Adventures in Cheesmaking

This all started out as a curiosity. Like most stuff we eat there is a rich history behind it. Centuries of experimentation. Cheese is just another example.

From the horse back tribes of the Asian Steppes to the Silk Road camel caravans to Romans Legions to European Monks to today, milk was a great source of nutrition but spoiled quickly and was heavy to transport.

The answer was cheese.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

I have a new favorite - Neufchâtel - old world new world

I have previously made Neufchatel and loved the fresh version. This time I plan to make once master batch then split in two; east once fresh and age the other for a few weeks and see if I can reproduce the classic french style with a bloomy crust and creamy center.

1 gallon whole organic milk
Heat to 75 f
Add 20 drops calcium chloride in 1/2 cup water
Add 1/8 tsp mesophilic starter
Ad 1/8 tsp Penicillium candidum

Hold for one hour

Add 20 drops double strength renet in 1/2 cup water

Leave 12 hours at 70f

Cut curd into 1/2 inch cubes

Rest for 30 minutes

Split into two

Ladle into cheesecloth and hang to drain for 12 hours then invert
For additional 12 hours

Use one fresh. Press into a shape  mold and cover with
pepper and/or paprika

Ready for Thanksgiving

Store one as 2 molds at 50 f for 2 weeks on bamboo
Until a rind forms.

Firm at 2 weeks - I am guessing another week or two and it would
be even better. Mild and buttery, the rind is just blooming. This is a
great cheese!!!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Gorgonzola - great plans but a sad ending

So I was really looking forward to this one. I ordered my Penicillium roqueforti, got my biggest pot ready...ahhh I could taste it.

I based this on Ricki Carroll's Home Cheesemaking book which has never disapointed so I am going to assume that I did something wrong with the salt. The end product did not develop mold and was way toooo salty, not edible...

I followed the recipe or so I thought

2 gallons of whole milk
Pinch of Penicillium roqueforti
Mesophilic starter 1/8 teaspoon
0.5 teaspoon double strengt liquid rennett
2 tablespoons cheese salt


Batch 1
Heat 1 gallon of milk to 86 F and add mesophilic and blue mold - hold for 30 minutes
Dilute rennet and add with stiring
Let sit for 45 minutes at 86 F
Cut curds and place in cheese cloth and drain overnight

Batch 2
The next day repeat the steps above to make a second batch but drain for only one hour.

Cut Batch 1 into 1 inch cubes and in a second bowl do the same to the second batch

Add 2 tablespoons of salt to each batch (next time I will only add one to each)

The method is to fill a 2 pond mold with the dry material from Batch 1 in the center and the wetter Batch 2 on the outside. PLace the mold on a cheese mat and hold at 55-60F and flip every 15 minutes for 2 hours. Flip several times over 3 days.

Remove from the mold and rub with salt daily for 4 days and hold at 55F and 85% humidity.

Using a pin or knitting needle pierce top and sides

Hold at 55F for 30 days and then for 30 days at 50F. Scrape the surface free of excess mold 

Age for 3 months longer and it is ready to eat.

The cheese had some blue mold start to form during aging but by two months nothing. Perhaps it was the Penicillium roqueforti, but I don't think so. It was just so salty, it was also a bit too dry and crumbly which might indicate low humidity on stroage. I think I will contact Ricki and see what she thinks.