Author Topic: Monterey Jack - washed curd?  (Read 501 times)

Offline WovenMeadows

  • Mature Cheese
  • ****
  • Location: Saranac, NY
  • Posts: 160
  • Cheeses: 5
  • Default personal text
Monterey Jack - washed curd?
« on: January 31, 2013, 09:31:45 AM »
So I recently received and read Gianaclis Caldwell's Mastering Artisan Cheesemaking. In her chapter on semi/hard cheeses, she places Monterey Jack in the category of cool-water washed curd, along with Colby. This is what I always understood Colby to be, but I had never seen Jack classified as such. All the recipes I've seen for it make it much like a cheddar without the cheddaring (e.g. meso culture with curds cooked to around 102*, but then drained and hooped) but never washed. However, when I saw that in Caldwell's book, it seemed right to me, as the washing would give it the mild flavor and supple texture that I'm familiar with, just like Colby, and indeed, they are often paired together in that orange-white mix. Furthermore, all my attempts at Jack, following other recipes, have yielded a bland, crumbly cheese that I was not impressed with (which would fit with a cheese that maybe should have been aged longer). But besides the lack of orange dye, I'm not sure what in the make process would differentiate Jack from Colby?(Caldwell provides more of a template for different styles of cheese, rather than multiple, overlapping recipes for particular named types). Thoughts?
« Last Edit: April 08, 2013, 02:12:02 PM by WovenMeadows »


Guests, join the CheeseForum.org community to remove this ad.


Offline High Altitude

  • Mature Cheese
  • ****
  • Location: Colorado
  • Posts: 236
  • Cheeses: 18
  • Cheesemaking & Winemaking
Re: Monterey Jack - washed curd?
« Reply #1 on: February 24, 2013, 06:26:34 PM »
Mary Karlin's "Artisan Cheese Making at Home" has two versions of Jack, one made with just milk and one with milk/cream.  The first is not washed, the second is washed...so I guess there are different ways to make it.  I made the latter with milk/cream, but cannot report on the results as yet, sorry.  The Colby I made prior to that was washed...and orange with Annatto (the primary "difference" I guess).
Have some (homemade) wine with that cheese!

Offline meyerandray

  • Mature Cheese
  • ****
  • Location: Italy
  • Posts: 193
  • Cheeses: 7
  • Default personal text
Re: Monterey Jack - washed curd?
« Reply #2 on: April 08, 2013, 07:13:27 AM »
I have the same book and the same question!  I was thinking of trying a washed-curd jack next time.  I am very curious if anyone has ever made a jack that comes close to a tillamook jack or something similar, and if so, did you wash the curd?  Would you post the recipe?  Thanks wovenmeadows for starting this thread!

Offline WovenMeadows

  • Mature Cheese
  • ****
  • Location: Saranac, NY
  • Posts: 160
  • Cheeses: 5
  • Default personal text
Re: Monterey Jack - washed curd?
« Reply #3 on: April 08, 2013, 02:22:27 PM »
Having though through this a bit more, I can also see how a non-washed curd Jack might also yield a similar product. Many recipes call for cutting the curd quite small, say 1/4" or rice-grain size. While cultured with a mesophilic starter, this would put the process similar to an alpine make. By cutting the curd small, syneresis - whey expulsion from the curd - happens more quickly, with less acidification of the curd. This leads to more calcium retained in the casein, and more casein and higher pH makes for a more elastic, flexible curd (compared to e.g. the more friable, brittle curd of a cheddar), yet moister than an alpine type cheese (cooked to a lower temperature that it is).

I'm still not sure what the "original" Jack is (or should be). My impression is that many of the recipes in books like Amrein-Boyes' and Carroll's - where Jack appears as a non-washed curd - are their best guesses at replicating a certain style of cheese, and many of their guesses are "wrong" (Amrein-Boyes' Jarlsberg, for instance, calling for a thermophilic culture). I tend to give sources like Peter Dixon more repute, so my suspicion is that a washed-curd Jack is more true to form, and the small-cut non-washed technique an estimate and approximation.

Offline linuxboy

  • Old Cheese
  • *****
  • Location: Ukiah, CA
  • Posts: 3,986
  • Cheeses: 198
  • www.wacheese.com
    • Washington Cheese Guild
Re: Monterey Jack - washed curd?
« Reply #4 on: April 08, 2013, 02:35:30 PM »
Both monterey jack and colby are washed curd cheeses. They're almost identical.
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.


Guests, join the CheeseForum.org community to remove this ad.