What You Need
2 Gallons of Milk (Not Ultra Pasteurized)
1 Packet of C21 Buttermilk Culture
1 Packet of C201 Thermophilic Culture
1/64 tsp C70 Geotrichum Candidum
2.25 ml (just under 1/2 tsp) Liquid Rennet
Salt for Brine and Aging
Calcium Chloride (for pasteurized milk)
What To Do
1. The first step is to heat and acidify the milk. So let’s begin by heating the milk to 86F To do this, place the milk in a container and then place it in a large pot of very warm water. If you heat it on the stove, be sure to heat it slowly and stir it as it heats if you heat it on the stove.
After heating the milk, the two cultures can be added, plus the geotrichum. The powder can become very cakey and sink in clumps so to prevent this, sprinkle the culture over the surface of the milk and then let it sit for a couple of minutes. This allows the powder to re-hydrate before you stir it in. After stirring, let the milk sit for a further hour so that the culture can get to work.
During this time, the Thermophilic and Mesophilic bacteria will begin to awaken but will only do minimal acid production.
You should utilize ripening time by preparing the molds, cloth and draining area by sanitizing them all.
After the hour of ripening, heat the milk to 104F. After heating to 86F, any Mesophilic activity that has begun will slow down until it reaches 104F, then it will slowly die off within 15 minutes of begin at the higher temperature. The enzymes which will be left behind will prove beneficial during the aging period.
In the meantime, the Thermophilic will start to move in its more favorable temperature range and begin converting lactose to lactic acid.
2. You can now add about 2.25ml or slightly less than 1/2 tsp of single strength liquid rennet. The rennet needs to be added and mixed for one minute but not enough that the milk is agitated.
The milk needs to sit for around 25 minutes so that the culture can get to work and the rennet can begin to coagulate the curd. The time of coagulation here is very fast compared to other cheeses. This is due to the high temperature of the milk. The milk will begin to thicken after around 8 minutes
The texture of the curd will be quite similar to tofu due to the high temperature. Be sure to text the curd to be sure a good firm coagulation has taken place. You should have a clean break and the whey forming in the cut shouldn’t be too milk or too clear.
3. It is time to cut the curds and release the whey. The first cut should be vertical in both directions at about 2 inches. The curd should be left alone for about 5 minutes before the next cut. This will allow for the cuts to heal and release a minimal amount of fat into the whey.
After this, make a horizontal cut with a draining ladle or a spoon and continue to break the curd into about 5/8 inch pieces over the next 7-10 minutes. Be sure to keep the curd moving gently during this time to avoid clumping.
4. Because the milk was heated to quite a high temperature already, there is really no need to further heat the curds.
However, there are a few things we can do to vary the character of the final cheese:
Option 1- If you are looking for a slightly more acid profile cheese: We could let the curds rest for a short time (15-30 min) so that they can heal, release whey and then firm up. You should intermittently stir the curds for around 3-5 minutes to keep them from matting.
Option 2- If you are wanting a sweeter cheese: You can begin the process of whey removal and the replacement with the same temperature water. Lactose will be removed and the acid development will slow down by reducing the lactose supply for the culture.
You should do this by:
-Stirring the curds gently for 10 minutes
– Allow the curds to settle to the bottom
– Remove 50% of the whey
– Add the same amount of water back at 104-106°F
– Stir gently for 30 to 45 min
5A. It is time to transfer the final curds to the form. Begin by removing the whey again down to around 1 inch above the curd surface.
Transfer the curd along with the whey to your form, being sure to compact the form as you fill it up.
You can use 4-6lb of weight for about 1 hr to consolidate the curd. Be sure to remember that an open internal paste is expected for this cheese.
The cheese will be converting lactose to lactic acid so it is very important to keep the cheese warm at around 80-90F for the next 5-6 hours while the acid production is completed. Inside the cheese will remain warmer for several hours after cooling down the original curd temperature of 104F.
5B. The fresh cheese will need to be turned frequently at 30-minute intervals to close the surface openings during the first 3-4 hours. You should remove the cheese from the mold, unwrap, turn, rewrap and put the cheese back into the mold during the specified intervals to make sure there is an even surface consolidation. The cheese will have formed a smoother surface and rest lower in the mold after each turn.
After around 5-6 hours of molding the cheese, it will be ready to be un-molded, cooled overnight and transferred to a salt bath.
If the cheese is still leaking with whey, you need to let it sit a bit longer to develop its final acid. This is because the cheese will have cooled too much during the molding and acid development will have slowed.
6. A saturated brine will be needed for the salting process. Here is a simple brine formula:
– 1 gallon of water
– 2.25 lbs of salt
– 1tbs. calcium chloride
– 1 tsp. white vinegar
– Bring the brine and cheese to 50-55°F before using
You can now soak the cheese in brine for around 3-4 hours.
The temperature of the brine bath should be done at a cool temperature of 52-56F. Higher temperatures cause a faster salt intake and allow for certain molds to grow, this is why the brine is better at the cool temperature.
The cheese will float above the brine surface so be sure to sprinkle some salt on the top of the surface of the cheese.
When you flip the cheese, resalt the other surface half way through the brine period.
Wipe down the surface at the end of the brine bath. The surface might have darkened somewhat during this time but make sure no cracking has occurred. Dry the cheese at a temperature of around 52-56F and a moisture of around 65-75%.
7A. The cheese will now be ready for aging. You can now place the cheese into your aging space at around 52-56F and 90-95% moisture.
A minimum of 4-6 weeks should be given for ripening times but if you wish you ripen it longer, the cheese can develop more character that way.
You should turn the cheese at least once a day and during the first week, it will develop a yeast community on the surface. The surface will also become quite greasy due to the yeast. The acidity will decrease because of the yeast which will prepare it for a thin coat of geotrichum to grow. A small amount of rose-orange bacteria might also develop too.
7B. You should control the yeast by periodically washing the cheese in a light brine (1 Tbs. noniodized salt in 1 cup of water) every 3-4 days. Wipe the cheese surface if it seems dry between the washings. The cloth can be moistened with unsalted potable water.
Then dry for 1-2 hours but never let the surface darken or become completely dry. Return the cheese to a covered ripening tray to preserve the higher moisture in the cave. After around 10 days, there will be a thin powdery white growth, this is from the geotrichum that you initially added.
At around 3-4 weeks, the cheese can be washed for the last time. The cheese will be milder, the earlier this is done.
At around 4-6 weeks, the cheese will be ready to be consumed. However, if you are wanting a more complex cheese with a softer structure, it can be wrapped and moved to a cooler 40-42F aging space for extended aging. The moisture must be kept high enough to keep the surface from drying out.