Saturday, 28 March 2009

Ripe? It almost drowned me...

Well the camembert from the end of Feb has been interesting. One didn't form a proper covering of mould and didn't really ripen. The one from three days later, is so ripe as to be liquid now. A bit too ripe, really, but not with the sometimes present overpowering taste of ammonia, thankfully.

So there we go... the end of another batch of cheese. There are three more on the go, though. No photos but they're nice and firm and starting to show mould. Fingers crossed...

Sunday, 15 March 2009

Camembert Update

Here are two of the camemberts after 36 hours or so of settling, draining and being flipped twice.

I didn't menti0n in the previous post that the remaining curds ended up in a hard cheese mould, though as I don't have a press I could only muster about 3kg of pressure. Still, there's a reasonably firm, 2cm high cheese floating in brine in the fridge now and tomorrow it will be brought out again, drained and tried. Depending on how it goes I'm thinking of trying to dry it out a fair bit into a grating cheese along the lines of romano or parmesan.

Of course, an experimental cheese will always be a wayward thing and so if in a month or so I'm talking about the harvarti or cheshire I made in mid-March, I trust you'll be polite enough not to comment.

Friday, 13 March 2009

Three Cheese Friday

Today I tried making a large batch of cheese. It turned out to be just over three camemberts worth -- the product of 11 pints (6.25 litres) of milk.

There recipe has been the same as the tried and tested one. Heat the milk to 86F (overshoot, cool), add a few tablespoons of yoghurt and some brie rind.

Leave to ripen (and cool back to 86F) for about half an hour. Rennet (22 drops, based on the 3-4 drops per litre stipulation on the packet). Leave at 86F for a couple of hours to set.

Cut the curd and (new step I've been missing) raise the temperature to 100F as the curd settles and sinks.

Ladle out the curds into moulds and leave to drain.

So hopefully I can expect three camemberts sometime early next month.

Sunday, 8 March 2009

Camembert Update

A quick photographic update on the two camemberts on the go. The older (but smaller) one looks like this.

Definite signs of white mould growing. I have high hopes.

The later, and large, camembert refused to dry as quickly until I wrapped it in cheese cloth:

And has spontaneous blue mould. Delicious, I'm sure.

In other news (apparent from the above), I've switched to digikam for photo management and despite trying to get the colour management set up correctly for raw imports it's obviously way out somewhere. Some curve is being applied somewhere it shouldn't be. My fault not its, I'm sure. But that's a problem for another day.

Saturday, 7 March 2009

Brined cheese

Today I had a first attempt at brined cheese, in the feta or halloumi sort of style. No photos through laziness, but I now have a jar of cubes of cheese that certainly look like feta sitting in brine in the fridge. I also chopped and dry fried some like halloumi. Although it was very young it seemed to cook in the right way and the taste was in the right area, if a little bland.

But back to the beginning. This was four pints (2.2L) of whole fat organic cows' milk, heated to 86F, renneted and left to sit for an hour at which point it hadn't coagulated. Just as well, as it was around now I remembered to add the yoghurt starter culture (in drops, not stirred, to avoid distutbing the early stages of curd formation). After two hours I had a clean break and cut the curd then raised the temperature to 104F over a period of about 45 minutes. I strained the curd in cheesecloth lining a colander, and pressed it under 4kg for an hour or two, turning a couple of times.

I then cut and cooked the semi-firm curd blocks in the whey at 186F or so for another hour. After this I diced them, salted them and let them rest for another hour before dry-frying a little and putting the rest in brine in the fridge.

As a side show I also heated the whey to just short of boiling and stirred in a teaspoon of vinegar and almost instantly ended up with globules of fine curd which I strained to get something like a ricotta.
I'm seriously thinking of scaling things up a bit though, but first I'd need a much bigger stainless steel pan.

Sunday, 1 March 2009

End of January Camembert: The finished article

Last night my impatience and excitement finally got the better of me and we cut the camembert that I started at the end of January (see my other blog).

This was a much milder and more buttery cheese than my first attempt which was more of an Epoisses or Munster type (somewhat by chance). As much as I enjoyed that one, this one turned out exactly as intended and that makes me all the more pleased with it.

This morning my current two projects (both intended to be camemberts) are eight and five days old (or something like that). Checking my notes I shouldn't be disappointed that they haven't got white mould on yet but even so I still don't have enough faith in all this magic to be confident that they'll do what they're supposed to. Ah well... in a week I should know more. In the mean time I'm considering buying a couple more draining moulds so I can make more than one cheese at a time, because it's an awful lot of effort to go to for a single cheese. And perhaps I'll get one suitable for pressing hard cheese in too. And some B. Linens for making proper (rather than by chance) washed rind cheeses. And perhaps some P.Roqueforti too...