Author Topic: 5 1/2 month Alpkäse  (Read 670 times)

Offline Alpkäserei

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5 1/2 month Alpkäse
« on: October 04, 2012, 12:41:21 PM »
Here is a cheese we made back in April. This was a small cheese made why the cows were still on hay out of about 10 gallons of milk.

For a cheese this small, the cooking time should have been reduced slightly. This cheese turned out a little too dry although the Alpkäse is a rather dry cheese.

5 1/2 months is very young for this cheese, it doesn't begin to develop its full flavor profile until it is at least a year old. But the flavor is good, despite a few harsh hay overtones. For a cheese this young, typically the cooking time is reduced to produce the softer, moister, 'Mutschli'

The rind is flawed, as it had a short time where it wasn't washed properly.

The flavor of this cheese is similar to Gruyere, which is closely related. It goes well with pasta or with German or Swiss style noodle dishes.

The interior of the cheese has a strong yellow color, largely due to the fact that the milk is that of cows feeding strictly on hay.

This cheese was also cultured with yogurt, and not our imported Swiss Alpine culture which was not yet ready at the time we made this cheese.

Guät git's dr schwiizer Chäser

Offline JeffHamm

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Re: 5 1/2 month Alpkäse
« Reply #1 on: October 04, 2012, 02:08:22 PM »
I think it looks pretty good all the same!  A cheese to you.  Thanks for all the details you've been providing on this style of cheese. 

- Jeff
The wise do not always start out on the right path, but they do know when to change course.

Offline Alpkäserei

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Re: 5 1/2 month Alpkäse
« Reply #2 on: October 06, 2012, 02:39:46 PM »
This small cheese is out of the range of what I am really used to doing. I learned to make cheese in 120-150 liter batches, which produces one single cheese. So I delved into a mysterious unknown world -I don't know of any other instance of of Berner Alpkäse being produced in such a small batch.

So observations from this experience,

1. The thickness of the cheese is one of the most important traits of a wheel, to a certain extent. When making a small cheese like this, one ought to forget about trying to maintain the traditional proportions (a wide, flat wheel) and go for a reasonable thickness. This thickness would be fine for a cheese set to age 2 or 3 months, but after that point the cheese becomes too dry. A thickness of 3 to 4 inches is desirable.

2. Curd size needs to be drastically altered for such a small cheese. I understood the need for a larger curd, but did not realize just how much larger. When making the Alpkäse and similar Bernese cheeses, the curd is cut to grains about the size of a grain of wheat, maybe a little bit larger. For a small cheese, this should be no smaller than 1/4 inch at the least.

3. Due to the change in curd size, the activity of the culture during the brewing and cooking stages will be different. Some experimentation will be required to find out the specifics of how this needs to be altered.

4. The importance of the early stages of washing the cheese cannot be understated. Any error at this point will have irreversible consequences (a small cheese like this tends to be easily forgotten)
Guät git's dr schwiizer Chäser

Offline Alpkäserei

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Re: 5 1/2 month Alpkäse
« Reply #3 on: October 22, 2012, 12:53:07 PM »
Been eating a way at it. Like its Bernese cousin, this cheese opens up its truly flavor only after it has been cut open for a few days. After a few weeks, the cheese has really improved its flavor and every time I eat it, I remember the Alps.

The color has also improved along with the flavor, and the yogurt undertones (this was cultured with yogurt) have subsided to a large degree.

Guät git's dr schwiizer Chäser