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:
The very first Bacon-Infused Cheddar (that I know of!).