Another experiment here! This is a variation on my last cheddar – basically the same recipe and process but with peppers and bacon grease.
I used the same method as the past few types of cheddar and got a clean break. The only difference being I used a gallon of milk this time as opposed to a half gallon.
- Gallon Straus Family whole milk, non-homogenized
- 1-2 teaspoon mesophilic(DS) starter
- 1 tablet rennet
After the break, I followed the typical cheddaring process:
After a couple of hours in the press, I lightly rubbed a bacon grease/spicy pepper rub on the cheese. I re-wrapped it in a fresh cheese cloth for another day in the press. The peppers consisted of habanera, jalapeño and serrano chiles. Yikes, this will be a spicy one!
Looks like Christmas...
After a couple of days I waxed it and put into my brand new ‘cheese cave’. Or, wine fridge I should say. I will age this a few months if I can stand the wait.
For this variation on cheddar, I went in all the way! This is the one I hope to eventually perfect. My flag-ship cheddar if you will.
I used a similar method/recipe as my last two cheddars with a more intensive cheddaring process this time around – In other words, I allowed more time for this: (http://tinyurl.com/yjxxupc). The goal in this process is to develop the proper amount of acidity and remove enough moisture in order for the cheese to age well.
- Half gallon Straus Family whole milk, non-homogenized
- 1-2 teaspoon mesophilic(DS) starter (http://tinyurl.com/yke6239)
- 1/4 tablet rennet (and another ¾ tablet)
Troubleshooting: I added another ¾ of a tablet to achieve the break. I am not sure what is happening here but next time I will go straight to a full tablet. This could be due to the milk (non-homog) or possibly not achieving the right acidity. I will eventually purchase a handy-dandy pH meter, but until then…guessing is the game.
In addition to a longer cheddaring process, I began pressing this on Saturday night to allow for a full 24 hours in Mr. Press.
Here’s the kicker. I bought a tub of Trader Joe’s Dark Coffee beans and ground them up as finely as possible in our coffee grinder. Sunday morning, we had a good-ol American style breakfast of bacon and eggs. The bacon happened to be Niman Ranch. I ground two, cooked pieces of bacon in our food processor, added back some bacon grease and let it settle. As soon as the newly minted slab of cheese had pressed, I mixed the coffee and bacon bits into a sort of sludge mixture. I lightly rubbed this super intense mixture onto the surface of the cheese and re-wrapped it for one last quick press. After a few hours, this is what ensued:
BOOM - Max Cheddar 1.0
The very first Bacon-Infused Cheddar (that I know of!).
Two weekends ago, I attempted my first cheddar, although I’m not sure it qualifies as a true cheddar. I started the ripening process around 1 or 2pm and didn’t end up going to bed until around 11pm, and I skipped a few steps. The first issue arose when I couldn’t get a clean break with 1/4 tablet of rennet. I had given up hope but thought I should try more rennet just in case. I put the rest of tablet in and within 30 minutes I had the break. I was using a different milk (Straus Family Creamery – http://www.strausfamilycreamery.com/) so that may have something to do with it although it is kind of odd since I only used a half gallon. I decided early to practice in smaller quantities, less I go and screw up a huge 5 gallon batch of milk!
So back to the cheddar. I used a combo method/recipe for this:
- Half gallon Straus Family whole milk, non-homogenized
- 1-2 teaspoons buttermilk starter
- 1/4 tablet rennet (and then another 3/4)
In terms of the process, I followed Cheese Forum’s advice although I have to say I didn’t have time to follow through with all of the flipping and pressing. We shall see how this turns out.
I waxed the cheese a couple of days ago. It had formed a nice rind after about 5 days, however my wax didn’t arrive until around 8 days. Looks good to me though!
#3, non-descript cheddar (3/22/10)
Since my cheese wax did not arrive in time, I decided not to wait any longer to eat my first cheese! I had put a coat of olive oil on the rind and left it in the refrigerator in a baggy. I’m not sure if this was the best idea, but it didn’t seem to matter. Check it out:
While it wasn’t amazing, it did taste really good. It had a very mild cheddar taste and decent texture. Critiques – it didn’t age so the flavor was not all that developed. A bit dry from being left out too long (or is this because of temperature during preparation?). I think the milk impacted the texture and made it somewhat waxy. I have since switched to non-homogenized milk and I’m curious to see how this impacts the cheese. I’m confident this will make a huge difference.
I took this recipe from here, which he took from Ricki:
This was an extremely simple recipe. This is what I used:
- 1/4 gallon of goat’s milk from TJ’s
- 1/16 cup of apple cider vinegar
- Less than 1 tbsp of butter
- 1/8 tsp of baking soda
- Light salting
I heated the milk to about 195° (just before boiling) and stirred constantly to make sure it didn’t scald. Once it hit 195° I added (slowly) the vinegar and then turned off the heat. I stirred for a few more minutes and then let cool for a bit. I drained the curds into a colander, and although it said to use muslin cloth – I didn’t have one so I just drained it in the colander. This seemed to work just fine. After it drained, I added the butter (melted) and then the baking soda and salted to taste.
We added this to a salad and ravioli and spaghetti/alfredo sauce mix. Was amazing!
TJ's Goat's Milk
The humble sterilization process