Author Topic: Valencay make #3 - leaf adornment of course  (Read 2335 times)

Offline Tiarella

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Valencay make #3 - leaf adornment of course
« on: December 02, 2012, 08:22:03 PM »
Started this batch of Valencay 11/20/2012 around 7:30 pm  I loosely followed Peter Dixon's recipe but his is pretty general because it covers a whole slew of French bloomy goat and cow cheeses with just a few details about what sets each make apart.  I am only somewhat good at closely following directions.

2 1/2 gallons of raw NIgerian Dwarf goat milk.  (high in solids)

Right away I'm wondering to adjust for the milk type.  I know my milk sets up very solid with little provocation and I want this batch to come out well.  I decide to just follow Peter Dixon's recipe for timing and amounts with just a few minor changes.  He offers different recommendations for amount of cultures depending upon how long you want the milk to ripen.  I chose his quickest interval of 15-20 hours because it would best fit my desire to sleep through the night!   ;)

At 7:30 pm heated milk to 72F
added:
1/8 tsp MM101
1/16 tsp MD88  (this culture does not acidify and is added for buttery flavor. I'm experimenting with it)
1/8 tsp PC SAM  (I'm trying to use this one up and move onto my better stuff)
1/8 tsp Geo 13

Leave for 25 minutes and add 1 mm single strength calf rennet.  (I've only used double strength vegetable rennet before so this one is new to me)

Checked at 7:30 am and there wasn't the 1/2" of whey over the curd that would be a clue that it might be ready to put into molds or pre-drain so I went up to the barn to do chores.  Returned to house at 10:30 and cut into horizontal columns about 1 1/2".  This is my idea.....the curd is VERY solid now despite the fact that there still isn't a half inch of whey over the top.  This milk has such a high level of solids there just wasn't much whey for the curd to float in.  The curd almost filled the whole pot.  In fact, it is so solid I decide to experiment and not pre-drain it.  I had planned a pre-drain even though my previous two batches hadn't been pre-drained and had come out nicely.

I used a shallow ladle to scoop slices of the columns and fill the molds.  I start with the 3 Valencay pyramid molds knowing I'll want to keep adding curd as the level sinks.  Then I moved onto the little tiny molds that I got from Yoav.  I want to make small cheeses and wrap them in brandy-soaked leaves.  I have some large Cercis canadensis leaves in the freezer but even if those don't work I want to be ready for next growing season by using the winter to perfect a small cheese that will fit. 

I used a flat butter spreader to poke the curds a bit once they were in the molds.....I wanted to jostle the air pockets out to improve the knit. I also cut the curds smaller as a by product of the jostling and I hoped that would help also.
 I was concerned that with such thick and solid curd that the cheeses wouldn't drain down into a cohesive unit.  I added more curds to the pyramid molds a couple of times. 

Here are the tiny molds and the tiny cheeses.  And then photos showing the entire make.  Remember, this is out of only 2 1/2 gallons of milk! I did some leaf adorning again.  It worked out so well that other time I couldn't resist.  I'll post a photo of that make at the bottom.

The make was started Friday evening.  Saturday they were molded.  Sunday  (today) I dusted them with an ash/salt mixture of 6 parts salt to 1 part ash and then applied the leaves.  The leaves are from a plant called "Scented Geranium" although it is not the plant most people associate with the name "geranium" which is an annual whose latin name is actually Pelargonium.  This plant still has leaves on it here in the Northeast.  In fact, I picked some more leaves tonight in the dark.  So far I have only used these after vacuum baggin, freezing them and then thawing them.  This makes them limp and it probably helps them stick and stay on the cheese.  The moisture of this style cheese is perfect for this leaf adornment. 

Tomorrow I'll put these in boxes and let them start to grow some PC. 

I'm a little fuzzy about how long it will take them to become fuzzy   ??? and how long after that they need to ripen.  I think after a full fuzz coat they are ready to be wrapped and complete their ripening at a slightly colder temp but I'll need to look that up or ask someone.  Anyone with suggestions????

Offline Vina

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Re: Valencay make #3 - leaf adornment of course
« Reply #1 on: December 04, 2012, 05:32:38 AM »
Gorgeous! Fantastic looking cheese!

Offline Tiarella

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Re: Valencay make #3 - leaf adornment of course
« Reply #2 on: December 04, 2012, 07:23:54 AM »
Thank you, Vina!  And you are correct that this forum can be addictive just as  making cheese is addictive.  If you think these leaf adorned cheeses look nice, check out this Caerphilly that was decorated with leaves also.  I aged it a little bit, then smeared it with raw honey, then stuck leaves to it.  I had frozen and then thawed the leaves to make them limp.  Here's 4 photos of that cheese.....I need to make another one of these. I am already missing this one and it's not quite gone yet.

Offline Tiarella

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Re: Valencay make #3 - leaf adornment of course
« Reply #3 on: December 04, 2012, 07:27:07 AM »
Oops, one photo didn't go through. Here it is.  I like how leaves decorate a cheese.......the cheese looks antique to me in this photo.

Offline bodul

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Re: Valencay make #3 - leaf adornment of course
« Reply #4 on: December 04, 2012, 07:44:10 AM »
That is festival of USA national costume.  ;) Very very nice cheese. good work

Offline Tiarella

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Re: Valencay make #3 - leaf adornment of course
« Reply #5 on: December 04, 2012, 11:00:47 AM »
Thank you!!!  Next year, after winter, I will experiment with different leaves on the cheese and to wrap the cheese.  I did this one style of wrapping and I will experiment more with it.  These are any small cheese and the leaves are soaked in brandy first.  In the second photo I am using seed pods from another tree to use as small skewers to hold the leaf wrapping.  I like playing with ideas like this, to use natural packaging that I grow here and to make it very beautiful.  I think eating can be a celebration of beauty when we take a little bit more time.  Because I farm and have my own business I don't always have extra time.....but I enjoy it when I do!

Offline linuxboy

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Re: Valencay make #3 - leaf adornment of course
« Reply #6 on: December 04, 2012, 11:15:28 AM »
Quote
Right away I'm wondering to adjust for the milk type.
works fine as is, but yield will be higher so account for the higher volume.
Taking an extended leave (until 2015) from the forums to build out my farm and dairy. Please e-mail or PM if you need anything.

Offline Tiarella

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Re: Valencay make #3 - leaf adornment of course
« Reply #7 on: December 06, 2012, 08:44:23 PM »
Update on the fuzz growth on this make of Valancay style.  I think the most challenging part of this make will be figuring out ripening times and to keep track of that for future makes, especially since I want to wrap these in leaves in the future.  With so many different sizes I'll need to make a chart and keep track of the ripening.  I love how the PC grows on the nubs of some of the cheeses. 

Offline bodul

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Re: Valencay make #3 - leaf adornment of course
« Reply #8 on: December 07, 2012, 05:49:56 AM »
When I see this I can only cry :( :(  for now  ;) ;)

Offline hoeklijn

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Re: Valencay make #3 - leaf adornment of course
« Reply #9 on: December 14, 2012, 10:16:05 AM »
They are soooo beautiful !
- Herman -

Offline Tiarella

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Re: Valencay make #3 - leaf adornment of course
« Reply #10 on: December 16, 2012, 07:43:58 AM »
An update and photos of this batch on December 13th when I took them up to be wrapped and refrigerated.  I have had too fast PC growth and not enough Geo growth according to Yoav.  I started a new batch last night  (around 1 am) and used about 25% of the PC on this new batch.

I think I mentioned that this #3 batch had some issues with proper temps and I had some slip skin on the bigger ones and a too thick skin in general.  I do want a slower growth of PC and that will make the leaves more visible in their beautiful shapes also.  I am loving the microcrystalline paper that Yoav sells.  I like to see my cheese while it's wrapped because I end up with SOOOOO many cheeses in my fridge and no way to know how they are doing without unwrapping them until now. 

The little one that I cut open tasted SO good!  I know it's not the way it's meant to be perhaps but tasty enough to make me very happy to eat it.   ;D 


Offline mgasparotto

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Re: Valencay make #3 - leaf adornment of course
« Reply #11 on: December 17, 2012, 05:30:17 PM »
These are absolutely stunning!

Offline Tiarella

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Re: Valencay make #3 - leaf adornment of course
« Reply #12 on: December 17, 2012, 06:17:47 PM »
Thank you!  They are getting even tastier and I had to eat two yesterday evening.  Couldn't help myself....didn't try too hard to hold back.  Tonight I've eaten 1 so far and pulled out the rest of the Shitake Brie to fill the before dinner void.  I've decided that although the rind on this batch is not thin the way it's supposed to be I actually really like the thickish rind.  It adds another texture dimension to the experience.  I'm going to have to invent a name for it.  Any ideas?  Next year perhaps it'll be packaged in leaves.  That's the point of making these tiny versions.

Offline margaretsmall

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Re: Valencay make #3 - leaf adornment of course
« Reply #13 on: December 17, 2012, 09:05:02 PM »
Your cheeses all look very appealing - tell me, do you eat the leaves?

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Re: Valencay make #3 - leaf adornment of course
« Reply #14 on: December 17, 2012, 10:07:55 PM »
Hi Margaret,

I do eat the leaves on these cheeses and on the Caerphillys that I adorn with the same type of leaves.  I'm using scented cranesbill leaves and I usually freeze them after vacuum packing them.  I stack about 6 flat on each other, tuck into a bag, and keep making stacks until there are enough in a bag for a cheese make and then I vacuum, seal and freeze them.  When I take them out of the freezer it only takes a few minutes for them to thaw and I gently pull apart the stacks.  They stick well on wet cheeses like a Brie or Valencay style.   I unmold and do the the salting or ash/salting and then I press the leaves on gently. The moisture holds them on. 

 I think I was lucky or blessed to hit upon this particular leaf.  It is evergreen and in fact, still growing new leaves out under the ice right now.  It seems to be quite limp and easy to stick to cheese when freshly thawed.  This latest weekend batch I've tried some picked fresh and we'll see how those turn out.  As the cheese matures the leaves become sort of thin and papery.  They don't break down or decompose and that may be a function of whatever makes them evergreen.  I don't notice the leaves in the flavor or texture.  They are quite thin by the time the cheese is ready to eat.  The PC grows over then a bit sometimes and it's all interesting visually. 

Go ahead and try it.  It's easiest on this type of cheese.  A hard cheese is harder because there's mold to manage. I did a Caerphilly that came out beautifully but I had to manage the mold which required careful washing around the leaves and experimental rind management.  I tried washing with white wine/water/salt, rubbing with olive oil and further honey washes.  It did come out great.....there are photos of it here: http://cheeseforum.org/forum/index.php/topic,10250.msg78608.html#msg78608
Just scroll down until you see the cheese with leaves on it.