Monthly Archives: March 2016

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

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 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.

Belper Knolle – Back Again – February 27th, 2016

Belper Knolle Beginning to dry
Belper Knolle Beginning to dry

After I had several requests from friends to make some more Belper Knolle, I finally remade it. It’s funny that it took me a year almost to the day to remake them. They look like black snowballs, but taste much better.

It contains crushed garlic and Himalayan Pink Salt, covered in Crushed black peppercorns. The last batch got sealed in seal-a-meal bags and worked as a nice spread on crackers and never really dried out to the right texture.  This batch I’m going to try to dry them for a while before sealing up.  I might seal 1 or 2 up early but the rest will have to wither and dry.  We look forward to tasting them.

Some in plastic, some to dry further
Some in plastic, some to dry further