OK, tonight was my first attempt at a blue, and my first attempt at anything since finding this place, so I guess I'll join in on the cheese logging. This might not be the most informative log, though, since it was pretty much completely fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants... I didn't know how I was going to drain the curds even as I started cutting them.
Started from this: http://schmidling.com/cres.htm#stilton
But I don't have a good system in place to keep anything more than about 5 quarts in a water bath, so I went for a 1 gallon instead of a 2. Then I thought "Stiltons should be really creamy and fatty", so I stuck with a whole pint of heavy cream. No pH meter, just pH papers, and they're neither accurate enough nor have the right range to be really useful here. Also, I didn't keep great tabs on how long everything took me, so even my times are an approximation. What a mess. Anyway... awaaay we go:
1 Gal Homogenized Milk
1 Pint Ultra-Pasteurized Heavy Cream
1/4 tsp CaCl (in 1/4 cup boiled, cooled water)
1/4 tsp Double Strength Vegetable Rennet (in 1/4 cup boiled, cooled water)
1 oz Mesophilic Starter (homemade)
1 oz Penicillium Roqueforti Inoculum (homemade)
-0:30 - Warmed milk and cream to 88F, thawed starters in ~1/2 cup of milk
0:00 - Added CaCl, stirred; added starters, stirred; added rennet, stirred for 45 seconds, and set timer for 90 minute ripening time
1:30 - Tested for a clean break -- passable, definitely set, but with a few little flecks and somewhat cloudy whey. Cut curd into 1/2" pieces and set timer for 30 minutes of rest
2:00 - Stirred curd, which was incredibly soft, but did maintain its integrity (barely). Bailed off about 1.5 cups of whey, set timer for 30 more minutes rest. Temperature had dropped to 87F, so turned burner on low for 3 minutes, bringing it back up to 89F
2:30 - Prepared to transfer curd to 4 4"x4" camembert molds to continue draining overnight. Temp back to 87F. At this point, curds had firmed up significantly, and had begun to knit together. Stirred gently to break apart, and ladled into molds. Very easy going (after my last experience with camembert, where curds were shooting through the holes in the mold).
That's where I'm at so far. Should really go to sleep, instead of sitting up listening to the drip-drip-drip of whey expulsion. Cheesemaking.com talks about the trick with stilton being to have the curds dry out at the same time they reach the correct acidity -- little chance of that without knowing what the correct dryness is, and having no method to check acidity. So, instead, I'll just hope, and try to go on the texture, and maybe the taste of the curds (that must be how they did it before pH meters, right?).
I'll attach a few somewhat blurry pics of the curds in progress, as well.
Hmm... it's been a while since I put them in those hoops... maybe I should give them a flip before I crash.