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.
- 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:
- Add your calcium chloride to your milk. Then gently stir the milk and heat to 98° F.
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- Now use a whisk and cut your curds into much smaller pieces
- 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.
- Maintain at 118°F for an additional 20 minutes stirring to keep the curds from matting.
- 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:
- 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
- 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
- Turn the cheese and re-wrap and press at 25 lbs. for 4-6 hours
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.