Pepato Toscano


Came out soft and tasty.  Reminded my of a Pepperjack crossed with a Romano
Came out soft and tasty. Reminded my of a Pepperjack crossed with a Romano

While looking for a new cheese to make I came across this recipe on the New England Cheesemaking company web site.  Since it is for a 10 gallon batch i modified it down to my normal three gallon size.  It looks tasty and I wanted to try something different with peppers in it.  And I need to try to convert my sister away from her obsession with only eating my pepper jack.  Granted that it is really good, but sometimes variety is needed.

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 tsp. Calcium Chloride Liquid (30%) Dissolved in 2 Tbsp. distilled water (if using store-bought milk)
  • One ounce prepared Mesophilic Culture.
  • One Packet Thermophilic Culture
  • 3/4 Rennet Tablets (microbial) Dissolved in 1/4 cup distilled water
  • 3 gallon Whole Milk Cow
  • 3 smoked peppers (chipotle this time)
  • 1.5 tablespoons of roughly broken peppercorns

Cheese making steps:

  1. Add your calcium chloride to your milk. Then gently stir the milk and heat to 98° F.
  2. Remove pot from heat. Sprinkle culture over milk surface and let hydrate for 1 or 2 minutes. Gently and thoroughly stir culture into milk. Let sit for 60-90 minutes
  3. Add rennet and mix it into milk with an up and down motion for about 1 minute. Let sit for 20 minutes for curd to develop.
  4. After you get a clean break cut curd into 3/4 inch pieces. It is okay if they are not perfect cubes. Let the curds heal for 5 minutes.
  5. Now use a whisk and cut your curds into much smaller pieces
  6. Slowly heat your curd to 118°F over 30 minutes. Do not let it heat but more than 2 degrees every 5 minutes. Gently stir during the 30 minutes.
  7. Maintain at 118°F for an additional 20 minutes stirring to keep the curds from matting.
  8. Now slowly pour into your cloth lined colander. If you use your hand to stop the curds from going into the cloth first you will have a faster drain time.

Draining / Pressing time:

  1. add about 1/3 of the curds then add a layer of your pepper mix trying to keep the peppers from touching the side of the mold.  Layer and repeat
  2. Put the follower on your cheese mold and press with 8 lbs. for 60 minutes. If possible keep the curds around 90°F-95°F
  3. Turn the cheese and re-wrap and press at 25 lbs. for 4-6 hours
  4. Keep in the mold overnight with no weight on it so it continues to come together and forms a smooth surface.

Brining/salting/aging time: since the recipe says it is brined but doesn’t give times I am going to brine it like I do my Romano’s

  1. Add your finished cheese to your salt brine and let soak for 12 hours flipping once.   Keep your brining cheese in the fridge. The standard cheese brine is 2 pounds of salt per gallon of water.  You can also use the whey to make your brine.  It will give a slightly different flavor then using just water.
  2. Place the salted cheese on a bamboo mat to air dry for 1-3 days. Cover with a clean cheesecloth. Turn the cheese over twice each day. When it starts to form a yellowish rind and is dry to the touch, it is ready to wax for storage.
  3. age at 40° to 60°F (55°F is ideal) for 1 month for a soft cheese, and up to a year or more for a hard grating type of cheese.  Turn the cheese over daily for the first month and several times a week thereafter. If this turns out well I may start doing this one in place of making pepper jack.  And see how it is smoked.
The nearly finished cheese.  Didnt quite keep all the peppers from getting to the edge but still a nice looking cheese wheel.
The nearly finished cheese. Didn’t quite keep all the peppers from getting to the edge but still a nice looking cheese wheel.

2 thoughts on “Pepato Toscano

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