November 14, 2017

Pepper Cheese


I found the idea for pepper cheese in Gianaclis Caldwell's Mastering Basic Cheesemaking. It wasn't a specific recipe, just a description illustrating one way to flavor a cheese. She used it as an option for what she calls "Farmhouse Cheese," but it's the same basic basic rennet curd cheese I've been making from David Asher's The Art of Natural Cheesemaking. Dan and I like pepper cheese, so I thought I'd try it.


The description called for rehydrating hot pepper flakes. I have some dehydrated cayenne peppers, and used six for a cheese made from one gallon of milk. I cut off the stem end, shook out most of the seeds, and chopped them up in my blender. They were rehydrated in a half-cup of boiling water. The soaking water was supposed to be added to the milk just before the rennet, but I was also trying to make lunch at the time, discuss the barn with Dan, plus work on the cheese. I'm lousy at multitasking, so I forgot to add the pepper water. I remembered when it was time to cut the curds, so into the curd bath water it went. (If you're unfamiliar with the process, click here for the basic cheesemaking steps.) The soaked pepper flakes where added when the curds went into the cheese mold. After pressing, the cheese was salted, flipped occasionally, and allowed to develop a natural rind.

It's a cheese meant to be eaten fresh, so a couple of days later we gave it a try.


It turned out just right in cayenneiness for us, so even with a blooper, all's well that ends well.

Then I had to decide what to do with the whey. It was pretty spicy after adding the pepper-soaking water, so I knew the whey wouldn't be good for gjetost. Instead it became a spicy ricotta and I used it to stuff enchiladas. Those turned out good too!

So that's one idea for variety without having to follow a different cheese recipe. I like to stay with only one or two types at a time, because there can be many factors that influence the outcome of a cheese. Sticking with only one recipe for awhile helps me explore these and more easily identify changes in results. That helps me be more consistent. My cheese journal helps me know whether to repeat a factor or not!

Gianaclis's book (mentioned above) and also 200 Easy Homemade Cheese Recipes by Debra Amrein-Boyes have quite a few good ideas for simple flavor variations. I'm taking notes!

The other cheese I've been working on is feta. More on my experiments with that soon.

Pepper Cheese © Nov. 2017 by Leigh

13 comments:

Ed said...

I'm beginning to think you should sell cheese as a business. We have a local place that makes its own cheeses and it is all the rage these days.

P.S. I'll probably be dreaming about those enchiladas tonight!

Leigh said...

Ed, the enchiladas were great! Especially with some of our plain goat cheese shredded and melted on top. Dan thinks "we" (but I suspect he means me!) should go into the cheese business. I tell him to do that we'd need more goats! It would take more than that, of course, but maybe checking into state regulations wouldn't be a bad idea.

Sandy said...

Leigh,

I would buy cheese from you! Would you considered using green Chile's in you cheese?

Leigh said...

Sandy, thanks! I would use whatever kind of peppers were available. One of my favorites in terms of flavor are serrano peppers. I believe they are one kind of chili pepper. They aren't real high on the Scoville scale but I love the taste. I need to grow some next year!

jewlz said...

You're a bit far to buy cheese, but I'd definitely buy the recipes from you! Of course, you generously blog all the info, so I do not have to. Thanks!
And yes, I AM a robot, but am a smart enough one to check the box "no" ;)

Leigh said...

Jewlz, maybe someday I'll write, not a cookbook, but a book on developing one's own homestead cuisine. With goats, cheese is definitely a part of ours!

Oh, and about the reCATPCHA "I'm not a robot" box? Ignore it and just hit "publish." That bypasses the stupid reCATPCHA "choose all the pictures that have ..." rigmarole (which I have no control over and can't get rid of!!! GRRR

kymber said...

geez! is it ok to just say i would eat all of that cheese? every single last little tiny bit!

can you please send me some??? any kind. i have no preference. JUST SEND ME CHEESE!!!

(sorry for the yelling) sending much love as always! your friend,
kymber

Mrs Shoes said...

Oh boy, would Mr Shoes ever go for that cheese! He thought he was in heaven when I recently bought him some jalapeno monteray jack for his nachos... so sad.

Leigh said...

Kymber, you need goats! ;) Then you can have as much cheese as you want! You're very creative with food anyway, so you'd likely be an excellent cheese maker!

Mrs Shoes, nachos are a great idea! I'll have to get some tortilla chips the next time I go shopping and give that a try.

Rain said...

Cheese bug!!! Cheese bug!!! You've got it Leigh. lol...funny, I was just reading about flavouring Boursin types of cheeses. Cream cheeses with lots of herbs and spices. I'm going to try to make my own after I get that cream cheese mastered. Nice looking cheese!!! :)

Leigh said...

Rain, LOL. I have to get as much in as I can because I only have a window of time with extra milk. Once it's time to dry the girls up for the last two months of their pregnancies, that will be it until next year. :)

M.K. said...

You are amazing with all you do with your cheesemaking! It looks delicious.

Leigh said...

M.K., well, I'm just sticking to one recipe for now, just until I get fairly consistent with the results. It's fun to see how many variations I can get with that. I'll have to check out Rain's Boursin cheese flavorings as well. :)