One of the things that bothers me about cheese is that there are dozens of recipes for the same cheese. So recipes go as far as using different cultures for the same cheese. So I found two recipes for Manchego that looks good and I decided to make both. I also was looking for a way to make cheese more cheaply and used store-bought milk(1.99 a gallon at King Soopers). The first recipe was intriguing because it used a buttermilk culture as well as Mesophilic and Thermophilic from Dannon’s Blog. The second is also from Dannon but it is listed on the cheesemaking.com blog found here.
Turns out age makes a difference. Manchego has a different name for the cheese depending upon the age.
Fresco – 2 weeks
Curado – 3 to 6 months
Viejo – at least 1 year
UPDATE: 6/26/2015 I took a Manchego class on Friday night and learned that because I used cows milk it would technically be called Hispanico. I took both of these cheeses to the class to taste. They are now 9 weeks old, but we decided to try them. The recipe from cheesemaking.com blog was very sharp, it made your tongue tingle a bit. The other that had the extra buttermilk culture turned out creamier and with a bit better taste. It also has saffron threads in it and so I have been referring to that cheese as the saffron Manchego, now saffron Hispanico. Anyway, I cut a third of each wheel off to eat and I have re-waxed the rest to age some more. I can’t wait to see if it gets better further down the road.