August 2, 2009


Yesterday was my first attempt at Swiss! It's a similar process to the other hard cheeses, with the notable exception of adding a specific bacteria--Propionic shermanii--to the milk at the same time as the thermophilic starter. (That's what will produce the gas during aging, creating the famous "holes" in the cheese.)

Part of the process is cooking the curds, bringing them all the way up to 120F degrees -- by far the highest temp I've had to hit for cooking curds (cheddar only neeeds to go to 104F). Then there's the stirring...and stirring... and stirring. I was definitely happy to make use of my motorized stirrer!

Pictured above is the cheese after pressing overnight, floating in a saturated brine solution. Tonight I'll take it out of the brine and start aging. The aging is a bit more specific on this one: One week in the cave (50-55F, 85% humidity), then 2-3 weeks at room temp, and then back in the cave (45F, 80% humidity) for at least three months. No wax on this one, either, so it'll be interesting to see how it fares. I'll keep you posted, of course!

2 gal. Trader Joe's Organic Whole Milk
1/4 tsp. freeze-dried Thermophilic Starter
1/8 tsp. freeze-dried Propionic shermanii
1/4 tsp. Double-Strength Liquid Vegetable Rennet
1 gal. Saturated Brine Solution

August 1, 2009

Best Ricotta Yet!

While my first attempt at Swiss (post on that coming soon) is still in the press, I whipped up a batch of Ricotta with the leftover whey.
Hoping to increase the yield, I added a pint of heavy cream directly to the pot of whey. After bringing the mixture up to 200 degrees, I added 1/8 cup Apple Cider Vinegar to be sure to curdle the cream. Let it sit for 5 minutes, then ladled it into a colander lined with butter muslin. Hung it to drain for 45 minutes, then mixed in a teaspoon of salt.

The result? Light, fluffy, buttery, and absolutely delicious!

Yield was a little over 2 cups. Without the cream, it would have been about 3/4 cup at most, and not nearly as amazing a texture.
Last time I made Whey Ricotta, I used a quart of whole milk instead of the heavy cream. The yield was about the same, but it wasn't nearly as indulgent. Also, I used 1/4 cup of vinegar (as per the recipe), and the flavor was too strong in the final cheese... hence cutting that in half this time.

Dang. This is good.

Approx. 1 1/2 gallons leftover Whey from Swiss Cheese
16 oz. Heavy Cream
1/8 cup Apple Cider Vinegar
1 tsp. Flake Salt

"Fromage and Foamage"

Quick article in Wine Enthusiast, encouraging beer & cheese pairings. Can't argue that!

Speaking of which: Hey Chillindamos, what are we going to pair?

"If you’re thinking of jumping on the fromage and foamage bandwagon, start with a line up of favorite cheeses and beer. Knowing the flavor profile of each before trying to pair flavors makes libation matching easier.

Decide if you want a match that will contrast or harmonize. Most beer and cheese pairings will be pleasant. What you consider the most delightful is a matter of what you want to experience."