Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Cutting into the cheeses

There's nothing as satisfying in cheesemaking as cutting into a new cheese, especially one that I've never made before, and finding it good.  This week, I had two satisfactions--a Gruyere and a Roqueforti Dulce.  Two more different cheeses would be hard to find, but oh!  how good they both were!  My family and neighbors, who are my testers, waxed eloquent over them.

The Gruyere--which I had actually made with the wrong thermophilic culture--was nutty flavored, full of tiny holes, and aged perfectly.  The Roqueforti Dulce was smooth, creamy, and mild, though full of blue cheese flavor.

I have several more cheeses coming due soon. I'll report back when I make the final cut.

 "Gruyere B", already on its way to extinction.

Soft, smooth, and creamy Gorgonzola Dolce

Monday, February 18, 2013

Cambozola--the final cut

Back in November,  I made a Cambozola cheese which I hoped would turn out well.  It did, but since I had more milk that I had to use up in January, when my does were drying off, I decided to make a second batch, being a bit more careful with the make.  Actually, what I did after looking at several recipes and mulling it over in my mind was to make Camembert, add blue mold (P. roqueforti), and see how it turned out.  I added some blue mold directly to the heated milk, carefully scooped out the finished curds into two molds--one a 4-1/4", the other a 5", and sprinkled even more blue mold onto the curds, the added more curds.  When the cheese was fully drained, I tucked it away just as I would a Camembert.

Several days into the aging, I used a sterilized skewer to poke holes from the side to encourage the growth of the blue mold.  Since the white mold was growing so vigorously, I had to reopen the holes every few days.

About 3 or 4 weeks into the make, I tried the smaller round.  Delicious!  Now I was hopeful that the second cheese would be even better, since it was aging more slowly.

I'm here to report that indeed it was.  Last Wednesday I cut into the second of the two rounds.  I wish I could show pictures of my beautiful cheese, but I was too busy eating it to take any.  I shared half with a few friends over lunch on Wednesday, and shared the rest with a neighbor homesteader on Sunday.  Spread on Wasa type rye crackers, it was divine, even though it was a little runnier than I prefer by then.  Perfect for my neighbor though, whose tastes tend to a runnier cheese.

Next time I'll try to contain myself long enough to take some pictures, but I'm not promising anything.