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.

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.

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

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.

 

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.

 

Guido’s Cheese – Groundhog Day 2016

Guido’s recipe from “Home cheese making” p 146 seems to be a favorite of many, yet somehow I waited 18 months before I got around to making it. When we ended up with a snow day on February 2nd, it seemed like the natural choice.

Started with 2 gallons of King Soopers whole milk, TA-61 Thermophilic culture, Calcium Chloride , and some animal rennet.  Heat the milk to 80° and then add the culture, let set for 30 mins. Continue to heat milk to 90°, add Calcium Chloride, mix,  and add the rennet.

After a clean break, heat to 120° for 40 mins.

Once we add the curds to the forms,  press at 3 lbs for 15 mins. and flip, another 15 mins and flip again, and again. Pressing lasts a full 24 hrs.

The recipe called for 24 hrs of brining, but I was going away on vacation so my Guido’s cheese went on vacation with me. I have several Tupperware that nicely fit my 2 pound wheels, so it worked out fine.  I was able to dry the wheel for a couple days on a plate covered by the Tupperware to get it ready for waxing.  I brought home the wheel in the empty Tupperware. I decided to wax it right away and get it into the frig for aging.

The aging is 4-6 weeks.

Note: A week or so after I made this wheel, I was on a cheese forum and they were discussing this recipe and several people said the brining  was way too long and that the cheese will come out salty.  They suggested 2 hours of brining per pound of cheese.

We will see how it comes out.