- -2 gallons of milk (not ultra-pasteurized). Raw milk may also be used.
- -1 Packet Mesophilic DS culture
- -1/16 tspPropionic Shermanii culture (essential for producing the holes)
- -½vegetable rennet tablet dissolved in some distilled water
- -Brine, recipe for brine is: 1 Gallon of water to which is added 2 Lbs of Salt, 1tbs. Calcium Chloride (30% solution), and 1 tsp. white vinegar
- -A good thermometer
- -A knife to cut the curds, and a spoon or ladle to stir the curds with.
- -Small hard cheese mold
- -Cheesecloth to line the mold and for re-wrapping.
- Calcium chloride for pasteurized cold stored milk diluted in distilled water.
-Everything needs to be clean and sanitized
Acidifying and Heating the Milk
- Begin by heating the milk to 84F (86F if using raw milk with higher fat). You do this by placing the milk in a pot or sink of very warm water. If you do this in a pot on the stove, make sure you heat the milk slowly and stir it well as it heats.
- Once the milk is at the proper temperature, the culture can be added (1/2 tsp calcium chloride as well if using store bought milk).
- 1 packet of mesophilic culture
- 1/16 tsp Propionic.shermanii for either pasteurized or raw milk
- To prevent the powder from caking and sinking in clumps, sprinkle the powder over the surface of the milk and then allow about 2 minutes for the powder to re-hydrate before stirring it in.
- Allow the milk to ripen at the above temp for 45min to 1 hr. Keep the milk covered and quiet during this time.
- While waiting for the milk to ripen, heat 2 gallons of non-chlorinated water to 130F. This will be used in the following steps to heat the curd and replace the whey you will be removing.
Coagulation with Rennet:
- Add the dissolved rennet and stir well for one minute
- The milk now needs to sit quietly for 40-45 minutes while the culture works and the rennet coagulates the curd. You should notice the milk begin to thicken in 10-15 minutes, but allow it to continue firming for the full time. The thermal mass of the water bath should keep the milk warm during this period.
Cutting Curds and Releasing the Whey
- Once a firm curd has formed:
- The curd mass can be cut 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. This will reduce the lactose, thus slowing the bacteria and the acid production down. This will be what makes the elastic texture for this cheese.
Cooking the Curds
- Now it is time to begin drying out the curds. This will be done by increasing the heat slowly to 102F.
- This will be done by adding the hot water at 130F slowly to the curds:
- Slowly add back water at 130F to reach 95F in 5 min.
- Stir for 5 min.
- Add remaining water to reach a curd temp of 102F in the next 5-10 minutes. The final water addition should equal whey taken out for lactose dilution.
- 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 vat for better consolidation of curd.
Removing the Whey
- Next, drain whey to 1” above cheese surface and add plate large enough to cover the curd mass for moderate pressing under the whey. Use approximately 1/2 of the expected curd weight (1.5 lbs for 2 gal) as top weight. This will help to consolidate the warm curd nicely and minimize any mechanical holes in the cheese body.
- Remove remaining whey and transfer curd mass into cloth and then immediately to forms for draining. Here simply roll the consolidated curd mass into the press cloth and gather it as a single cheese, then transfer this to the mold.
- The pressing for this cheese should be rather minimal, because we have already done a pre-press under the whey in the vat to consolidate the cheese body.
- Begin by pressing at about 2 times the cheese weight, which should be about (5-6 lbs for the 2 gallon batch).
- Turn the cheese and re-wrap in press cloth at 1 hr. intervals and increase weight after about 1-1.5 hrs if needed for a smooth surface. The weight can be increased to 12-15 lbs. Keep the cheese warm during this period at 75-80F, or as close to it as you can get, during total press time of 5 hours. Keeping the cheese in a double boiler while pressing will help
- At the end of this period, the cheese should have developed its final acidity and should be moved to a cooler (52-56F) space to rest until the next morning (8-10 hours). The cheese should not be allowed to develop excessive acid greater than a final pH of 5.2-5.3 because this will impede the development of the gas forming bacteria.
- The final cheese should show a nice tight rind with no openings to harbor molds. This will make the surface so much easier to maintain and keep clean through its aging life. The cheese to the right is ready for it's brine bath.
- You should have a saturated brine prepared for salting this cheese.
- You will find all of the details you need on brining here:
- A simple brine formula is: 1 gallon of water to which is added 2.25 lbs of salt, 1tbs. calcium chloride (30% solution), and 1 tsp. white vinegar.
- The cheese now needs to be set in the brine for about 2.5 - 3 hrs per lb.
- 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
- Now here is where things get interesting:
- Following brining, dry off cheese and move to the cool aging space at 50-55F for 7 to 12 days. Turn and control mold with a brine damp cloth daily.
- Do not wax the cheese yet
- Move to an aging space of 65-70F and 80% moisture for 10 to 15 days of hole development. (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. Once the cheese has swollen, eye production is done the cheese can be cooled down again to the 50 to 56 degree temp.
- 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.