Monthly Archives: July 2015

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.

 

The Great Swiss Trilogy – 7-12-15

As I have said before, one of the things that bothers and amazes about cheese is the limitless variables that affect the final product. I decided that since the cheese I had the most success with was Swiss, I should test using that recipe using 3 different milks but the same process and recipe. Today’s cheese was Swiss using #cozyCows milk.  This will be the third Swiss that I have made in a month’s time. The first was cheap cow’s milk from the grocery, second raw goat milk and the third good  non-homogenized cow’s milk from Cozy Cow Dairy.

I’m happy to say that we are well on our way to completing the test.  The last wheel is in the brine for a few more hours before it will go on the shelf for a couple weeks.

My general process for the swiss has been to leave it out on a shelf in my basement for 3 weeks and then wax and fridge until we eat it. The very first time back in January, it was a 3 gallon batch with 2 cows and one sheep and it began to crack from dryness, so I waxed it once I realized that was happening. This cheese turned out very well even though I had no idea what I was doing, so why not try to repeat it.

The first of our trilogy, the 2 gallon cow’s milk batch was looking a little dry but also had some mold. I have been wiping every few days with brine solution to keep the mold down. It has been waxed and is now happy in the fridge. The second wheel has been sitting for 2 weeks and looks a little dry, but very bulgy so I may wax it very soon. It has bulged enough so that I think the eyes will turn out very well.

I’ll keep you posted on the third wheel as it progresses toward the fridge.