Saturday, 20 March 2010

February cheeses update

Mainly for my own notes, we tried a camembrie a week ago and another one today. Mild, quite nice. Not quite ripe yet. It really is hard to predict.

Sunday, 28 February 2010

First cheese of 2010, and the birth of panoumi.

After something of a hiatus (stupid, given that Winter seems the best season for helpful cheesemaking conditions), I started off another batch of three camembries and an experiment.

Feb 13th: same old recipe -- 11 pints of milk, 18 drops of rennet, a tablespoon of yoghurt, some chopped brie rind, three hours to clabber, cut, heat slowly to 105, stand, scoop into moulds, drain, flip, flip, flip, flip...

...and they're looking good today (Feb 28th) and I've transferred them from ambient (but cool) conditions to the fridge. Though I should switch to waxed paper in future rather than baking parchment because the paper sticks and tears.

But at the same time I also tried something new. I used the remaining curds to fill a small, unlined hard cheese mould, but I didn't press it. It just drained under its own weight and then after 48 hours I covered it in salt and left it, covered, in the fridge, flipping and draining when I remember. Two weeks on it's a firmish white cheese with a slightly wet-and-crumbly texture. It's quite salty but might be nice in small slivers on biscuits with jalapenos, or something similar.

Actually, I've just tried frying it and it behaves a bit like halloumi or paneer. I think I will attempt to perfect this one -- and reduce the saltiness -- and try making it with mint, chilli or cumin and see how it turns out. I'm going to christen it Panoumi.

Saturday, 3 October 2009

Hard Luck Cheese

I started a hard cheese yesterday but events overtook me and after cutting the curd I was unable to look after it so it cooled in place. Later I dained it through muslin and today I'm pressing it as if it had worked, though without salting the curds. We'll see what happens.

Two cheeses' worth of curds from 10 pints of milk, for what it's worth. Because I only have the one mould (and press) they were alternated for short stints at first and longer later, all with 3kg or so of weight on a 2:1 lever, so ~6kg of pressure.

ETA - the morning after and the cheeses have compressed (a little lopsidedly) to about two inch high. I suspect it's too late to press them square again so I might cut them or perhaps leave them as they are.

Friday, 18 September 2009

First hard cheese results

After six weeks I couldn't wait any longer so we've just tried the first attempt at hard cheese.

First impressions are that it was very successful. Obviously quite young at six months but still quite moist -- I'd expected it to be dry after not waxing it. It's vaguely like a Mahon or Manchego except slightly softer. Very creamy and, unfortunately, very moreish. It would suit making in batches a lot better than camembries which all reach the "Coming, ready or not..." point at roughly the same time. Hard cheeses would mature so you could have one young and then have them successively more ripe.

Of course, actually making several at once could be a challenge because they use a lot of milk and I only have one press, but it's worth some thought.

The photos are of the cheese with the chief taster here, and as served with home grown grapes. Lovely.

Monday, 31 August 2009

More camembries

On Saturday I started off a new batch of camembries using virtually the same procedure as always: 11 pints of milk (the twelfth becoming yoghurt), a tablespoon or so of yoghurt, a tablespoon of bried, 21 drops of rennet, three hours to clabber and then the change: I didn't cut the curd but ladled it in large chunks into the moulds. The first one leaked quite badly after a while perhaps because it got the first of the curd but more likely because it was just loaded too quickly. Perhaps next time I'll half fill them all then wait for them to settle a little before adding more.

After the three camembert moulds were filled the remaining curd was put into a pair of basket moulds and a draining bag. One has been imersed in brine (it's a bit soft but I thought I'd see what happened) and the other was mashed with black pepper and garlic, as was the bag cheese.

The camembries were flipped the next day, twice, and again today, are now almost firm enough for me to remove the moulds.

As an aside, this time the yoghurt was put in a thermos flask instead of a tub on a heater. It seemed to work quite well.

No photos so far because it all looks the same as previous batches.

Sunday, 23 August 2009

Hard Cheese Update

After 20 days of drying, turning, and occasionally scraping and dabbing mould with vinegar and salt, I've now oiled the cheese and wrapped it in paper.

It feels heavy and firm but not rock-hard and it's awfully tempting to try it. Really though it needs at least another two weeks and preferably a month or two.

Perhaps next weekend I'll get some soft or brined cheese on the go again to tide us over.

Monday, 3 August 2009

A quick shot this morning of the hard cheese started yesterday. For scale, this is a camembert sort of sized block but about twice as deep, and quite dense. I have to figure out what I'm going to do about sealing it or allowing a rind to form. Wax seems to be the usual option but I haven't got any and I'm also short of equipment for that. I might go for a parmesan style oil coating. We'll see.