Author Topic: Did I ruin my Stilton attempt??  (Read 1375 times)

Offline SwiftPint

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Did I ruin my Stilton attempt??
« on: August 19, 2013, 07:31:37 AM »
Right....  I've had a bit of break from cheese making, but now I've got a fridge I can use as a cheese cave I thought it would be time to give blue cheese another shot.
I think I might have ruined it though.

My recipe and process as follows:
I made a starter culture using A PACKET OF THIS, in a litre of Jersey gold top milk, at room temperature for 24 hours.  The starter smelt nice and ripe.
I used about 30ml of this starter.

5 litres of unhomologonised whole jersey gold top milk
Slowly heated to 31C, added 1/4 tsp of lipase in 30ml of water, stired for a few mins & then added the 30ml of starter, along with some PR culture.
Stirred for a few minutes and then left for 30mins.
Added 1/4 tsp of renet in 30ml water, stired this for a few minutes and left to sit.
* At this point I noticed the temp had crept up to 35C.  I got this cooled down to 32C again after about 20 mins.
After about an hour (lost track of time), I had a good clean break.
Cut into 2cm cubes, & let to sit of 10mins.
Laddled curds into cheesecloth, tied a "stilton knot" and put back in curds.
Tightened the knot a couple of times over 2 hours - but I never felt like it was squeezeing the curds too much
Then I preshed the curds between two chopping boards witha 5kg weight on top, overnight.
This morning I broke into 2cm sized lumps and mixed in 25g of salt.
I then put the curds into two moulds.

At this stage I feel that the curds don't feel right.  They seem a lot drier and more compact than the photos I've seen online & the previous blues I've made.
The curds are now supposed to be settling in the moulds and draining some more, right?
It seemed like they were slightly rubbery and therefore probably wouldnt settle much without any pressure.  Therefore at the moment there are a lot of large (massive!) gaps between the curds.  I'm at work, but will add a photo later. 

I'm hoping that it will have settled a bit by the time I get home, but I'm not convinced.  I therefore think I will need to add a bit of pressure to compact it and make it knit together,  but then I think I'd be moving away from a stilton?  I'd then have to use a skewer to get some air holes back in there.

Any thoughts?
I'm thinking I might have pressed too much overnight & have ruined it....

Photos to follow later...
« Last Edit: August 19, 2013, 05:08:29 PM by SwiftPint »


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Offline jwalker

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Re: Did I ruin my Stilton??
« Reply #1 on: August 19, 2013, 08:37:14 AM »
Been there , done that , give it a week or two for the blue to grow , and then pierce , it will still be a nice blue , just not quite a Stilton.

That's been my experience.

I'm sure it will be fine , it will probably ripen faster than an actual Stilton though.
No..........I'm not a professional CheeseMaker , but I play one on TV.

Offline SwiftPint

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Re: Did I ruin my Stilton attempt??
« Reply #2 on: August 19, 2013, 05:21:29 PM »
Good to know I'm not the only one!

The curds seem to have knitted pretty well, a small amount of whey drained out during the day.



I'm wondering whether I also messed up on the size of the milling - on the large size - how will this impact the flavour etc?

I think that the large size curds, along with being a bit firm are the reasons behind the large holes.  Having said that, I think I will still be able to smooth over the cracks.

I've got a whole load of starter culture in the freezer now, so might have another blast next weekend, to get another one on the go...  ;D

Offline SwiftPint

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Re: Did I ruin my Stilton attempt??
« Reply #3 on: August 22, 2013, 11:47:57 AM »
So,  I smoothed off the cheese last night and put it in the cave.  The smoothing off was a bit of a challenge due to the size of the holes and the size of the curds - the curds kept trying to come away from the cheese, but finally I got it sorted.  (will post pic later)  It had a great PR smell to it already...

I've got the cheese in a storage box in my fridge. 
I'm trying to log the temperature and humidity with a raspberry pi, and have the data graphed HERE
With the box of the lid closed, the RH shot up to 100% straight away,  so I've cracked the lid open a bit.  This is causing the RH to swing between about 60% and 96% when the fridges compressor cycles.  Should I be worried about this, or will it be OK,  cos on average the RH isn't too bad?  ::)

I'm going to try closing the lid slightly to see if that helps. 


Offline SwiftPint

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Re: Did I ruin my Stilton attempt??
« Reply #4 on: August 28, 2013, 06:54:37 AM »
Its been about 10 days now and its looking funky and smelling great.   O0

Its at about 13C and 95% RH, both a touch high so will try and bring them both down a bit.




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Offline JeffHamm

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Re: Did I ruin my Stilton attempt??
« Reply #5 on: August 28, 2013, 03:23:55 PM »
That looks to be coming along nicely.  Well done.

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Offline shotski

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Re: Did I ruin my Stilton attempt??
« Reply #6 on: August 28, 2013, 08:51:52 PM »
Its been about 10 days now and its looking funky and smelling great.   O0

Its at about 13C and 95% RH, both a touch high so will try and bring them both down a bit.





Looks good , and if it smells good as you say.  Just turn it 4 to 5 times a week and in 5  to 6 weeks you should have a really nice blue cheese.

Offline SwiftPint

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Re: Did I ruin my Stilton attempt??
« Reply #7 on: August 30, 2013, 07:11:05 AM »
Its coming up to 2 weeks now, and the blue is taking over. is this too much? should I be worried & thinking about brining it?
What should the surface of the cheese feel like?  at the moment it feels cold, but a bit dry perhaps? it feels like quite a solid cheese, so I'm not sure if I should get on with piercing it sooner rather than later.  The recipe I'm following says to pierce after 3- 5 weeks, which seems quite late compared to other recipes..




Offline shotski

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Re: Did I ruin my Stilton attempt??
« Reply #8 on: August 31, 2013, 12:51:52 PM »
Its coming up to 2 weeks now, and the blue is taking over. is this too much? should I be worried & thinking about brining it?
What should the surface of the cheese feel like?  at the moment it feels cold, but a bit dry perhaps? it feels like quite a solid cheese, so I'm not sure if I should get on with piercing it sooner rather than later.  The recipe I'm following says to pierce after 3- 5 weeks, which seems quite late compared to other recipes..



Looks very nice to me I have made cheeses with more blue then your cheese has. It looks like it is progressing well. I wouldn't even think of brining your blue. The surface should be slightly moist to the touch but no water drops on or near the cheese. It is best to go by the humidity 90%ish and 13ish degrees. If the moisture is to high the cave will collect moisture, and if the cave is to big not enough moisture will collect on the walls so you can add a bowl of water. The outside will feel very firm but the inside will be very creamy. If you are making a young blue ( 5-6 weeks I like this range the best ) Then I would pierce it now. Hope this helps.

Good luck

Offline SwiftPint

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Re: Did I ruin my Stilton attempt??
« Reply #9 on: September 01, 2013, 04:44:30 PM »
Thanks for the advice shotski.
I've pierced and have dropped the temp a notch.  The RH is in the high 90s, & I'm trying to get that under control.

I've been away for the weekend, and when I got back, the cheese appears to be developing some darker blackish mould, which seems like bad news. 
Also the smell is less PR and has a hint of earthy/mushrooms...  any idea what this could be?  I'm a bit worried,  do I need to do anything, or just chill out?   ;D



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Offline shotski

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Re: Did I ruin my Stilton attempt??
« Reply #10 on: September 01, 2013, 05:07:27 PM »
I would just chill out. Depending on the strain of PR you used sometimes are dark green \ blue. The earthy mushroom smell is a good sign. Usually if it is going wrong the smell is the first indication, it will smell bad. So if I were you I would work on the humidity and turn once a day. If you find a ammonia odor let it rest out side the cave box for 1\2 a hour a day until it is gone.

Offline SwiftPint

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Re: Did I ruin my Stilton attempt??
« Reply #11 on: September 10, 2013, 08:30:33 AM »
Thanks for the advice shotski. 
I've got the humidity a bit more under control - nearer the 85%-90% range.
I've been turning it every couple of days.  The smell is pretty similar, I'm not picking up any ammonia smells.
It looks really grey.  Is this likely to change / fade over time? 

It must be about 3 weeks old now.


Offline graysalchemy

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Re: Did I ruin my Stilton attempt??
« Reply #12 on: September 10, 2013, 08:37:14 AM »
Hi SP nice to see a familier face on here  :)

Not seen you on THBF for a while and I can see why.   ;)

I have just started making a stilton a week ago. I can't think of a better combination of beer and cheese.

Offline SwiftPint

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Re: Did I ruin my Stilton attempt??
« Reply #13 on: September 10, 2013, 11:12:18 AM »
Hey greys, good to see another THBF-er on here  :)

I've been really busy lately, too busy for brewing (and drinking  >:(  ), although did managed time for another attempt at a blue cheese.

My last two attempts turned out horribly, due insufficient temp & humidity control & I think I massively overpitched my culture.  When I realised that cave temperature and cellar temperature were about the same I thought it was time to finally get a fridge for my hobbies!

Third time lucky with this one... its certainly smelling a lot better than last time.   

There's a lot to take in, and way more variables, so I'm finding it a lot more daunting than when I went all grain!  I think I just need to get stuck in making a few more cheeses to get the experience.  I love blues, but might try something like a farmhouse cheddar next.... 

Completely agree with you, beer and cheese are a perfect combo,  lots of fun to be had tasting different pairings...  O0

Offline SwiftPint

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Re: Did I ruin my Stilton attempt??
« Reply #14 on: October 05, 2013, 01:27:48 PM »
I want to cut it open and try it.... but i know it should age for longer.... but i want to cut it open and try it... but i know I should age it longer... but ... but...

would it be ok to some off, to try now, and wrap the rest in foil?  will it continue to age, or does cutting it & wrapping impact the aging?