FARMHOUSE CHEESE


YIELD: APPROXIMATELY 900G
   
INGREDIENTS:
8L milk (not UHT, non-homogenised if possible)
1/2 teaspoon calcium chloride (if milk is homogenised)
4ml annatto
1 dose mesophilic (hard curd) cheese culture (suitable for cheddar, i.e. M030)
1/2 teaspoon liquid rennet   OR   1/2 rennet tablet   OR   1 Mad Millie rennet tablet
3 teaspoons salt (not table salt)
 
METHOD: 
1. Sterilise all of your cheese-making equipment before you begin.
2. Dilute 1/2 teaspoon calcium chloride in a few tablespoons of milk in a large pot. Add remaining milk and annatto, and whisk well.
3. Heat milk to 32°C (88°F), in a double boiler if possible.
4. Sprinkle the cheese culture onto the surface of the milk. Wait 2 minutes before whisking  well. Cover and rest for 60 minutes.
5. Mix (or dissolve) rennet in a few tablespoons of filtered water. Whisk into milk. Cover and rest for 30 minutes.
6. Check for a clean break by cutting into the curd with a knife and lifting slightly. If the edge of the curd splits easily (not too soft) then it is ready to proceed – if not, wait another 5 minutes and try again.
7. Cut the curd into 1-1.5cm pieces. Stir slowly for 5-10 minutes.
8. Cook the curd very slowly, increasing the temperature to 38°C (105°F) over 30-45 minutes. After this, rest the curd for 60-75 minutes, stirring every 10-15 minutes (more = drier cheese). Remove 2-3 cups whey before each stirring.
9. Drain the curd in a lined colander for 30 minutes.
10.  Add salt* and mix well.
11.  Line a round cheese mould with cheesecloth. Add curds. Fold over cheesecloth. Add plate and press for 60 minutes at approximately 4.5kg (10 pounds), then 3 hours at approximately 11kg (25 pounds) and 18 hours at approximately 22.5kg (50 pounds).
12.  Place pressed cheese onto a cheese mat and leave at room temperature to develop a natural rind (3-7 days).
13.  Wax the cheese using yellow cheese wax. Heat the wax bowl over hot water until very hot. Dip half the cheese into the hot wax, dry to touch, rotate cheese by a quarter turn, dip, dry and repeat until cheese is covered in wax.
14.  Age the cheese at 13°C/56°F (85% moisture) for at least 4-6 weeks.
 
*Megan’s Tip: Add other dried flavours i.e. dried cranberries (100g), apricot + chilli + lime, charcoal + black wax, chilli, chilli + lime, garlic, ginger (crystallised), lemon myrtle / lemon + garlic + herbs, mango, native thyme, pepper, pepper berry, pink peppercorn, sage + saltbush, smoked w. gum leaves, paprika, tomato + basil, wattle seed + currants + pepper. 
   
   

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