Author Topic: Alp-Raclette Recipe  (Read 1016 times)

Offline Alpkäserei

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Alp-Raclette Recipe
« on: September 14, 2012, 12:34:02 PM »
    Raclette is a traditional Swiss Cheese originating in central Switzerland. The production of Raclette is dispersed throughout the country, in particular in the Canton Wallis (Walser Raclette, Raclette du Valais, being an AOC) and in the southern portion of the Berner Oberland. It is made in many other cantons as well, alongside the similar Bratchäs, which is more or less an older form of raclette.

    Raclette is traditionally melted over potatoes, bread, and sauasage to make a meal.

    This is a washed-curd cheese (in German they call it Gebrühten Käse, or brewed cheese), and as such it is sweet compared to the stronger cheeses it is often made alongside.

    With such a wide area of distribution and long history, as well as a lack of any imposed standard, the methods to make this cheese can vary. Walser Raclette, however, must be made to more exact standards.

    In the Berner Oberland, this cheese is made alongside the Berner Alpkäse, a difficult alpine hard cheese. Some Alps produce Raclette during the early seaon, or in the fall -times when the quality of the milk is lower. In this tradition, the Raclette is a secondary cheese, made when it is no longer fit to make the primary cheese. It is one of 4 cows-milk cheeses produced in this tradition -Alpkäse, which is the master cheese aged past 1 year, Mutschli, a semi-hard cheese with a short aging time of about 4 months, these two cheeses are discussed here:
http://cheeseforum.org/forum/index.php/topic,10178.0.html Raclette, discussed on this thread, and a cheese called Ziger, which is made by recooking the whey, similar to ricotta.

Here is a simple Raclette recipe as it might be produced in the mountains of the Canton of Bern. This recipe is also very similar to the Walser recipe, but it is based largely on the Oberland style cheese making traditions. To better understand some of the steps, you may wish to view the page linked above.

    Alp Raclette-Chäs
    • The morning milk is mixed together with the cream from the evening milk and the culture.
    • This is heated to 28 to 29 Reamur (35-36 C, 95-97 F)
    • The evening milk is added
    • The milk is then heated back up to 25 1/2-26 R (31-32 1/2 C, 89-91 F
    • Rennet is now added to the milk
    • The Rennet should set in 30 to 40 minutes. If not, then you did something wrong (not enough rennet, bad rennet, etc.)
    • Cut coarsely with the harp, chunks maybe 3 inches square
    • With a tool shaped something like a small dustpan, the coarse curds are stirred so that the bottom comes up and can be cut. It should be stirred as such until the curd is well cut up into large chunks, and the whey turns a good yellow green showing that your culture is working. This should be about 10 minutes
    • With the harp, stir the curd slowly in an 8-pattern until the curds are about the size of coffee beans and as uniform as possible. This should take about 10 minutes
    • Heat clean water to 48 R (60 C, 140 F)
    • Remove about 1/4 of the whey from the vat. Keep about 1 liter to use for culturing future cheese
    • Slowly replace the whey with the hot water until the temperature of the 'bruch' reaches approx. 30 R (37 1/2 C, 100 F) Don't go too fast, about 1 degree every 2 to 3 minutes is a good pace.
    • Stir slowly for 15 minutes, just fast enough so that the curd does not clump
    • Remove curd and knead into the form
    • Press for 5, then 10 minutes, then 1 hour, 3 hours, and 8 hours.
    • Brine for 24 hours
    • Wash daily for 10 days with a salt brine containing a little white wine
    • Wash 2x a week until the cheese is ripe, about 4 months.
This cheese should be aged a minimum of 3 months.
In the context of the Oberland cheesemaking tradition, the culture is a whey culture preserved during the entire season.
If you can obtain a culture with the following bacteria, you should be good.

Lactobacillus delbrueckii subsp. lactis
Streptococcus salivarius subsp. thermophilus
Lactococcus lactis subsp. lactis

When pressing, keep the cheese covered to retain the heat.
Guät git's dr schwiizer Chäser


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Offline bbracken677

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Re: Alp-Raclette Recipe
« Reply #1 on: September 14, 2012, 01:06:00 PM »
Very cool!  1 question...how much time passed between step 2 and step 4?  I see that the milk is heated up to  97F in step 2, but then in step 4 it says the milk is heated back up to 91F. Ergo there must have been a significant cooling down period...like overnight (since it is reheated after the evening milk is added...or perhaps heated up in the evening after the addition of the evening milk?

Offline Alpkäserei

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Re: Alp-Raclette Recipe
« Reply #2 on: September 14, 2012, 01:15:05 PM »
Traditionally, the cheese is made early in the morning, the whole process starts while the cows are being milked. The cream is skimmed from the evening milk and added to the vat, then the morning milk is put directly from the cows into the vat (through a straining funnel) without undergoing any cooling. Once the morning milk is all added, the culture is added (whey) and it is warmed up and stirred thoroughly. Then, the evening milk is added. The evening milk is left in shallow pans called Gebse overnight, and as it get rather cold on the alp at night this milk will be 50 to 60 degrees. The idea is that the adding of this cooler milk should bring the milk pretty close to the target temp of 26 R, which is the temperature at which the rennet and culture work the best. The rennet is added to the milk as soon as it reaches the target temp.

If you are using refrigerated milk, and aren't working with a milking cycle, then you might do things a little differently. Instead, all milk can be added at once, heated to 26 R (91 F) and cultured, then after 1/2 an hour rennet is added. This should APPROXIMATE the conditions of the traditional process.
« Last Edit: September 14, 2012, 01:24:15 PM by Alpkäserei »
Guät git's dr schwiizer Chäser

Offline bbracken677

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Re: Alp-Raclette Recipe
« Reply #3 on: September 14, 2012, 03:01:38 PM »
Thanks!  I wasn't sure if the evening milk was from the night before the morning milk, or from the same day's.