Author Topic: First Stilton-like, Piercing question  (Read 994 times)

Offline kshathra

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First Stilton-like, Piercing question
« on: April 28, 2013, 12:13:48 PM »
Hi all,

This is my first Stilton-like and so I have very little experience with this sort of cheese (with any sort of cheese, really, since this is my fourth make ever). I've based my make on H-J-K's website and other posts I've found on this board. My main question is how early is too early when piercing, and what are the consequences of an early pierce? I just de-moulded the cheese today, smoothed the rind, then pierced it, mostly because I wasn't thinking and was just automatically going through the motions of the make process for blue. After piercing I noticed a crack caused by my chopstick on the top of the cheese and, simultaneously, remembered that on this board people generally pierce after the surface mold cover is pretty extensive. I'm guessing that this will all work itself out and that most likely the holes will just occlude and I will have to re-pierce, but I wanted to get the experts' opinions before moving forward. Details on the make

scant 3 gal of stupid, crappy store bought cow's milk (HTST and organic, at least, but still homogenized)
1 pint heavy cream
pinch of MM100 (diacetyl-producing)
slurry of store bought danish blue veining
1/2 tsp liquid rennet
1/2 tsp CaCl2

Ripen at 86F for 60 minutes (MM100 and slurry)
Add rennet, check flocc time using bowl method - This was my first flocc check; I clocked it at 10 min but after 40 min total (4x stilton multiplier) the curd was so delicate I couldn't tell if the break was clean; ended up letting it go for about 60 min total but there was little change in curd structure between 40 and 60 min)
spoon (very delicate) curd into cheese cloth sitting in whey, let sit for 60 min
drain by hanging curd overnight
mill curds in the morning, mix in 2 Tbs salt
Add to home-made mould
turn 4 times in first two hours, then once every 2-3 hours for four days total
on fifth day, de-mould, smooth, pierce, store in tupperware at ~60F until mould cover developes

Thanks!


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Offline JeffHamm

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Re: First Stilton-like, Piercing question
« Reply #1 on: April 28, 2013, 03:15:33 PM »
Hi,

I'll let others comment on the piercing issue (though, if you want to follow the other makes, just smooth over the holes again - no biggie really).  To me, it looks like you've done a fantastic job of smoothing, so a cheese to you on that job well done.  Also, and this probably should have come first, welcome to the board.  Lot's to learn here, and I recommend both using the search feature a lot and just going back through the old posts and makes and reading up on cheeses you are interested in.  Take note of things that relate to procedure and techniques, etc.  Those will be useful for a number of different cheeses.  Most important, post photos and have fun (yes, in that order! :) )

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

Offline linuxboy

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Re: First Stilton-like, Piercing question
« Reply #2 on: April 28, 2013, 04:03:14 PM »
IMHO, stick to the basics. More oxygen through piercing = more growth. this applies to p candidum and opportunistic infections as well as p roqueforti. If you piece early on, you provide more fuel in the fire. Awesome if you have a robust roqueforti growth, not so cool if you have infections.

but generally more and early piecing = faster flavor development.
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Offline kshathra

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Re: First Stilton-like, Piercing question
« Reply #3 on: April 28, 2013, 04:33:09 PM »
Thanks for the responses! I think I've read 70% of the posts in the blue and bloomy boards (I'm an engineering student so I sort of compulsively read about this type of stuff when I get interested). I thought the ripening might be quicker with more available oxygen but I wasn't sure if the ripening process was directly linked to mold mass. This is actually fine for me and I'll leave the holes open for this one. If there are other molds that gain a foothold it might lead to something interesting, but I'm hoping it stays relatively straightforward as it ages. I'm moving in July so this early piercing might just cause it to be ripe enough to enjoy before then. I was worried I would have a very neutral flavor because I wont have the chance to fully age it before cutting. Oh, and in case it wasn't visible, there was visible mold patches on every side of the cheese, so at least the slurry took off. I'll post updated pictures as the forest covers the hill.

-J

Offline H-K-J

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Re: First Stilton-like, Piercing question
« Reply #4 on: April 28, 2013, 06:09:24 PM »
On my first 2 Stiltons I pierced 4 or five days after smoothing, no problem, They made excellent cheese just go through the cycle of flippin and it will be fine ;D.
Make sure you pierce at least once more when the holes start growing over.
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act as if it were impossible to fail.


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Offline kshathra

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Re: First Stilton-like, Piercing question
« Reply #5 on: April 28, 2013, 06:22:38 PM »
Well I smoothed and pierced in a five minute span, rather than five days, so we'll just have to see what happens. At least the paste tasted great so far! Creamy, well seasoned, and with a slight blue-ish aroma.

Offline H-K-J

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Re: First Stilton-like, Piercing question
« Reply #6 on: April 28, 2013, 09:19:10 PM »
LET HER GO!!!!
Goin tuh be fun ;D
act as if it were impossible to fail.

Offline kshathra

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Re: First Stilton-like, Piercing question
« Reply #7 on: May 01, 2013, 10:22:46 AM »
Bluing update: The Stilton-like is bluing up nicely and boy does it feel like it'll be creamy. One of the holes I pierced into the top is already full of veining. When I drained the curd in the cheese cloth I had a bit left over that wouldn't fit, so I just ladled the remaining into molds to drain and see what happened. They ended up far more moist and tangy than the big cheese, and now it looks like they have some geo taking hold. I'm pretty excited to see how these two cheeses differ when they're done.

Offline H-K-J

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Re: First Stilton-like, Piercing question
« Reply #8 on: May 01, 2013, 08:59:35 PM »
Prity ^-^
act as if it were impossible to fail.

Offline kshathra

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Re: First Stilton-like, Piercing question
« Reply #9 on: May 04, 2013, 12:07:52 PM »
I just re-pierced the smaller experimental cheeses and while doing so noticed an ammonia back note in the aroma. They felt pretty rigid and I thought they might be aged out already due to their small size (3" x 1" approximately) so I opened one to see and put the other back in the cool box. At room temp the paste was very creamy with a nice blue flavor but unfortunately too bitter to enjoy. I'm not sure if further aging will fix this but I'll find out with the other one in a couple weeks. The make was only 10 days ago so I'm sure it could benefit from more time.


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Offline kshathra

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Re: First Stilton-like, Piercing question
« Reply #10 on: May 09, 2013, 01:24:30 PM »
Main cheese update: This is from a few days ago but it looks basically the same today. Just repierced it and tasted the paste. Smooth, creamy, and really damn good already. Can't wait till it sharpens up a little! And I love how gnarly it looks   :D

Offline bbracken677

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Re: First Stilton-like, Piercing question
« Reply #11 on: May 09, 2013, 01:32:24 PM »
Gnarly dude!  LOL you must be about my age to use that term!!!

Nice looking cheese!  Cant wait for the unveiling!

Offline BobE102330

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Re: First Stilton-like, Piercing question
« Reply #12 on: May 09, 2013, 02:22:06 PM »
Is that a coat of PC/Geo your cheese is wearing?  It may be a thick Cambazola... 

Offline kshathra

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Re: First Stilton-like, Piercing question
« Reply #13 on: May 09, 2013, 03:14:09 PM »
Hah "gnarly" seemed the appropriate term. Yeah I'm positive it was cross-contaminated by my several geo-only cheeses that are aging nearby and is now sporting that convoluted surface I wish was on the other cheeses! Even though the geo cheeses are isolated in a separate container, those spores seem pretty intrepid if you give them half a chance. I'm okay with it because I'm pretty sure it'll be delicious even with the mold combo (a thick Cambazola would be freakin' great, actually). I'll be unveiling this one in about two weeks, which is extremely early but I don't really have a choice. I'm moving cross country and can't really store the thing in an ice chest for three weeks during our road trip to the new city.

Offline kshathra

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Re: First Stilton-like, Piercing question
« Reply #14 on: May 27, 2013, 11:02:25 AM »
Well, here's the reveal. First, the big cheese. Great veining but the taste wasn't perfect. A little bitter near the edges and maybe a little overripe in the center (interesting for only about a month of aging), but the texture was amazingly creamy like a Maytag blue or something. I wonder if the overripening was from early piercing or from excess microbe culture, since I added both MM100 and store-bought blue cheese slurry. All in all I'm fairly satisfied with my first try. The little weird cheese I made with the excess curd ended up getting even more bitter than its twin was a few weeks ago. So bitter I had to spit it out, actually. The texture was very soft and creamy, and if the bitterness wasn't there I think it would have been amazing.