1. Heat the 3 gallons of milk to 86F. Do this by placing the milk in a pot and put it in a sink of water with the temperature of 120-140 degrees. Once the milk is about to reach the target temperature, begin to add cold water to the water bath until the temperature falls to around 2-3F above the milk target temperature. If you prefer to heat your milk on a stove, make sure you heat the milk slowly and stir it well.
When the milk is at 86F, it is time to add the 1/16 tsp. of MA4002 culture. This culture is a combination of Mesophilic, which will convert lactose to lactic acid, and Thermophilic, which will produce minimal acid development but begins to work during aging to develop supple texture in the finished cheese.
As always, to avoid the culture clumping and caking, sprinkle it onto the surface of the milk and wait 2 minutes for the culture to rehydrate before you stir it in.
Now allow the milk to sit for an hour while the culture works and begins to ripen. A small amount of acid will be produced during this time. Be sure to keep it warm.
2. After an hour of ripening, add 1/4 Tsp of the single strength liquid rennet. The rennet will begin to coagulate the curd, let it sit for another hour. You will see the milk thicken after around 20 minutes, but it still needs the full hour for a proper curd to form.
One way to check for a good card, insert a knife into the curd at a 45-degree angle and lift slowly until the curd breaks. The edges should break cleanly and the whey that will rise should be clear, not cloudy.
Remember to utilize coagulation times by sanitizing the cheese molds and draining boards.
3. Once the curd is firm, you can cut it into 1/4 inch pieces. Once the curds have been cut, let them sit for 10 minutes. Don’t let them mat together, but make sure they have a layer of whey to rise to the top. If they try to mat, just give them a gentle stir and after around 5 minutes, let them settle again.
4. It is time to dry out the curds. You can do this by heating them up to 86F very slowly. It will take approximately 30 minutes, but can be extended if the curds are too soft. Stir them gently during heating to prevent them matting.
Examine the final curds to make sure they were cooked through and enough moisture was removed. They should be firm enough that they will have a moderate resistance when you press them between your fingers.
At this point, the curds can be allowed to settle under the whey.
5. The dry curds are ready to be transferred to the mold. Allow the curds to settle to the bottom of the pot and then drain the whey down to around 1-2 inches above the curd mass.
Stir the curds well to separate them before you transfer them to molds. The whey will float the curds into position and minimize any mechanical holes. Good pressure from your hands will help consolidate the curds.
Fold the draining cloth on top of the curd mass and then place the follower on top. It is now time to press the cheese.
6. To press the cheese, begin very light and then slowly increase the press weight to a moderate level:
60 minutes at 25 lbs
90 minutes at 50 lbs
4 hours at 75 lbs
After the initial drainage of whey, the rate of whey running off will be a matter of drops and not a stream of whey being released. This is a good rate of whey removal during pressing and will slow down even more as the residual free moisture is released. You should see tears of whey weeping from the form very slowly. When it stops completely, increase the weight slightly.
Remove the cheese from the press and unwrap, turn and rewrap and put it back into the press at the above intervals to assure an even consolidation.
You will see that the cheese has a smoother surface after each turn.
7. The pressed cheese should be smooth and have no openings. It would cause problems for the cheese to have cracks as it will lead to problems with molds during aging.
Prepare a saturated brine for salting the cheese. Here is a quick formula: 1 Gallon of water to which is added 2 Lbs of Salt, 1tbs. Calcium Chloride (30% solution), and 1 Tsp. white vinegar.
Set the cheese in the brine for 3 hours. The cheese will float above the brine surface so sprinkle another teaspoon or 2 of salt on the top of the surface of the cheese. Flip the cheese and re-salt the surface halfway through the brine period.
8. At the end of the brining, wipe down the surface and allow it to dry out for a day or two before you wax the cheese.
Prepare a mixture with just enough oil to make a thick paste/slurry to coat the cheese. Paprika is important for the flavor and aroma. Rub the cheese with paprika until it is well coated. In a day or so, the oil will be absorbed into the cheese which will ensure a dry coat on the outside.
Repeat the treatment when necessary.
9. Now it is time to age the cheese. You can place it into the aging room at 52-56F and 80-85% moisture. Age the cheese for around 4-6 weeks, after this time, the cheese will be ready for serving.