Well, I wasn't going to make any more cheeses for the rest of the year. That was last week. Then someone (not pointing any fingers, george
) talked about how nice a stinky cheese would be. I'm already pretty fond of washed rinds and stinkies so that just tipped me over.
I got 2 gallons of one of my favorite raw milks and then couldn't decide what to make. I had considered making another attempt at Taleggio, but reconsidered in that it is customarily made with pasteurized milk (creamline). I thought about Oka and trappist cheese styles and finally decided to try a Saint Paulin.
I have a recipe for Port Salut (a cousin to Oka and Saint Paulin) in the 200 Easy Homemade Cheese recipes book, a Saint Paulin-like recipe in Mastering Artisan Cheesemaking by Gianaclis Caldwell, and a Saint Paulin recipe from Choozit. They all do things a little differently. I picked a few points from the Caldwell and Choozit recipes and forged my own cheese.
initial pH: 6.67
rennet pH: 6.57
wash pH: 6.35 (a little lower than my target of 6.4-6.45)
brining pH: 5.4
2 gallons Dungeness Valley whole raw milk
1/8 tsp TA-61
1/8 tsp ALP D
1/32 tsp Renco dry calf rennet, dissolved in cool distilled water
1/8 tsp annatto (still trying to gauge the strength of this new annatto)
- Raised milk to 95F.
- Stirred in annatto and cultures.
- Looking for a .1 drop in pH before renneting.
- Stirred in rennet.
- Flocculation in 12 minutes. Using 3X factor before cutting.
- Initially cut to 1 inch, rested 5 minutes.
- Whisked to 1/4 inch (green pea to hazelnut size), rested 10 minutes.
- Maintaining 95F, stirring to prevent matting and to reduce size of any missed curds.
- Looking for pH 6.4-6.45 before washing.
- The pH took a little dip and was 6.35 before I began removing 1 gallon of whey (50%).
- Removed whey is saved for later use.
- Replaced withdrawn whey with 1 gallon of 120F water to which 1 TBS salt had been added to help slow acidification.
- Stirred until temp was 100F.
- Maintained temp at 100F for 30 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent matting, checking texture.
- Lined two Reblochon moulds with Plyban (plastic cheesecloth).
- When curd texture was correct, drained remaining whey from curds, and moved curds to warmed, prepared moulds.
- Pressed both moulds in the pot, under 95F whey, with a 10 lb weight (5 lbs for each cheese).
- After 15 minutes, flipped & redressed cheeses, and repressed for 15 minutes.
- When I went to flip/redress the cheeses, I found that the Plyban was sticking to the cheese.
- I added some vinegar to some saved washed whey (not the original removed whey) and dipped the Plyban into it to help prevent sticking.
- I drained the whey, redressed the cheeses, and continued pressing in the pot with 10 lbs.
- Earlier I had boiled some water in another pot. I positioned the cheese pot above this warm water pot to keep the curds warm while they were knitting.
- Looking for a pH of 5.2-5.6 before brining, I checked the cheeses and removed them from the pressing at 5.4.
- The knit was not entirely perfect, but acceptable because the rind-washing would erase a lot of those imperfections.
- The cheeses were warm and soft, but firm.
- I poured half of the cooled gallon of whey-brine into the gallon-size container.
- I gently put the cheeses into the whey-brine, put a Reblochon follower on the top cheese, and poured enough of the whey-brine to lift the follower to a point where the lid would push it down and ensure the cheeses were submerged.
- Lid on, and into the cave (~ 51F) for two hours.
- After two hours of brining, I flipped the cheeses over in the whey-brine to make sure they were well-covered.
- After another three hours (I got busy with another task.), I removed the cheeses from the whey-brine, dried them off and weighed them.
- Then the cheeses were put into their minicave and set out to air-dry at room temperature.
- Checking this morning, The cheeses should be ready to go into the cave to continue drying and ripening.
- After a week, I will begin washing them with the SR3-dosed brine that I have prepared.
The color from the annatto is a little more saturated than I expected. I'm still checking the intensity of color that this new bottle of annatto is giving me. I can only assume that the original bottle I purchased from Leeners way back then was highly diluted.
Hopefully, this cheese will mature and give me a special stinky treat to present to my lovely wife for Valentine's Day.