Something New, Something Blue

My last attempt at a blue cheese did not turn out blue at all (blue Gouda) So now I am going to try for a Blue Caerphilly. I think I have done more experimental cheeses using Caerphilly then any other type of cheese.  It lends itself to blending well with flavors and it ages quickly.  In other words I don’t have to wait a year to eat it to see how the experiment goes.  I am going to use a different variation then my normal Caerphilly recipe.  This one will be from Gavin Webber’s book “Keep calm and make cheese”  This is a great book for the beginning cheese maker.  Gavin also has a cheese blog that has good tips and different cheese making variation.  There are only a few differences in the Caerphilly recipe.  The cook temperature for the curds is at 92F instead of 95F and the cheese is salted instead of brined.  I have used this recipe before to great success.  It will be less salty than the brined variety and have a sharper taste at the end of the aging time.  On one of his blogs he had half a wheel of Caerphilly that was infected by blue by accident and had it change to a great flavor so I am going to try that intentionally on mine.

Penicillium roqueforti package.  It is really hard to find single use packages of this around here.
Penicillium roqueforti package. It is really hard to find single use packages of this around here.

Penicillium roqueforti was added at the same time as the culture.  I am not sure if this is a good time to add but it sounded good.

even after some mixing there is still a little of the blue mold showing on the surface of the curd before I cut it
even after some mixing there is still a little of the blue mold showing on the surface of the curd before I cut it.
Nice curd formation
Nice curd formation.
Sliced and ready to turn to drain more.
Sliced and ready to turn to drain more.
and the cheese is created.  Drying for a couple days and then into the newly created moldy cheese fridge.  (my little wine fridge)
and the cheese is created. Drying for a couple of days and then into the newly created moldy cheese fridge. (my little wine fridge)

Cheddared Caerphilly with a bit of stout

Using Caerphilly for experiments seems to by my go to cheese.  Maybe it is the short aging time or the speed that I can make it in.  The last experimental Caerphilly I did was a stirred curd variety that the curds soaked in an espresso stout while it was at the stirred curd portion of the cook.  This one will be a full cheddared variety with the final milled curds soaked in a different local stout beer (a variety that my mother-in-law requested that I use).  The stirred curd cheese tasted wonderful at one month of age.  solid with only a slight crumble to it.  I resealed it and am going to let it age another couple of months.  This cheese I intend to let age a minimum of three months before I slice into it.

A vanilla stout to try with this cheese
A vanilla stout to try with this cheese
Stacked curd in the final part of the cheddaring process
Stacked curd in the final part of the cheddaring process

 

Milled curds soaking in the stout for 30 minutes
Milled curds soaking in the stout for 30 minutes

And then into the press like normal.  I actually wrote down all the steps and times down for a change.  I usually am really bad about putting everything down.  Normally I get the date, type, and what I added extra.  Now I have times and more details.  We will see how this one turns out in three months

 

 

Stout Caerphilly aka beerphilly

This is another cheese experiment in my quest to make a cheese that is so tasty that it causes uncontrollable drooling in people who think about eating it.  The stout gouda experiment came out delicious.  It was firm with a smooth texture and several mechanical openings in it.  No marbling to the cheese though.  Rind developed a nice darker color to it.  At only one month aged it hadn’t developed fully in flavor so I will need to make another one to see how a longer age change the flavor.  But on to the newest cheese experiment.  Which for me happens to be two at once.  I have made a lot of Caerphilly due to it’s overwhelming popularity with my friends and family.  It is wonderful smoked with apple wood in case anyone wants to try it smoked.

Normally when I make Caerphilly I use my standard recipe which does not include any cheddaring in the recipe.  But this time I wanted to make it with a full cheddaring then soak it in an espresso stout from oakshire brewing here in Eugene.  Thanks to Ian at Much to do about Cheese I had a time and method to make a stout cheddar.  About halfway through the cheese making process I realized that there was not enough time for me to do a full cheddar and beer soak before my dinner plans with family.  So I decided to try to see how a stirred curd Caerphilly would do.  (saves about 2 hours of time)

nice dark beer from Oakshire
nice dark beer from Oakshire
Curds soaking in warm beer
Curds soaking in warm beer

After pressing the cheese has a great aroma to it.  The only issue I saw was a crack developed in the side of the rind.  I think part of the cheesecloth folded and when unwrapped it is what was inside the crack.  After i air-dried the cheese I vacuum sealed the entire cheese to keep the crack from getting worse or developing a mold issue that I can’t wipe off.  Now into the cheese fridge for a month and we will see if it is drool worthy. I forgot to take a picture of the cheese after it came out of the mold…….

Smoking of a cheese

At some point when a person is learning the cheese making process they wonder what their delicious cheeses would taste like it was smoked.  Most people when they first try to smoke their cheese tend to use too high a temperature in the smoker and tend to melt their cheese more than getting it smoked.  When you are smoking cheese you want it to be as cool as you can possibly make it.  Some people use bowls of ice to bring down the temp in the smoking chamber.  Others make elaborate chambers and hoses to create a cold smoker that works but is difficult to set up and take down every time you want to smoke some cheese.  Everyone should experiment to find out what kind of smoker fits their needs in relation to quantity and quality.  I will only be doing one or at the most two cheeses at a time so I am going to go for small, simple and cheep for my smoker.

First we will see about the cheap. The total cost for everything ended up being $20.  I would love to have a nice large smoker that I could use for meat and for cheeses,  but I am a cheap skate and don’t want to fork out the money right now.  After searching the web for a couple of hours and watching some random YouTube videos I found a nice cheap way to hopefully make a nice tasty smoked Caerphilly.

To make my little smoker I had to get a new soldering iron (new because you don’t want toxic metal fumes on your cheese), a bag of hickory wood shavings, a thick ceramic pot, and a tote to use as my container.  Even though I shouldn’t need to tell people this I am still putting it in. If you try to do this “DO NOT set your smoker up inside your house” .  Now back to the creation of the smoker.  Fill your ceramic pot about halfway full of your wood shavings and put it into the corner of your tote.  In the opposite corner of the tote set up your rack with your cheese on it.  I was just going to set it on a cookie rack but I didn’t want the wide wire marks on my cheese so I adapted it with a round wire one to make a grid pattern.

Terra cotta pot to hold the hickory chips
Terra cotta pot to hold the hickory chips

Now that you are set up plug-in the soldering iron and stick it point first into the pot with the wood chips. Depending on the size of your chips and the size of your pot they should last about an hour before you need to change them out.  Which works perfect for a cheese.  Smoke on one side for an hour then flip and restock your chips and smoke for another hour.

my four pound wheel of Caerphilly all ready to start smoking
my four pound wheel of Caerphilly all ready to start smoking

After the cheese if smoked you need to either bag the cheese or wax it.  Other wise your aging fridge will smell like a smoke house.  Some people may like this though.  As always it is up to the individual who is doing the smoking.  Leave the cheese age for another 10 days before you cut into it to taste.  No matter what cheese you are smoking wait until it is close to being finished with its normal aging before smoking.  Doing it to soon can throw off the aging process.  You can always test out your smoker with store-bought cheese so you don’t have to worry about ruining a homemade cheese. I can’t wait to try this in another two weeks

By the power of smoke I compel you!
By the power of smoke I compel you!
A nice looking final smoked Caerphilly.  now to let it age another 2 weeks
A nice looking final smoked Caerphilly. now to let it age another 2 weeks