This is one of my experimental cheeses that I made that came out better then I expected. Since I have a request to make this one for someone I thought it would be good to jot down the recipe in case some one else decided it sounded good to try.
- 3/4 tsp. Calcium Chloride Liquid (30%) Dissolved in 2 Tbsp. distilled water (if using store bought milk)
- 1/4 tsp. Mesophilic Culture
- 3/4 Rennet Tablets (microbial) Dissolved in 1/4 cup distilled water
- 3 gallon Whole Milk Cow (go Lockmead farms milk)
- 1/4 tsp. Lipase Enzyme Powder. (if you are making pepper jack or regular jack leave this out. This is something I added just for this recipe)
- (optional) 2 Tablespoons dried Rosemary
Cheese making steps:
- Dissolve lipase powder in 2 Tablespoons distilled water (for 20 minutes).
- Add your calcium chloride and lipase powder to your milk. Then gently stir the milk and heat to 88° F.
- Remove pot from heat. Sprinkle culture over milk surface and let rehydrate for 1 or 2 minutes. Gently and thoroughly stir culture into milk. Let sit for 45 minutes
- Add rennet and mix it into milk with an up and down motion for about 1 minute. Let sit for 40 minutes for curd to develop.
- After you get a clean break cut curd into ½ inch pieces. It is okay if they are not perfect cubes. Let the curds heal for 5 minutes.
- Slowly heat your curd to 100°F over 30 minutes. Do not let it heat but more than 2 degrees every 5 minutes. Gently stir during the 30 minutes. Then allow the curds to settle for 10 minutes.
- Maintain at 100°F for an additional 30 minutes stirring every several minutes to keep the curds from matting. At the end of the time allow the curds to settle for five minutes.
- Drain the whey down to the level of the curds and maintain at temp for another 30 minutes. Only stir every 5 minutes or so to keep the curds from Matting together.
- 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.
- Once the whey has drained, sprinkle 1 tablespoon of flaked salt over the curds and gently mix it in using your hands. Wait 1 minute and repeat with another 1 tablespoon of flaked salt. Wait 1 minute and repeat with the last tablespoon of flaked salt.
Draining / Pressing time:
- Add 1/3 of your curds into your mold and then add half of your Rosemary in a thin layer keeping it from going all the way to the edge of the mold. Then add another 3rd of the curds and repeat with the rest of your Rosemary. (This is the exact same way to make Pepper jack. Just layer with crushed peppers instead)
- Put the follower on your cheese mold and press with 5 lbs. for 15 minutes.
- Turn the cheese and rewrap and press at 10 lbs. for 12 hours
- Remove the cheese from the press as before and unwrap the cloth. Mix 1 tablespoon of salt with 1/2 cup of water. Using a corner of the cheesecloth, lightly apply a saltwater wash to the cheese.
- 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.
- Wax the cheese and store for aging at 40° to 60°F (55°F is ideal) for 1-4 months. Turn the cheese over daily for the first month and several times a week thereafter. I usually only age my Jack cheeses for a month. I intend to smoke this cheese so 3 weeks of aging then another week of smoked aging.
And a little bit of history on Monterey Jack:
This wonderful cheese is one of four varieties of cheese that were created in the United States. No two accounts of the origin of this cheese are the same. The only part that they all agree on is that is was first made in California. Some claim it was made by Franciscan monks from Spain as early as the 17th century. regardless of its origin it is still a delicious semi-soft cheese.