How is this cheese made:
This is a cow’s milk cheese made with a mixture of bacteria. You will need a mesophyllic and propionic bacteria.The cheese is made with whole milk, and I do not pasteurize so it will need to be aged at least 90 days.
You will need?
2 gallons of whole raw milk
1/8 tsp of mesophyllic starter culture
1/16tsp of propionic shermanii culture
1.5 ml of rennet
Heat the milk to 86F, temps and amounts matter in this cheese. I put the milk in my STERILE ss pot, always use sterile equipment when making raw cheese. I place over my water reservoir and use a thermometer. We want to raise the temp slowly. Stir while heating.
Add your culture now. As always, sprinkle the culture on the milk and wait two minutes before stirring. Then let ripen 45 minutes to an hour. After this time, add your rennet and let set for 45 minutes. Be sure to keep an eye on the temperature and keep it around 85F.
heat 2 gallons of water to 130F. This will be used to replace the whey.
I use my balloon wisk to cut the curd mass into 3/8 inch pieces as evenly as possible over 5-10 minutes. Allow the curds to rest for 5 minutes and then stir gently for another 5 minutes. Allow the curds to settle to the bottom of the vat for another 5 minutes. Next, you will carefully remove 1/3 of the whey . Slowly add back water at 130F to reach 95F in 5 min.
Stir for 5 min. Add as much of the remaining water to reach a curd temp of 102F in the next 5-10 minutes.
Next, stir for 30-40 minutes slowly to keep curds moving. This will achieve the final dryness. Make sure to check the curds for proper dryness. The final curds should be cooked well through and should be examined to make sure that enough moisture has been removed. A broken curd should be firm throughout and the curds should have a moderate resistance when pressed between the fingers. When this point is reached, let curds settle and consolidate mass to one side of pan. Next, drain whey to 1” above cheese surface and add plate large enough to cover the curd mass for moderate pressing under the whey.
Remove remaining whey and transfer curd mass into cloth and then immediately to forms for draining. Here I simply roll my consolidated curd mass into the press cloth and gather it as a single cheese, then transfer this to the mold. Press lightly for an hour. Remove, rewrap and press again for another hour.
Now you will salt the cheese
You should have a brine solution prepared for salting this cheese
A simple brine formula is: a gal of water, 2.25lbs of salt, 1 T calcium chloride and 1 tsp white vinegar. Set the cheese in the brine for 2 to 3 hours. The cheese will float above the brine surface, so sprinkle another teaspoon or 2 of salt on the top surface of the cheese.
Flip the cheese and re-salt the surface about half way through the brine period.
The cheese should not be over salted because this will also impede the development of the gas producing propionic bacteria
Following brining, dry off cheese and move to the cool aging space at 50-55F for 2-4 weeks. Turn and control mold with a brine damp cloth daily.
Do not wax the cheese until full hole development occurs.
Move to an aging space of 65-70F and 80% moisture for 3-4 weeks of hole development or 2-3 weeks for smaller holes (this will be somewhat determined by the condition of your initial cool aging). Make sure you turn the cheese daily to help even out the moisture, because this will affect the hole sizes and distribution.
The time in this room will determine the amount of gas produced, the size of the holes, and the amount of swelling in the cheese. The cheese may be waxed at this point or simply dry brushed periodically for a natural rind.
Move to cold room 45-50F and 85% moisture for a month or more for flavor development.