Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Jarlsberg, Parmesan, and Brie Oh MY!!!

My Jarlsberg after 2 months
So I have been busy with making several cheeses and can now start blogging about them.  The following three cheeses were made from recipes (with some small changes)  from a great book called "Artisan Cheese Making at Home" and also from recipes on New England Cheesemaking website.


First lets start with the Parmesan. It is going to take 9 months to age before we can eat it.
The ingredients I used are as follows:
  • 2 gallons milk (Whole, 2%)
  • A packet of Thermophilic starter
  • 1/2 tsp calcium chloride in 1/4 cup cool water
  • 1/2 tsp liquid rennet in 1/4 cool water
  • Heat milk over low heat (double boiler) to 94ºF
  • Sprinkle thermo B over milk and mix well with whisk
  • add calcium chloride and rennet, gently whisk for 1 minute
    • let set for 45 minutes at 94ºF (until a clean break)
  • Now whisk curds gently to cut curds into pea size pieces
    • let set for 10 minutes
    • slowly raise temp to 124ºF over 1 hour
  • Let set at 124ºF for 10 minutes

looks like cottage cheese after the curds are drained

  • Drain curds in muslin cloth for 5 minutes
  • Put into mold and let drain another 5 minutes
    • Apply 10 lbs for 30 minutes then flip
    • Apply 10 lbs for 1 hour then flip
    • Apply 20 lbs for 12 hours  
Using my press for the very first time
  • I then prepared a salt brine and soaked the cheese at 52ºF for 12 hours (the cheese weighed 1 lb and 12 ounces before brinning)

  • After brinning I dried the cheese with a cheesecloth and let air dry for 3 days
Now it is aging in my cheese cave at 50º, where I first flipped it every day for about two weeks and am now just flipping it every week or so.  I have also rubbed olive oil on it now to help keep the cheese from drying out.  This cheese has been hard trying to keep the mold off, I think one reason is because I do not have very much air flow, so I should get a fan.  Also I was aging the brie (which will be discussed lower down).
My cheese after brinning
my cheese right now after being aged and rubbed with olive oil

Jarlsberg cheese is a Norwegian cheese that is part of the Emmental Swiss family, so you can expect the cheese to have the trademark eyelets that make it "wholly cheese".

The ingredients are as follows:
  • 2 Gallons Milk
  • 1.2 tsp Thermophilic C
  • 1/8 tsp propionic bacteria
  • 1/2 tsp calcium chloride in 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 tsp rennet diluted in 1/4 cup water

The process I followed was:
  • Heat milk to 92ºF in a warm water bath
  • Mix in the propionic then let set for 45 minutes
  • Add calcium chloride and rennet using a whisk gently
    • let set at 92ºF for 45 minutes (until a clean break) 

  • Cut curds into 1/4 inch cubes and stir for 20 minutes
  • Heat 3 cups of water to 140ºF
  • Ladle out enough whey to expose the tops of the curds
    • Add the heated water to bring the temperature of the curds to 100ºF
  • Over low heat raise the temperature to 108ºF over 30 minutes while gently stirring
    • after reaching 108ºF let curds settle and sit for 20 minutes 

  •  Drain curds in a cheesecloth
  •  Press curds in a mold
    • 10 lbs for 30 minutes and flip
    • 15 lbs for 8 hours
  • Brine in a salt water bath for 12 hours at 50ºF to 55ºF
  • Air dry for two days
  • Coat in cheese wax
  • Age at 50ºF for 2 weeks flipping daily
  • Then age at 65ºF for 4-6 more weeks

I have enjoyed eating this cheese, though it does not quite taste like the Jarlsberg I have bought in the store.  It is almost gone, but before it is I need to make sure and make a Jarlsberg Grilled Cheese Sandwich.  When I do, I will have to tell you how it tastes.

American Style Brie

Now Brie is the most advanced cheese I have made to date.  It made me really nervous to make a cheese where you actually want to encourage mold growth.  Usually when you see mold you just wipe it off, but with Brie you want the white mold to grow, in face if you have ever had Brie and have eaten the somewhat hard bitter brine, that is the mold.  So I guess we will have to wait till around Christmas to see if I was successful on my first Brie.

  • 2 gallon whole milk
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • pinch of mesophillic direct set starter
  • 1/4 tsp thermophilic starter
  • 1/8 tsp Penicillium candidum
  • 1/8 tsp Geotrichum candidum
  • 1/4 tsp calcium chloride in 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 tsp rennet in 1/4 cup water

the powder is the mold
What I did:
  • Heat milk to 90ºF
    • Mix in both starters (meso and thermo) and both of the white molds (penicillium and geotrichum)
  • raise temperature to 96ºF
    • turn off heat and let set for 90 minutes
  • mix in the calcium chloride and rennet then whisk gently
    • let set for 30 minutes or until a clean break
  • Cut curds into 3/4 inch cubes
    • stir curds gently for 10-150 minutes
    • let set for 5 minutes then ladle out whey to expose curds
  •  Gently ladle the curds into a mold (I have my wooden cutting board underneath to assist in flipping the cheese because you have to be careful not to break the cheese as you flip it.
  • Let curds drain for 1 hour
  • flip and drain for 1 more hour
  • leave brie at room temperature for 8 hours

I had so much curds I used both my molds, so I have one big brie and one mini brie aging right now

after 1 flip

before aging in cheese cave
  •  Salt each side of the cheese lightly
  • Age at 54ºF at 80% humidity for 12 days, flipping once halfway
  • I have the cheese in some Tupperware containers that I can close. I have put some damp paper towels in the boxes to keep the humidity high
  • They are now sitting in my refrigerator at 38ºF
    • Let age for 5-6 weeks
cheese before aging

you can start seeing the mold growth on the side
I am excited to see how the Brie turns out.  We will try to eat around Christmas.  Hopefully it does not kill us because I plan to take the small brie into work for my coworkers to try.  I will keep you posted in the progress of the brie. 

Also I plan to make cheese curds soon, hopefully this coming weekend.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

My cheesy birthday

So it's been a while since I have wrote in the blog.  But that doesn't mean I have stopped making cheese or not much has happened.  First I had my birthday and I got a lot of good stuff for my birthday to help my my cheese making hobby. 

So for my birthday I got many good things.  I will try to describe them starting from the lower left hand corner.  First I have a new cheese book that I am really enjoying.  It is called Artisan Cheese Making at Home by Mary Karlin  it is a great book that it a little more intermediate but has a lot of good recipes in it.  I hope to eventually do every single recipe (or variation) that is in the book.  Next you can see a a zip lock bag that has some ingredients. It contains some bacteria one is penicilliam and the other is Geotrichum   next I have cheese cloth and above that I have a food scale so I can see how much my cheese weighs, going right from that I have some cultures the two there are thermophyllic and proprionic gas.  Next I have a cheese board with 4 cheese knives/forks so I can make some good cheese plates.  Then in the back you have my cheese press. The press came with two cylinders.  Depending on how much cheese I am making at the time.  2 gallons of milk or 4 gallons of milk.  On either side of the press you can see some cheese mats that are good to use when drying out the cheese or when aging it in your fridge.  With these supplies I will be able to make cheeses from Brie, to Cheddar, to Parmesan.

All in all you can see I got a lot of good stuff.  I was very happy with what I got, hopefully for Christmas I will get a few more things, like maybe a cheese slicer, or a good thermometer/barometer that I can put downstairs to make sure I keep my cheese at the right temp and humidity.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Cheesemaking Book Review: The Joy of Cheesemaking

Before I get to the review, take a look at this beautiful caprese salad that my wife arranged from some of my fresh mozzarella.  It was a really good salad and I was very happy with the mozzarella.  I made it to take to a party at a friends house and I made it very quickly will little guidance from a recipe.  I guess I have made mozzarella enough times now to know how to make it.  One nice thing is that it turned out almost as good as when I used the Snowville dairy milk.  Not sure what made it turn out good.  I did have to open a new bottle of rennett since I used up all of my first bottle. The salad is made up of tomatoes, mozzarella, basil, olive oil, salt, pepper, and some homemade balsamic syrup my wife made.

This is the 2nd book on cheesemaking I have read.  I will do a review on the first at a later date. First I will tell you what I liked about the book, then what I thought could be better.  Keep in mind I am writing this from the perspective as a relatively new cheesemaker. 

I really like the color pictures in the book.  It showed some nice pictures and had some nice stories of small operation cheesemakers.   Also at the end of the book it had some very good information regarding how to cut different shapes of cheese and how to have a balanced cheese board.  By making sure to put different types of textures, flavors, and milk on the board.  All in all I would recommend this book to people who want to learn more about cheese and how to eat it.  A good book for those who plan on buying the cheese at the store and then bringing it home and having a cheese tasting.

Now some of the things I did not like.  The recipes were really lacking for a "home" cheesemaker.  A lot of the recipes called for 5 gallons of milk.  This can be hard unless you have a big enough pot.  Even if you have a big enough pot (I do) I would not want to commit 5 gallons of milk to a cheese I had never made before.  The book goes into a lot of detail on calculations on how much culture to use and how long after you get the right PH number before you should get a clean break.  They also required some more advance equipment like a PH tester.  While this book might be good for a commercial cheesemaker I would not recommend it for someone who is new or even intermediate in the cheesemaking field. 

So if you are looking for a book to help you appreciate cheese then this might be your book but if you are looking for some guidance in your new found hobby I would not recommend this book.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Spanish Cheese, Manchego

So after making my first hard cheese, Farmhouse Cheddar, I looked for a hard cheese I could make that did not need to take very long to age.  For those who know me well, I have little patience and so it has been really hard for me not to cut open my cheddar and see how it tastes.  So I found one.  This is a Spanish Cheese and it is called Manchego.  It is traditionally made from sheep milk but I used cow since I do not have access to sheep.  I was quite excited to try it since I lived in Spain for two years and enjoyed several of the cheeses there. 

First there are several types of Manchego. There is Manchego Fresco (fresh) which can be aged anywhere from a couple of days up to 2 weeks.  Manchego Curado (Cured) aged three to six months.  And then there is Manchego Viejo (old) which is aged at least one year.

Ingredients with my ever faithful cheese journal
 So first the ingredient list
  • 2 Gallons 2% milk
  • 1 packet mesopholic starter
  • 1 packet thermophilic starter
  • 1/2 tsp calcium chloride
  • 1/2 tsp Rennett diluted in 1/4 cup water
  • 2 lbs canning salt
  • 1 gallon water

-I first added the milk and heated it to 86°F

 -After reaching this temperature I turned off the heat and put in the calcium chloride mixed it up really well and then I put in both cultures.  Then I let it set for 45 minutes off the heat (I was using a double boiler)

-Next I added the diluted rennet and stirred (checking the temperature and making sure it was staying at 86°F, when it dipped I put it back on the heat).  I then let this set, covered, for 30 minutes.
Clean break of the curds

 -After getting a clean break I cut the curds in to 1/2 inch cubes, then let it set for 5 more minutes.

 -Next came a new part for me and before I started I did not realize I had to sit there for 30 minutes stirring the curds with a whisk gently changing the 1/2 inch cubes into little rice size curds.  For me it looked a lot like cottage cheese at first.

The curds while I stirred them

The curds near the end of the 30 minutes
 -Now I heated the curds slowly to 104°F (increasing 2° every couple of minutes) stirring gently
    -then let the curds set for 5 minutes.

-I then poured off the whey (keeping it to make whey ricotta out of it) and ladled the curds into a cheesecloth lined mold.

Pouring off the whey but still capturing any curds that sneak through
The curds after pouring off most of the whey

-Next I pressed the bricks with the same crude press I used last time using 1 brick for every 5 lbs of pressure I needed
    -First 15 lbs for 15 minutes, then taking cheese out flip it over and then back into the press
    -repeat this 3 times but on the third time use 35 lbs (7 bricks) for 6 hours.

Manchego in mold after being pressed
Cheese out of mold, after being pressed

-Next I created a salt brine solution by using 2 lbs of cheese and 1 gallon of water I soaked the cheese in this brine for 6 hours at 55°F

-After the 6 hours I cut the brick of cheese in half, so that I can eat one as a Fresco and hopefully the other as a Curado

-Now I coated both bricks of cheese (I estimate that each one was around 1lb so 2 lbs in total, but I need to get a food scale soon so I will now exactly) in olive oil. 

For those who have been to Spain or know anything about them they use olive oil for everything, I was often told contradictory things that olive oil can do, for example if you have a dry scalp use olive oil, if you have dandruff use olive oil, if you want to gain weight use olive oil, if you want to lose weight use olive oil, etc...  So in my mind using the olive oil is what make it very Spanish.

Me coating the Manchego in olive oil

So that is it for this adventure, I am quite satisfied.  I did have some troubles at the beginning keeping the water at 86°F it kept wanting to be a little higher.  I will have to figure out a easy way of keeping the temperature steady.  I am really excited to try this cheese in the next few days.  We will see if I can wait till the weekend before I break into it.  Now I just need to flip it every day and rub of any mold that grows with some salt water.  Sometime soon I need to make some more cheddar because at work we will be having a chili cook-off and I want to bring my own cheese to put on top of it.

My cheese fridge in my basement.  The ones on the top row is my Farmhouse Cheddar coated in red wax and my Manchego below that coated in olive oil.


Sunday, September 4, 2011

Different Milk, Different Results

I have made homemade Mozzarella several times now, each time I have had to adapt a little from the recipe I was following because I could never get the cheese to set enough.  Some things I have had to do were letting the mozzarella set after putting in the rennett longer than the 5 minutes the recipe called for (I was letting it set for as much as 20 minutes).  I have also had to let the mozzarella drain in a hung cheesecloth.  I had to do this to get the mozzarella dry enough to handle.  After talking to the Specialty Cheese Category Manager at work he said I should try Snowville Dairy milk since it has not been homogenized.  So I decided to try it.  I had to go to a grocery store a little ways away to get it and it was $7.00 for a gallon of this milk, so a little expensive for my blood.  I thought I would try it and see if it was worth the extra money.
Ingredients used, you can see the Snowville Dairy milk
  • 1 Gallon Whole Milk
  • 1 1/2 tsp citric acid diluted in 1 cup cool water
  • 1/4 tsp Rennett diluted in 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tsp salt
-First mix well the milk and citric acid in pot, heat milk mixture to 90 degrees
    -take off heat and add Rennet carefully, stirring very gently in a up and down motion.
-Let milk set 7 minutes

You can see a much better clean break from this Snowville Dairy milk

-Cut curds into 1/2 inch cubes
-Heat to 105 degrees stirring gently
    -you are suppose to do this so the cheese does not knit back together, in the past my curds were not strong enough to knit back together so I did not do it, this time however with the better milk they did knit back together, so make sure to stir gently.

-After you reach 105 degrees turn off heat and let it set for 5 minutes
-Next ladle curds with a slotted spoon into a microwave safe bowl
   -Pour off as much whey as possible, form mozzarella into a ball
-Knead curds (wear globes the cheese is hot)

Me kneading the curds, you can see all the whey leaving the curds

-Microwave for 1 minute, take out and knead cheese
-Microwave for 30 seconds (two times) each time taking out and kneading cheese
-Add salt and start the fun part of stretching the cheese like taffy.  Do this until it starts to cool and has a nice sheen, then form into a ball.

Me having fun with pulling the cheese like taffy
My Snowville Dairy homemade mozzarella ball

 My wife grabbed some tomatoes from our fridge (store bought) and we ate cheese and tomatoes, but then I went to the garden and got a fresh tomato.  You can see the difference, the garden tomato is the darker red one and it tasted so much better.

Yummy tomatoes and mozzarella, plus my wife had some pesto she had bought to go with it.
All in all it was a more successful cheese making then I have had in the past.  Using the Snowville Dairy milk that had not been homogenized really helped with getting a really good clean break, however the taste of this mozzarella was not much different then my past ones, so I do not think I will make it a habit to use this much more expensive milk.  I guess if I ever make a video on how to make home made mozzarella or was asked to teach a few people I might buy it so I can show them how it is suppose to work, but most likely I will just continue to use the cheaper milk I have found locally.

Also this weekend I made a Spanish cheese called Manchego.  I lived in Spain for 2 years so I was excited to make this cheese, also it only takes a few days to age for Manchego Fresco, but you can let it age longer for a stronger flavor, look again soon to see how that went.

Also if you like the blog please click on the "Follow" button, it nice to see who enjoys reading.