Author Topic: My First Moldy, A Valencay without the ash  (Read 444 times)

Offline tzotzil99

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My First Moldy, A Valencay without the ash
« on: October 02, 2013, 07:03:16 PM »
I've been making mostly fresh cheeses over the last year but decided to dive in and attempt my first moldy, a Valencay, using the cute little pyramid forms I bought from getculture.com. I used the recipe from Karlin's book and followed the techniques in Caldwell's book.

I used 2 quarts non-homogenized vat pasteurized whole jersey and 2 quarts raw whole jersey milk. I used Flora Danica, Geo 15 and the penicillium all from getculture. I didn't have ash, so I made them without it. It was a very warm week so they drained in higher temps than ideal, the whey that drained was less clear and green than I would have preferred. Instead of salting them, I brined them in heavy brine as suggested by Caldwell, although I was on the phone and they ended up being brined closer to 45 minutes rather than the intended 20.

I put them in a Storeables clear plastic container on the top shelf of my regular fridge, a crappy small apartment fridge that actually is about the right temperature at that spot, from 48-52 degrees depending on which thermometer I use. I stuck a small cheap hygrometer I got on amazon inside the box. It shows -- when above 95% so that is what I saw and figured it was good enough lol;) I carefully rotated and moved them about the box every day.

The fuzzy white mold took longer to show up, 8 days rather than the 5 I expected, perhaps because of the colder temperature, but it did eventually. Once fully covered and almost fluffy, which took abou 16 days (lost my sheet with all the details dang it lol) I wrapped them in the expensive papers I bought from getculture and stuck them in a smaller box and put them at the bottom of the fridge where it is coldest. I opened and ate one after one week, two weeks, and then ate the final two pyramids after three weeks in wrappers. All were excellent but the last week they were truly fantastic, gooey and lemony in the middle, a wonderful chalky layer on the outside, and I really enjoyed the flavor of the rind as well. They were perhaps a bit saltier than ideal, but not so much as to spoil the wonderful flavor.

Its been a while since I had a real Valencay so I can't say if they were exactly as they were supposed to be, but compared to the store-bought brie's and camembert's I've had lately, they were far far superior. I had just splurged on a Dinah's Cheese from Kurtwood Farms I bought at the farmer's market, $14 for a small round and well worth it, but my little pyramids were almost just as tasty, I couldn't have hoped for more.

I've loved reading the many threads here at the forum, plus all the helpful posts at the wiki, thank you to all who have shared your knowledge and experience. I'm happy to be able to post a success story as my first post and I owe much of that to all the info here, as well as luck;)

Edit: the pic is of the first pyramid I opened after one week wrapped, it was the most firm while still having the two textures I hoped for, firm along the rind and creamy in the middle; the final two pyramids oozed sensually and slowly out of their rinds after being cut in half, I ate them before taking any pics lol:)

Edit 2: Just realized I'd put this in the wrong section, my apologies, I thought I'd started it in the right one! Perhaps the mods could move it to the correct one, thank you, noobie embarrassment here!
« Last Edit: October 02, 2013, 07:16:14 PM by tzotzil99 »


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Offline Geo

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Re: My First Moldy, A Valencay without the ash
« Reply #1 on: October 03, 2013, 02:44:47 AM »
Your Valencay looks fabulous. I don't eat a lot of softer cheeses but do like them, and I've been thinking a lot about trying to make some in the near future. I must say, this is inspiring me as your description of the flavours sounds delicious.

Offline Spellogue

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Re: My First Moldy, A Valencay without the ash
« Reply #2 on: October 03, 2013, 01:12:38 PM »
Very nice!

A Valencay without the ash is a Pouligny St. Pierre and you've made a delightful looking one.

A cheese to you.
I can resist anything but temptation.      ~ Oscar Wilde

Offline High Altitude

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Re: My First Moldy, A Valencay without the ash
« Reply #3 on: October 08, 2013, 11:01:51 AM »
Nice write-up, and interesting that you went with Karlin's recipe and Caldwell's technique (those are the only 2 cheese books I happen to have :-). 

Are you going to make more Valencay's using ash?  A cheese to your "very pretty" efforts!
Have some (homemade) wine with that cheese!

Offline tzotzil99

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Re: My First Moldy, A Valencay without the ash
« Reply #4 on: October 09, 2013, 05:30:11 PM »
Thanks, fellow cheese makers;) And I didn't know there was a named ash-less variety, I'll have to look for it and try it in order to compare!

I think it is very worth while attempting one of these trickier cheese, I couldn't be happier with how my first attempt turned out, and I would encourage anybody to give it a go as long as you have some way of getting the ripening conditions close to the ideals described in the recipes. Ripening the cheese at slightly cooler than the 50 degree minimum of the recipes hasn't proved a hurdle, something I'm very happy about! As with the Valencay, it just takes a bit longer for the mold to get started and cover the cheeses.

I really love the detail of technique in Caldwell's book, I use that as the basis for filling out the process when using recipes in other books. Since I often research and cook things based on my tweaking of several recipes, I feel like this approach with cheese is sort of my style and if failure follows, entirely my own fault lol;)

I am currently making camembert following Karlin's recipe for a mushroom infused version, but without the mushroom infusion lol. It was mostly because the quantity of milk required was only 1 gallon compared to the other camembert recipes. Fridge space limitations necessitate that I only use 2 of the camembert molds. The cheeses are almost entirely covered in white fuzzy mold, a few more days and I will wrap them.

Since the Valencay, I made a Leiden style semi-firm pressed cheese, following Caldwell's technique for Same Temperature Light-Brine Washed Curd Cheese, adding fenugreek, cumin and mustard seeds to the cheese and rubbing the rind every few days for a month with Indian mustard oil, alternating with a light brine. After 5 weeks I cut the cheese and have been eating it since, the very last piece of it today. It had a wonderful flavor, like Fenacho, but with a spicier and pleasantly pungent bite from the mustard seeds and oil. It was dense and firm when eaten cold, perhaps a bit rubbery rather than the Gouda-like texture I would have preferred; I think I over pressed it under whey but was concerned not to have pockets remain due to the whole seeds and spices in the cheese. The texture was improved when I allowed the cheese to warm up in my kitchen before eating thick slices of it on their own. The rind never developed a mold except for a few tiny randomly spaced spots right at the very end, but did age a pleasant golden color and was pockmarked with little holes as some of the spices fell out during the aging and rind washing. Perhaps not the prettiest cheese until sliced, but still very tasty and I would count it as a success. No pics of that one, somehow I deleted the ones I took with my phone.

My next project will be a Taleggio style cheese made in camembert molds. I will write that up and put it in the correct place this time! I will probably try several types of cheeses using the same adjunct cultures before I try a Valencay again or buy ash to do it correctly. As I can really only make at most 2 different cheeses at a time in order to fit the two boxes in my fridge, I would like to experiment with many types of cheese before repeating myself.


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