October 28, 2009

Habanero Jack

Habaneros on the chopping block

The other night my friends Dana and Lindsey came over to lend a hand with a fresh batch of cheese.  Our mutual friend Sean grows his own Habanero Chiles, and was kind enough to share a few with me.  Natch, we used them to make a Monterey Playa Del Rey Pepper Jack.

A few weeks had already passed before I made use of the peppers.  Unfortunately, a bit of mold had started growing on two of them, so I had to toss those (sorry, Sean!).  BUT, I figured two would probably be enough anyway, though -- they're damn spicy.  (Note: Use gloves when handling these suckers!).

Having said that:  I stole a wee taste, and I'm afraid it won't be spicy enough.  Not sure if aging will bring out more heat...

I'm also not sure if there's enough salt.  Ricki's recipe may have a few typos*... She calls for only one gallon of milk (most of her hard cheese recipes use two gallons), but I figured I'd trust the recipe and double all the other ingredients.  Not that it matters, since we forgot to double the calcium chloride and salt (but we measured the "proper" amount of rennet--using the double-strength stuff). 

I guess worst case scenario is that we'll need to make a speecy-spicy-salty dipping sauce in a few months!

Boiling the diced habaneros

 Draining the curds, just before mixing in the peppers.

2 gal. Trader Joe's Organic Whole Milk
2 homegrown Habanero Peppers
1 packet Direct-Set Mesophilic Starter

1/4 tsp. Calcium Chloride
1/2 tsp. Double-Strength Liquid Vegetarian Rennet
1 tbs. Cheese Salt

* Besides the one-gallon/two-gallon potential goof, the recipe calls for pressing at 1-pound for 15 minutes, and then at 4-pounds for 12 hours.  I'm guessing she really meant 10-pounds and 40-pounds.  Didn't catch that until after we had already pressed at 1-pound... the curds knit together okay, but the edges are a little lumpy.  Live and learn, I suppose.

Pepper Jack Cheese on FoodistaPepper Jack Cheese

1 comment:

  1. That's ok, I've got more: http://chillindamos.blogspot.com/2009/10/trick-or-treat.html
    Mold on habaneros is just like mold on cheese, just brush it off and your fine. To kick it up a few notches, put a few habanero seeds in that kettle next time.


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