completely clean on top. Up to this point everything was the same except the addition of lipase.

Before we get into the recipe, I want to share the final product and discuss it.
As all home cheesemakers will attest you are always struggling to check temperatures

lipase wheel on the left, non-lipase wheel on the right.
lipase wheel on the left, non-lipase wheel on the right.

and keep the milk at proper temperatures.  So here is where I share I made a potential error that may have affected the final product, I let one pot go up about 5 degrees just before the cut. The temp was slipping and the mass of the curd was blocking the thermometer from getting to the bottom. I was able to bring the temp down in about 10 mins but it may make a difference.  At this point in time I will have to remake this batch to really know but as you can see in the picture, the lipase wheel has tight curds and finished beautifully. The wheel without the lipase has curds that aren’t as tight, they didn’t bind as well.

Ingredients:

  • 3 gallons 2% milk, 1/2 gallon whole milk
  • TA061  1/4 tsp for each pot
  • Lipase 1/4 tsp for 1 pot(prepare 30mins ahead in 1/4 cup distilled water)
  • Calcium Chloride 1/2 tsp for each
  • 1 tsp Rennet
  • Heavy Brine (24 hours of soaking)

Directions:

  • Heat milk to 88°-90°
  • Sprinkle in culture and let set for 2 minute, mix for 1 minute
  • Add lipase mix for 1 minute
  • Recipe called for 90 min to rest.
  • At about 85 minutes I added the calcium Chloride and mixed for a minute.
  • 5 minute wait time between Calcium Chloride and Rennet addition
  • Add Rennet and mix for 1 minute keeping temp at 90°
  • Wait for clean break, recipe called for 30 minutes but it needed more
  • Set timer for 10 minutes, check again then go another 10 minutes(50min total for clean beak)
  • Cut curd to 1/4 in slowly over a 10min span
  • Stir slowly for 15 minutes at 90° – I used my large whisk to make sure curds are cut
  • begin to heat to 108° over 30 minute period.
  • Hold at 108° for 5 minutes minimal stirring for this 5 minutes
  • Increase heat to 124°-128° over 30 minutes more
  • let settle for 5 minutes – Goal PH value at 6.5 or 6.4
  • Goal is for curds to be  very small almost rice size and quite springy20160417_075032_001
  • pour whey and curds into mold and press at minimal weight for 15 minutes
  • Flip and double weight for 30 minutes
  • Flip again and double weight for 60 minutes
  • Flip and press for 8-12 hours with enough weight to close rind
  • End PH of 5.4 -5.5 ideal
  • Brine for 24 hours
    finished wheels headed for frig in tupperware
    finished wheels headed for frig in tupperware

    parma1
    Update 6-4-2016:
     We are coming up on 2 months of aging for the Parmesan.  The first month or so they were happy in their tupperware with little of no mold growth. Then they started to get high maintenance, washing and cleaning every 2-3 days. A couple times I was too busy to catch them for 4 or 5 days and the outside started to end up with permanent discoloration that I couldn’t get off.  I tried both with the lid on and off, trying to get it to dry correctly, but keep enough humidity in the cheese. parma2Well, I was growing weary of caring for it so I washed it last night and today it went into plastic. The wheel on the right has more funky stuff going on, but that is the wheel that I didn’t get fully closed.  So, off to the Frig for 10-24 months.

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.

Feeling Abandoned?

As I look at my last posting, I realize that it has been sometime since I last posted.  Luckily, I have been making cheese, just not talking about it.  I have also been eating some, I took a class and have been watching my Frig carefully.

My plan is to begin to add in the entries for cheese I have made since October. So, if you have been following my progress you should check back soon to see all of those entries.  I am also going to post some updates on cheese that I have finally eaten.

Let’s start with what I cut into today. I had the Gruyere from June 5th of last year. It had

Gruyere
Gruyere

been developing a little blue mold in the sealed bag, not a lot so I wasn’t worried. After cleaning it up, I cut a few pieces to try.  It was a bit dry like parmesan and tasted kinda like that too.  The outside edge also has a little bit of a blue taste.  Anyway, I like the way it tastes and the way it is aging, so I put it back into the same seal-a-meal back and sealed it up again.

The other thing I opened was the Jarlsberg Remake from October 9th, 2015.  This was a 7

4 month Jarlsberg
4 month Jarlsberg

gallon batch of Jarlsberg, two – 3.5 gallon batches combined into three wheels.  I believe that the wheels turned out to be 3.5 lbs., 2.5 lbs. and 1 pound wheel.  The smaller one is what I cut open as it was in a seal-a-meal bag and easiest to get open.  This wheel has always had a nice springy feel to it.  Once I opened it I noticed it was a little damp and that moisture has keep the cheese soft and creamy.  It’s consistency was nice in your mouth without an overpowering flavor. It has only been aging for 4 months and that’s the way it tasted. As I remember back to the the first Jarlsberg I made, it wasn’t impressive at 4 months either, but at 7 or 8 months we couldn’t stop eating it.  So hopes are high!

So it is 2016, let’s make some cheese.

 

Ibores – (eye-bor-rays) Second Try – October 25th, 2015

This is a quick post to mark the date, turned 50 this weekend and the second make of Ibores. I made Ibores in May this year and it was very fun to eat. It is made with goat cheese and rubbed with smoked Paprika and olive oil. The wheel was coming out great, every few days I  applied more paprika and olive oil.

Ibores
Ibores

It aged for several more weeks and it was still looking good.

I sliced it in half to test it since it had aged for several months and it was coming along nicely.  Finally, I threw it into a seal-a-meal bag as it was showing signs of drying out.

Jarlsberg – October 9,2015

20151011_123620_resized
Jarlsberg During Initial Drying


This week’s cheese project is to re-make the first cheese I ever made, Jarlsberg. I decided to make a double batch and make each one with 3.5 gallons of milk, 3 gallons whole and 1/2 gallon 1%. The first time I made Jarlsberg, I knew nothing about making cheese and I probably got lucky, but this cheese got better almost every month until it was gone. So I want a bunch of this cheese in the frig aging!  This time I was hoping for 7lbs. and got a little over 6.5 lbs.

2 pots of 3.5 gallons of milk, this was looking like a whole lot of milk. As they began to heat one pot was about 15 mins. behind the other.  This turned out to be a pretty good thing as the process continued.  It gave me time to add cultures and stir the pot and record the results.

Here are the notes on the project.

Ingredients: 

  • 6 gallons – King Soopers whole milk
  • 1 gallon – King Soopers 1% milk
  • 1/4 tsp Thermophilic culture (x2)
  • 1/8 tsp Propionic Bacteria (x2)
  • 2 tsp Calcium Chloride(x2)
  • 1 tsp Rennet (x2)

 

20151014_202539_resized
Waxed and Ready for Frig.

Quick Recap:

  • Heat milk to 82°
  • Add culture rehydrate for 5 mins.
  • Mix for 1 min.
  • Continue to warm to 92°
  • Add Calcium Chloride
  • Mix for 1, let sit for 5 mins.
  • Add Rennet, mix for 1 min.
  • Turn off heat and set for 60 mins.
  • Wait for clean break
  • Cut to navy bean size  used knife and whisk
  • Stir for 20 mins
  • Let stand 5 mins
  • remove 1/3  whey or until you see curd
  • Add enough 140° water to bring to 100°
  • return to heat
  • up to 108° over 30 mins.
  • pour into colander
  • press at 15 lbs.
  • flip after an hour
  • press at 30 lbs. over night.
  • brine for 12 hours

The finishing of this cheese is unique, let dry for a couple days, then ripen at 50° for 2 weeks. Continue to ripen at 65° for 4-6 weeks and finish aging in the cave. Don’t forget to turn periodically. Generally, aging for 4-10 months.  I cut off the aging at 10 months, as I doubt I can wait that long.

Update: Out of the Frig October 25th. Resting in the basement for 4-6 weeks. Back t o the Frig just after Thanksgiving.

Time to try some Jarlsberg.

Garlic Montasio – July 18, 2015

I recently saw a kickstarter project for a cheese place in  Little Rock, AR,
www.kentwalkercheese.com.  Kent has some great looking cheeses on their website, but the one I liked best, Garlic Montasio, was sold out. So I wrote to them and got some details about the cheese and decided to try to make it.  In doing a little research it turns out Montasio can only be made in Northern Italy and that it is tightly controlled.  I have found this control with cheese as well as wine, the protection of the name.

Roasted Garlic Heads
Roasted Garlic Heads

The first step was to roast some garlic.  I chopped of the top of two heads so the garlic was exposed.  I poured olive oil into the head and wrapped in foil. Cooking at 350° it took 45-55 until the tops were a little brown and the whole head was squishy.  After it cooled a bit, I squeezed the garlic into a food processor to turn the garlic into paste.

Heating the milk
Heating the milk

These days I always try a recipe first with cheap grocery store milk to see how it work. This is a 3 gallon batch.  I decided to add 3/4 tsp. of Calcium Chloride to try to help the cheap milk, I probably should have doubled that measure, as the curd did not set to firmly after 75 mins.  I was also guessing on the rennet as I went with a little more than 1/2 tsp. Upping this amount may have also helped. Once I started cutting, I suspected something was a little off the curds looked more like oatmeal than cheese 20150718_113310_resized_1curds.

 

 

We heated the curds for an hour with

curds on top
curds on top

stirring and ended up with curds on top.  I even let them settle from time to time and some would still cluster on top of the whey.

This made pulling off any whey very challenging. This is a washed curd recipe so I was going to add in some hot water to finish the process.  I added a couple cups and decided to try to just strain off a couple cups to give me some more room in the pot. Anyway we finally reached the final temperature and stirred for another 10 mins to complete the process.

curds going into the mold
curds going into the mold

I strained off the whey and then pulled out 1/3 of the curds to mix with Garlic. I was planning on making a one pound wheel and a two pound wheel, so I was going to add Garlic for the one pound wheel and see how much Garlic seemed right.

I blended the garlic into the curds by hand to get a good mix. The curds went into the molds and on to the press next.

Large and Small Press
Large and Small Press

 

The smaller press was going at 25-35 lbs and that may have been the problem with that wheel as it came out very flaky(see the last picture). The larger wheel came out of the press(55-60 lbs.) ready for brine and looked really solid.

The recipe called for brinning anywhere from 12-24 hours.  This seems like a pretty wide range but as it worked out the larger wheel got 21 hours and the smaller got 17 hours of brinning.

 

Wheels fresh from the brine.
Wheels fresh from the brine.

When I pulled out the larger wheel I noticed some large cracks in the middle of the block that may prove problematic very soon.  The smaller wheel is pretty flaky and the curds are still visible, not a good sign.

I will wipe on olive oil when they dry to try to keep the mold down but we will probably be eating these real soon.

Update: Aug.1, 2015 – I put the smaller wheel into a seal-a-meal bag today. It seemed like it was drying out a bit.  This should keep it until I slice it mid-September.

Update: September 23, 2015 – Time to eat the cheese.  We broke into the smaller wheel and wow is it good. Great garlic flavor.  It was a little dryer than I would have wanted, so we will see how the other wheel turns out soon.

Update: August 31, 2016 – I pulled out the last quarter wheel to take to a party and found that the cheese had dried enough that it could be flaked apart with the end of a cheese knife.  It had an amazing flavor after sitting for 14 months. The rule must be if you don’t like a cheese put it back in the frig till you do. Not it is all gone, however I just remade this recipe, so check out that posting.