Author Topic: Monterey Jack and Pepper Jack  (Read 1690 times)

Offline tnbquilt

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Monterey Jack and Pepper Jack
« on: May 19, 2013, 07:55:13 PM »
Since Pepper Jack is listed under this header, I am writing here, but I think it goes under the washed curd cheeses. Today I made 8 gallons of milk into 2 cheeses. Half is a Monterey Jack and the other half is a Pepper Jack. I have been using Ricki Carrol's recipe, which is not a washed curd cheese, and it comes out rather dry. So I did a lot of research and discovered that Monterey Jack is a washed curd cheese. I made myself a recipe using Peter Dixon's recipe and Gianaclis Caldwell's recipe.

4 gallons of raw milk
1/2 tsp MA 011
1 tablet of vegetable rennet
for the pepper jack I took 1 tablespoon of chopped jalopeno, 1 tablespoon of red pepper flakes, and 1 teaspoon of dried jalopeno and boiled them in a 1/2 cup of water.

I have two electric roasters, so I put 4 gallons in each roaster.

Heat milk to 88
PH level 6.78
Add culture, ripen 40 minutes
Ph level 6.68
Add rennet, wait 35 minutes, used a floc multiplier of 3,
cut 1/2", heal 5 minutes
PH level 6.2
heat to 102 over 45 minutes
cook 45 minutes
PH level 6.0
Remove whey down to curds, add 60 degree water until temp is 86
Stir for 15 minutes
PH level 5.94
Drain
Weigh curd, 84 oz
salt 1.7 oz
Add the peppers to the one getting peppers
Put into a 6" mold and press at 40lbs for 15 minutes
flip and press at 75lbs for 1 hour
flip and press at 75lbs for 11 hours.

I didn't have any troubles during the make, the heat was right and the PH levels seemed to line up with what Peter Dixon and Gianaclis Calwell said so I felt pretty good about it. Now we wait until morning so I can check the final PH after pressing. Gianaclis Caldwell says that it should not be less than 5.2

In Gianaclis Caldwell's book she explains how washing the 102 degree curd with 60 degree water causes the curds to absorb the moisture and that is what makes the style of cheese moist. That explains why the one in Ricki Carrol's book was not moist, it was not made by this process.

I made the same recipe last week but I added heavy cream to it. Now we just have to wait to see which one comes out the best.
Tammy


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Offline tnbquilt

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Re: Monterey Jack and Pepper Jack
« Reply #1 on: May 20, 2013, 05:57:39 AM »
They both weigh in at 3.35lbs and have a PH level of 4.98. I guess that means that in order to have the PH level of 5.2 I have to cut down the press time. I pressed for 12 hours and 15 minutes. I suppose I could cut that to 10 hours.
Tammy

Offline meyerandray

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Re: Monterey Jack and Pepper Jack
« Reply #2 on: May 20, 2013, 08:07:20 AM »
My very first cheese was a Monterey Pepper Jack, using a non-washed curd recipe.  I just opened it last week, and it was crumbly and super acidic, I don't know if that was from too much pressing, or maybe the temp got away from me during the make... either way, I too tried a couple of weeks ago a washed curd version, and am hoping for a better result. 
How do you check the pH after pressing?  I noticed that you don't have any visible signs on your forms (which look great by the way) of a puncture wounds from a pH meter.  I have a cheese on the press right now, and have a goal pH after pressing, and was just trying to figure out how I could measure that pH without leaving a hole in my cheese.
Are you going to wax these forms?  vacuum seal?  oil? leave as is?
My first super acidic pepper jack also didn't melt, which was not the result I was hoping for for my quesadillas, I hope my washed curd version comes out better, maybe I will try your recipe too.

Offline tnbquilt

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Re: Monterey Jack and Pepper Jack
« Reply #3 on: May 26, 2013, 10:47:12 PM »
I think super acidic usually means over cooking. Been there, done that, with cheddar. Very aggravating. I didn't have my PH meter calibrated correctly, so I kept cooking the cheese waiting for the PH levels to get right. OOPS.

I now have an Extech PH meter called an Exstick. It's easy to calibrate. It has a flat probe on it, so it takes the PH level of solid objects just by pressing it against them. It cost about $80.

I let these two cheeses sit in the cave for a week, flipping them daily, until the the outside had dried, and then I waxed them. I am anxious to see if I like the ones that I made with the additional cream better or not. Some recipes for Jack says to add additional cream, but some don't so I thought that I would try it both ways to see.
Tammy

Offline tnbquilt

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Re: Monterey Jack and Pepper Jack
« Reply #4 on: November 10, 2013, 08:10:27 AM »
I tasted these cheeses at 4 months old, and 5 months old. They are sour, like pickles. The taste is horrible. I looked up my RC book in the trouble shooting section and it says that sour means acidic. Possible cause is too much moisture or excessive acidity developed during the cheese making process.

The cheese is trash, but now I'm trying to figure out what I did. I thought that since the PH markers worked out during the recipe making that I had my acidity correct. At the end of the pressing the PH levels were lower than the 5.2 that Gianis Caldwell had listed.

I'm going to try it again today, but I can't decide if I didn't press enough liquid out of it, or if it's because of the acidity level.
Tammy


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Offline tnbquilt

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Re: Monterey Jack and Pepper Jack
« Reply #5 on: November 10, 2013, 08:30:41 AM »
I made this recipe two weeks in a row, once with the cream and once without.

So after tasting all of it again just now, None of it is pressed hard enough. When you cut into it, you can crumble it in your hand and it looks like the shape of the curd. It did not really mesh together well.

The one with the cream added is really sour, and will have to be trashed. It is very acidic. I made half into pepper jack, and the other half I left plain. The plain one, is not as acidic as the pepper one, but it is still sour and not pressed correctly. These two are definitely trash.

The ones that I made the next weekend, without the cream, taste better. They are not pressed correctly, and I can tell that they don't have enough salt, but they have a creamier flavor than the other ones. They have a slight sour flavor to them, but I'm not throwing them away yet.

So I'm going to look back at my detailed notes for each cheese, noting ph levels and how much salt I used, and try this again with a higher pressing weight.
Tammy

Offline Boofer

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Re: Monterey Jack and Pepper Jack
« Reply #6 on: November 10, 2013, 10:35:40 AM »
Ooh, sorry, Tammy. :(

I use an ExStik and I wouldn't know when to act at certain points without it. Yes, folks, I know cheese has been made for thousands of years and those people didn't have a pH meter.... ::)

I don't blindly "press overnight" and then check to see how the cheese is doing in the morning. Once the cheese is in the press, I monitor the pH level every so often, when I flip and rewrap, to see if I have reached my out-of-the-press point of pH 5.3-5.4. When that magical limit is reached, the cheese either goes into the brine or goes to airdry at room temperature.

Your excess acidity could also be from not expelling enough whey during cooking/stirring. The characteristic of the cheese just coming apart in your hands may be from the excess acidity.

Finally, I've had some tough times with produce in my cheeses. Are you sure that the peppers weren't overly acidic when added to the cheese? Again, that's where the ExStik shines.

Hey, Tammy, look on the bright side...another opportunity to shine in the Thread of Shame. ;)

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« Last Edit: November 11, 2013, 08:20:38 AM by Boofer »
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Offline tnbquilt

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Re: Monterey Jack and Pepper Jack
« Reply #7 on: November 10, 2013, 11:41:54 AM »
I definitely have excess acidity, but since the ph levels matched what Caldwell and Peter Dixon suggested during the make, I thought that indicated that the acidity level was correct at that point in the make. I thought that was why you checked ph level, as a method of getting the acidity correct. So the ph dropping to low during the press is a definite problem. I will have to start checking ph levels during pressing, instead of just going to bed.

The ones that I did not add peppers to were not as acidic, but still over acidic. I am going to make just the Monterey Jack so that I can get the cheese recipe correct before I add peppers to it again, so I can tell if the peppers screw it up.

I hate to screw up the cheese. I seem to make some cheeses rather well and others have eluded me. It's hard to perfect one when it takes so long to age.
Tammy

Offline Pete S

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Re: Monterey Jack and Pepper Jack
« Reply #8 on: November 10, 2013, 03:58:58 PM »
Quote

Put into a 6" mold and press at 40lbs for 15 minutes
flip and press at 75lbs for 1 hour
flip and press at 75lbs for 11 hours.



  Are you pressing to heavy at the start  thereby trapping whey in your cheese?   Pete
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Offline Digitalsmgital

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Re: Monterey Jack and Pepper Jack
« Reply #9 on: November 10, 2013, 05:52:19 PM »

I hate to screw up the cheese. I seem to make some cheeses rather well and others have eluded me. It's hard to perfect one when it takes so long to age.

I feel your pain! I made my first cheese one month ago, am anxious to see how it came out, yet my fears are it will be acidic (no pH meter) but I continue to baby it, flip it, worry about it, dream about it  ^-^
I used raw milk, so it must age at least two months. It had better be creamy and delicious!
Regards, Dave


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Offline Boofer

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Re: Monterey Jack and Pepper Jack
« Reply #10 on: November 11, 2013, 08:29:05 AM »
I used raw milk, so it must age at least two months. It had better be creamy and delicious!
You're probably making other cheeses since that first one. If not, follow-on cheeses help to blunt the anticipation and may help to shield your ego if there is any problem with that dear first effort. ;)

This one will be a winner, but in case it isn't, I still have that one, and that one, and...oh, that one too!  :P

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Offline tnbquilt

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Re: Monterey Jack and Pepper Jack
« Reply #11 on: November 11, 2013, 11:38:20 AM »
The pressing question is a valid one. I thought of that one too. When I pressed the one I made yesterday, I lightened it up in the beginning to make sure. this post was also for a 4lb cheese, but yesterday I pressed 2 2lb cheeses. I think when I increased my cheese size I screwed up my pressing.

I have made really good 2lb pepper jack, so I thought I would go back to the smaller wheel.

I also did not just go to bed and take the cheese out in the morning. I checked the PH before I went to bed, and then I got up at 2:am and took it out of the press. Caldwell says that the ph should not be lower than 5.2 so at 2:am one was at 5.34 and the other one was at 5.29 and I took them out. I figure that was pretty close to 5.2 but not lower than that.

I took it out of the press at 2:am and put it in the cheese cave to stop the ph from dropping anymore. I checked it this morning and it is not weeping like my other ones were. My other ones were dripping whey pretty bad for several days after I took them out of the press.
Tammy

Offline Spoons

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Re: Monterey Jack and Pepper Jack
« Reply #12 on: November 20, 2013, 03:41:41 PM »
4 gallons of raw milk
1/2 tsp MA 011
1 tablet of vegetable rennet
for the pepper jack I took 1 tablespoon of chopped jalopeno, 1 tablespoon of red pepper flakes, and 1 teaspoon of dried jalopeno and boiled them in a 1/2 cup of water.

Maybe the problem is the rennet amount. Too much rennet gives a bitter taste as the cheese matures. 1 tablet sounds like a lot for 4 gallons, especially for raw milk.

So the good news is, it is possible you did everything right (PH markers and all), it was just the rennet tablet. BTW, I vaguely remember reading somewhere that vegetable rennet may impart an off flavour.
« Last Edit: November 20, 2013, 03:52:08 PM by Spoons »
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Offline GlennK

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Re: Monterey Jack and Pepper Jack
« Reply #13 on: November 20, 2013, 05:11:00 PM »
This is a bit of the topic, but does that roaster work well keeping your curds at that low temp of one hundred something?  Are you using a temperature controller?
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Offline jwalker

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Re: Monterey Jack and Pepper Jack
« Reply #14 on: November 21, 2013, 09:17:25 AM »
4 gallons of raw milk
1/2 tsp MA 011
1 tablet of vegetable rennet
for the pepper jack I took 1 tablespoon of chopped jalopeno, 1 tablespoon of red pepper flakes, and 1 teaspoon of dried jalopeno and boiled them in a 1/2 cup of water.

Maybe the problem is the rennet amount. Too much rennet gives a bitter taste as the cheese matures. 1 tablet sounds like a lot for 4 gallons, especially for raw milk.

So the good news is, it is possible you did everything right (PH markers and all), it was just the rennet tablet. BTW, I vaguely remember reading somewhere that vegetable rennet may impart an off flavour.

I was thinking the same thing , I've always used no more than 1/2 tablet for 4 gallons of milk.

I have also found my cheeses to be much nicer since I started pressing with lighter weights , I hardly ever use more than 20 lbs. for any of my 4 gallon 6-8" cheeses.
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