June 5, 2013

Cheese #15, Another Keeper of a Recipe

The other day I cut open my Cheese #15. I made it on October 17, 2011. All my cheeses have been an adventure to taste. The first 10 or so really weren't all that great, but the later ones have been pleasant surprises.

Cheese Number 15

Such it was with my first taste of Cheese #15. It had aged about 20 months, so it was sharp. It was a good looking cheese and melted beautifully. Where we found it to be really tasty, was grated on a fresh lettuce salad. Yum!

I decided this recipe is a keeper, so the other day I gave it another try. It's a washed curd cheese, which was a new-to-me technique for this cheese.

The most common way to make cheese is to heat the curds and whey together to about 105° F / 40° C. This "cooks" the curds. More whey is released and the curds become firmer.

"Washing" the curd is a technique where the whey is drained off and replaced with warm water (water that is the same temperature as the whey). The curds are heated in that water instead of the whey. Colby and Gouda are washed curd cheeses, and if aged only a couple of months, are very mild.

So here's the original recipe, with one change noted.
  • 1.5 gallon whole, raw goat milk
  • 2 cups yogurt whey (I used mozzarella whey this time)

Mix the milk and whey. Slowly heat to about 90° F / 32° C. Then add
  • 1/2 teaspoon liquid rennet to 1/4 cup filtered water

Add to the milk mixture and stir very well. Let sit 30 minutes or until clean break (when a knife can slice cleanly through the curds). Cube curds with a knife and let sit another 10 minutes.

Drain whey. Place curds in 90° F / 32° C water and heat on low until temperature reaches about 105° F / 40° C. The curds must be gently stirred as they heat to keep them from settling and clumping at the bottom of the pot.

Turn off heat and let sit for about an hour. I stir occasionally.

After an hour, drain the water. Add
  • 1.5 tsp salt (I used canning salt, but sea salt is good too)

Mix the salt and curds by hand. Pack the curds in a cheese mold lined with lightweight cotton muslin. Place in press. I start with a light pressure for 30 minutes. Then I remove and unwrap the cheese, turn it over, re-wrap and put it back in the press for 30 minutes with a little more pressure. I do this about three or four times, gradually increasing the pressure each time.

The next morning, weigh the cheese if you wish, and place on a rack to air dry. I cover mine with a cotton cloth. Turn it frequently and check for mold. (Remove any mold with a clean rag dipped in vinegar and then salt). When the surface is completely dry (has developed its "rind"), it can be weighed, waxed, and stored.

Cheese #15, take 2. It's ready to wax.

It's recommended that washed curd cheeses age for at least 12 weeks.

Recipe Notes:

  • The original cheese #15 recipe called for yogurt whey. I haven't made yogurt in awhile, so I used mozzarella whey. This is a milder whey, so it will make a difference with the cheese.
  • Whole milk makes a better tasting cheese than skim milk
  • Salt can be done to taste. A teaspoon and a half of seemed like a lot, but the salt in cheese is like in pickles, not noticed unless it isn't there.

Washed curd cheeses are meant to be mild, but after a year and a half, Cheese #15 was quite sharp. Even so, it was tasty, but I plan to try this one sooner than that.

UPDATE: I cut open this cheese on Feb. 2, 2015, obviously not trying it sooner as I originally planned. Nevertheless, it was excellent. Sharp but pleasant flavored. To read all about it, click here.


Nina said...

It looks really delicious and very professional! It's interesting hearing about the process. I almost wish I had access to raw milk in order to learn some of the cheese making processes.

The Cranky said...

That looks absolutely wonderful Leigh, not to mention tasty!

Frenchie said...

Cheese making is on my "learn to do" list. I can't have dairy but certain hard cheeses my stomach is okay with. Where do you store you cheeses while they are aging?

CaliforniaGrammy said...

Oh my! This really DOES look yummy! Congratulations on a keeper of a recipe!

Susan said...

Leigh, would I be able to use cow's milk for this cheese? I love the looks of it.

matty said...

This looks terrific. How do you keep the cheese at the constant 50-degrees recommended? I have tried a dorm refrigerator, but the cheese was so sharp we couldn't eat it! (And that is saying something!!)

Looks really yummy! Good cheese is worth the wait, isn't it?

Leigh said...

Nina, if you can find milk that isn't ultrapasteurized, you can still make cheese. Regular pasteurized works, ultra does not.

Jacqueline, thanks!

Frenchie, I store them in the bottom drawer of my refrigerator. I don't have a cheese cave, although many folks have success with a small dorm fridge or wine fridge.

Janice, thanks!

Susan, oh yes. Cows milk would do fine. I read there is a difference in making cheeses depending on the milk, but so far I've done just fine with goats milk. Mainly I'm trying to avoid buying cultures, hence the use of whey. The fun part is experimenting with all the different possibilities.

Matty, well, I don't. I just store it in the bottom drawer of my fridge, which is the warmest place in there. I don't aim for an aging time either, when I'm out of cheese, I just take the next one. :)

The Stay @ Home-Gardener said...

Now that you managed to figure it out, I would suspect you to make quite a few of them at a time... 20 months is a long wait for a block. :D

You simply dip it in a pot of wax afterwards?

Leigh said...

Cloud, they don't really need to age that long. :) That's how slow I am to eat them. Or perhaps I just made to many that year. My stepmom tells me their favorite cheese is a cheddar which is aged 8 years.

Yes, I do dip in wax. For the most part, that keeps them pretty well.

The Stay @ Home-Gardener said...

8 years! whew. I'd imagine quite a lot of zing. ;) Unless after a period of time it goes the opposite?

Quinn said...

Congratulations! That looks and sounds delicious. When I had dairy goats I used to make soft cheeses, which were very tasty, but never got as far as aged, hard cheeses which would have been my next adventure. Now I am living vicariously :)
Last week I splurged on some swiss cheese from a nearby organic dairy where I get raw milk (cow). I tried a sample of the cheese at the dairy and it was delicious - nutty and flavorful. When I opened my purchased package at home and cubed it up for luxurious snacking, it burned my mouth! What the heck?! As an experienced cheesemaker, can you shed any light on mouth-burning cheese? Such a disappointment - and costly, too.

Sue said...

I am so inspired! I'm getting the hang of making mozzarella (3 so far, and the 3rd is the best I think), but I really want to do hard cheeses. And I love the idea of not having to buy cultures. It will probably have to wait until next year, when I hopefully will be milking all 3 of the goat girls. Myrtle is making enough milk for me to play with, but it takes a while to collect a gallon since I use a fair amount of it every day.

Leigh said...

Cloud, my stepmom tells me they've seen cheeses aged for even longer! I can't imagine it gets any milder after all that time.

Quinn, that's very odd. Was it a cows milk Swiss? I can't imagine what would cause that except a problem during processing. You should definitely let them know. Now, goats milk has an enzyme that give raw goat milk cheeses a distinctive, pungent, peppery taste.

Sue, congrats on the mozzarella making! I hear you about milk supply. That's why I didn't make any cheese last summer, except mozzarella. I basically use the recipe from The Little House Cookbook. Ma Ingalls didn't have boughten cultures! I've been experimenting with buttermilk and whey. I've had some non-successes, but I'm finally getting the knack it would seem. At least I hope so. :)

Cat Eye Cottage said...

I love reading your cheese posts, but how do you find room in your refrigerator to store them? And waiting that long to taste would probably be torture for me. What kind of wax do you use? I've read you can use beeswax.

Leigh said...

Candace, I actually have a second fridge in the pantry, for storing things like milk, cheese, grains, and potatoes. Yes, the waiting is hard and I'm glad I made such good notes, so I know what is going on!

I've been using cheese wax that I purchase from Hoegger. I recently researched making the wax myself, because it's expensive and I'd rather find local resources. I can find beeswax but haven't found an actual how-to for cheese wax. The recommendations seem to be for edible waxes, like crayons!

Ron said...

I sure wish I could try it. My "sharp" and yours may be completely different. Either way, you seem to have gotten a good hold on an awesome skill set: cheese making! Me = jealous!

Debby Riddle said...

I love the idea of not using cultures, all the time, they are so expensive. I let my milk culture naturally, but this evidently is why I produced so many parmesan types. I am definitely going to try this.

Leigh said...

OJD, it's been a skill set slow in coming but worth it!

Debby, Dan loves Parmesan so I definitely need to give your method a try. I remember your mentioning it on your blog and hopefully you've done a post with some good details(?)

Laura said...

It was over-aged, and had started to convert some of the proteins to ammonia. Let them know - their entire batch may be bad.

Laura said...

Leigh, in his book, "The Art of Natural Cheesemaking", David Asher recommends using beeswax with 2 T of lard or oil added to make it more pliable. I've waxed a cheese with this, and it's beautiful!

Leigh said...

Hi Laura, so good to hear from you. I'm not sure whom you mean to let know - and about what (??) I'm just getting a new cheese post ready; it will probably publish on Friday. I've figured some things out and think this year's batch will be much, much better. Stay tuned!

Leigh said...

I will definitely have to get that book. I did my first cheese waxing with beeswax last week. I found an online recipe that added vegetable shortening, but I didn't have any so I tried straight for this first time. Good to know about the lard. I will have some of that this winter after we process our first pigs. :)