Author Topic: Arnaud's Abondance No. 1  (Read 237 times)

Offline ArnaudForestier

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Arnaud's Abondance No. 1
« on: March 19, 2014, 11:48:45 AM »
Well, let me start off by saying I had an entire, lengthy, opening post drafted that I accidentally deleted...!  More later. 

Basically, this chronicles my efforts in crafting an Abondance-style cheese.  Very similar to Beaufort, with some exceptions, most notably the size.  Beaufort wheels typically range from 88-110 lbs., and can span 29.5" across.  Abondance, very close in make, ranges from 11-20 pounds or so, typically.  I have a true alpine "cercle," as seen here designed by Oude Kaas and copied by me; I've got more sourcing for slightly larger hoops as my current hoop will give me a flat, alpine wheel at about 11-12 pounds; the hoops I'm looking into will give the true, concave shape as seen in Beauforts and Abondances. 

One other quick note, very interesting for me to find in more texts, that both Beaufort and Abondance commonly get a brining and dry-salting regimen; they serve different purposes and are both typically employed.  More later. 

Most immediately, though, I'm reading an interesting article looking at Abondance texture, by type of pasture.  It's the only study to follow texture/rheology of three Abondance makes from field to finished affinage, comparing by type of pasture.  HOWEVER, and this I found really interesting - NONE of the makers employed helveticus as added culture.  ST and "ldl," lactobacillus delbrueckii subs. lactis, with two of the three also employing delb. subs. bulgaricus....but no helveticus.  Brings a whole new meaning to "we don't want to make a parm, here...." 

More later here, too.  If you want the article, it's found here.
« Last Edit: March 19, 2014, 12:26:56 PM by ArnaudForestier »
- Paul


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Offline Bear and Bunny cheese

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Re: Arnaud's Abondance No. 1
« Reply #1 on: April 15, 2014, 11:52:08 AM »
Hey Arnaud,
  I`ve also heard of Beauforts not using Helveticus.  I have always used it and have found a definite parm note in my earlier makes where I used way too much starter.  I spoke with Wilma at Glengarry who said the proteolysic activity of LH is still important and would recommend using it just in small amounts.  I am going for about half as much LH as Strep Therm.  Well we`ll actually see how precise I can get.  The make I will be doing on Friday will have such a small amount of Helveticus 0.0175 of a gram (yeah as if I can measure that!)
  Since you are an authority on Beauforts maybe could you tell me the reason it is scalded to 128F and then even raised again to 135F before wheying off?  I saw one of Sailor`s posts mention this.  Such a high temp would really promote syneresis but is there another reason? Cuz man not even parms scald that high.
Nathan

Offline ArnaudForestier

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Re: Arnaud's Abondance No. 1
« Reply #2 on: April 15, 2014, 12:31:34 PM »
Hey Bear - first of all, I'm no authority on anything, lol.  Well, maybe cooking French grub.  Beaufort/Abondance just happens to be my area of intense interest, as I love its traditions (much like Alp is a son of his fatherland, so would be myself, for La Vielle France), and the cheese itself...a kind of demon antic at my soul, demanding more and more!  I relied on Sailor for my initial recipe and understanding, and a ton from Linuxboy and Francois as well. 

As to that high a temp, I personally don't go that high.  Part of it is as you called it, I don't want that much syneresis.  Keeping in mind that Beaufort is actually like 88 lbs and above, and I'm maknig Abondance, I'll tend to stay around 124 (for 12 pound wheels), a bit higher for the larger wheels. 

Different sources cite different cooking temperature ranges for Beaufort.  An exhaustive study from Lille indicates 127-132F, while Beaufort AOC calls for 127-129F.

The study I cited didn't have any added LH, but I'm certain it exists in the raw milk.  Looking through a couple science texts (Fox et al's Cheese: Chemistry, Physics and Microbiology, for example - pg. 125, Table 1), they show helveticus to be absent in gruyere.  I've really taken to Alp's whey culture method - geeked about it, to be honest.  I can't think of a more effective way to be utterly transparent - to convey the flora in the milk alone - than this method.  Interestingly, the same text cited above, for whey culture they indicate helveticus typically dominates - 85%.  Mind you, this refers to grana whey starters.  Point of interest here:

Quote
deproteinized whey starters with rennet (Fettsirtenmagenlab, Présure à la ‘recruite’) which are used for the manufacture of Swiss-type cheeses (Emmental, Sbrinz, Gruyère; see ‘Cheese With Propionic Acid Fermentation’, Volume 2) in small cheese factories in the Alps. Invariably, thermophilic lactobacilli (Lb. helveticus, Lb. delbrueckii subsp. lactis) dominate cultures produced under selective conditions (high temperature) while streptococci (Sc. thermophilus, but also lactococci and enterococci) often dominate cultures incubated at a relatively low temperature (42 °C), which usually show higher microbial diversity (Parente et al., 1997).

-I'm going to rethink my whey isolation and incubation regimen accordingly. Under any circumstance, my bought SLABs sit in their pouches, freezing and sullen!

Something of note, I think - keeping in mind that Beaufort is characterized by avoiding the eye-formation seen in emmental and other alpine cheeses with eyes (a consequence of higher relative salting and lower temperature, and, especially for Beaufort, the higher fat content of the make*, which suppresses eye formation; as a few reasons), it's interesting to read of the apparent symbiotic relationship between helveticus and propionibacteria.  From v. 2 of this series,

Quote
Several investigations have shown that thermophilic lactic acid bacteria, especially Lb. delbrueckii and Lb. helveticus, can stimulate the growth of propionibacteria

(note - I can't recall where, but I once read a substantial amount of stuff saying propionic was not entirely avoided in Beaufort and its cousins - its biochemical and microbiological effects add distinctive characteristics to these cheeses; just that we're avoiding too much, and certainly its production of gas.  It's native to raw milk, anyway, and my guess is, that suffices, given Beaufort/Abondance vat process and affinage.

NOW, to really screw stuff up, this is from Fox, Fundamentals of Cheese Science:

Quote
Beaufort is a French variety similar to but larger than (~ 45 kg) Gruyere, but only Lb. helveticus is used as starter.

And the previously cited Lille study indicates the "permitted" cultures used are thermophilic, "primarily lactobacilli."  Lol.  There goes the notion that it is ST, and not the lactobacilli (esp. helveticus) that predominates. 

As with all of this - which drives my reductionist mind absolutely batty - there's probably no clear answer. For me, probably, the more I read, the more I think I'll shy away from helveticus, unless doing grana styles.  Nevertheless, I'm certain it's in my raw milk.  And, at the end of the day, I think we also have to ask, where's the sensory threshold?  In other words, if L. helveticus and L. bulgaricus share certain sensory traits, at what concentration would their differences manifest, what concentration would trip the sensory threshold?  I think that's probably a more important question to ask. 

You and I share brewing experience - this question is something we asked all the time.  I know when I really started to get into brewing on a commercial level, I geeked out my mash schedule with a lot of steps, to finesse mouthfeel and so forth...beta-glucans, protein, beta- and alpha-amylase, all of that. 

Until I read some literature going into this in depth, showing that for the most part, the molecular weight resulting from most of these steps was so low, that no consumer with a normal palate, could tell a difference.  Back to single-step infusion. 

I surmise it's much the same here.  I suspect that unless we're making big changes - all L. helveticus v. all L. bulgaricus, all S. thermo v. all L. helveticus, in p/h milk - we can't tell the difference. 

Probably the best logic I've seen, comes from Alp: some process (like his, or Linuxboy's) of producing a whey starter, replete with a host of mesophilic and thermophilic - as long as it's a clean starter, I wouldn't think it really matters what mix you have of lactococci, L. helveticus, bulgaricus, lactis, S. thermophilus, etc.  If you consistently make a batch that suits your cheese's character, replicate it each and every time (given the balancing act needed with changing seasons, changing period of lactation, etc.), and draw a whey starter from it - eventually, you'll end up with the right mix anyway, whatever critters and whatever their amounts, exist in your cheese.  That's my plan, anyway.  I'm feeling pretty much done with pure-strain, bought cultures.

*I'm thinking of several breeds.  I've made contact with a genetics guy in Normandes and Tarentaise, both of which have their benefit - Normandes have an almost ideal p/f ratio, while Tarentaise are unique in possessing b-casein variant C, thought to impart the piquancy, forward, "animal" nature of Beaufort, when compared to its gruyere cousins.  However, Beaufort is also higher in fat than the other cheeses, which begs the question - why not Jerseys?  John Putnam of Thistle Hill milks 100% grazed Jerseys - and his "Tarentaise" is one hell of an Abondance, in my opinion.
« Last Edit: April 15, 2014, 02:07:30 PM by ArnaudForestier »
- Paul