Having been recently disappointed in the early results of my first Delight
, I was determined to make corrections and retry the cheese.
Yesterday, I had a forehead-slapping (D'oh!
) moment when I was correcting the acidity in the blueberries I was using in this cheese. Eaten out of the bag as dried fruit, the blueberries are merely okay, tastewise. They were not significantly sweet nor sour. The revelation occurred after I added them to boiled distilled water, let it cool, and added baking soda. In the hot water bath, the berries rehydrated, releasing their inner goodness. The baking soda counteracted the inherent (but not apparent
) sourness of the blueberries and produced an incredibly sweet transformation. The pics show the before and after pH levels, but the change was, as I said, forehead-slapping worthy. It was as if I had actually added sugar to the blueberries. Thank you, Sailor, for nudging me towards what should have been an obvious observation to me, but wasn't.
This make again follows the process of Fourme d'Ambert #2
with minor changes.
initial pH: 6.68
1 gallon Pride & Joy whole raw milk
2 gallons Twin Brook whole creamline milk
1 pint Dungeness Valley raw cream
8 cubes Kazu mother culture
1/16 tsp Geo13
1/32 tsp KL71
1/2 tsp CACL2
1/16 tsp Renco dry calf rennet
Blueberries were processed to bring acidity down and pH up over several hours, adding baking soda, stirring, testing pH.
When I was satisfied that the acidity was stable, I drained the berries, reserving the resultant blueberry juice. I then sprinkled salt all over the berries to help keep them from sticking and to assist their accommodation by the curd.
Thawed culture cubes in bowl of warm, not hot, water.
Floc'd in 13 minutes. Used 4x factor.
Added curds to Plyban-lined mould (changed to a different mould for this make), added berries, added curds, added berries, added curds...until mould was full. But I still had what looked to be a lot of curd left in the kettle. I put the mould inside the pot into the press and pressed it lightly to squeeze out some of the moisture from the curds so that I could fit the rest of the curds into the mould. Whew! I managed to put all the curds into the mould. Hooray!
I pressed using only the weight of the press lever arm and piston (11 lbs) for an hour under whey, flipped the cheese, rewrapped it, and pressed for another hour under whey. Then I flipped, rewrapped, and pressed (same weight) without the whey. The pH was 6.00. Lastly, I removed the Plyban and pressed naked for several hours. When I was able to check on the pressing, the pH was 5.16. A little lower than I wanted, but it couldn't be helped (My wife is in the hospital and I wasn't able to get away.)
The cheese went into cool brine that I had made from a half gallon of recovered whey. Getting up at 1:30 this morning, I flipped the cheese in the brine. After a total 8 hours in brine I removed the cheese, dried it and weighed it. Now it's out to air dry before going into the Boofer cave network.