Author Topic: Stilton #1: Baby Size, Double Cream  (Read 3325 times)

Offline mako

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Stilton #1: Baby Size, Double Cream
« on: March 17, 2009, 03:25:30 AM »
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:

Ingredients:
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)

Process:
-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.


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Offline John (CH)

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Re: Stilton #1: Baby Size, Double Cream
« Reply #1 on: March 17, 2009, 07:30:44 AM »
makkonen, sounds and looks great :)!

Keep us updated with your next steps today, are you going to mill and salt make into one larger Stilton of surface salt or brine and leave as 4 small baby Stiltons?

Offline mako

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Re: Stilton #1: Baby Size, Double Cream
« Reply #2 on: March 17, 2009, 08:50:09 PM »
Well, I split the difference. This morning I removed the molds, and cut each round up into 16 pieces, and spread those out to keep them drying off. Then, this evening, I "milled" the curds, sort of, just by breaking each cube up with my hands into a bowl. Added 1 Tbsp kosher salt, and mixed in with my hand. The curds were still quite soft, and I got a little cream cheesy residue on my hands and the bowl, but nothing too dire. Then I moved them to 2 of the 4" molds. Definitely left lots of voids for blue mold to grow -- too many, quite likely, as the bottom didn't really want to level out and I had to apply a little hand pressure after flipping. Probably could've fit the curds all into one mold, but I don't like when stiltons look too tall and top-heavy, so I went safe. Plus, this way I can get more practice with smoothing, or try 2 different methods for affinage.

And in response to your private message, John, the amount of mesophilic starter did seem low, but I was going by the broad strokes of the Schmidling recipe, which called for 1/4 cup for 2 gallons, along with a 90 minute ripening time. It seemed to work out fine, although I probably could up the dosage and not have to wait so long to cut -- I don't know what the benefit of a long, slow acidification would be in this case. Once I have some good pH stats for it, varying amount of culture could be used to get the curds dry and properly acidified at the same time, I guess. But that's something for the future.

Offline mako

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Re: Stilton #1: Baby Size, Double Cream
« Reply #3 on: March 17, 2009, 11:31:56 PM »
OK, after 90 minutes of turning every 15 minutes, and 2 more flips at 1 hour intervals, here's about how they look. Kinda heavy on the irregular holes, but I think it'll be ok (if perhaps a bit more blue-like and less stilton-like -- but hey, that's what the icing spatula's for).

Also, I notice the craft mats don't wick away nearly as much moisture as bamboo would... not sure it's a problem, but it is different.

Offline John (CH)

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Re: Stilton #1: Baby Size, Double Cream
« Reply #4 on: March 18, 2009, 05:46:18 AM »
makkonen, look great, thanks for reply on starter culture, good luck with smoothing . . . . also thanks for the detailed records, always helps in deciphering hows yours turns out versus others including mine ;D.



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Offline Likesspace

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Re: Stilton #1: Baby Size, Double Cream
« Reply #5 on: March 18, 2009, 07:48:45 PM »
Makkonen...
The cheese looks great and the open texture is exactly what you want when making a Stilton.
You blue mold will love the open texture and as you said.....the smoothing knife will give you a nice rind to protect the cheese.
One suggestion I will give you....
Age this sucker as long as you can stand to.
The cheese will taste good at four weeks........great at eight weeks and beyond your wildest dreams at 12 weeks.
I always make 4" diameter Stiltons and 12 weeks is the longest I've let one age.
You want the final cheese to have a fairly "hard" texture (sort of like a young parmesan or cheddar), but it should also still have a very creamy mouth feel.
Another thing that is VERY important is to make sure the cheese can breathe.
I simply put my Stilton's on a bamboo mat in the cave and put a tupperware container upside down, over it. This keeps the humidity nice and high while allowing an exchange of air. Without this exchange the Stilton can melt and you REALLY don't want this to happen. :-)
This is without a doubt my favortie homemade cheese to eat and it's also a lot of fun to make.
Good luck and keep us updated on your progress.

Dave

Offline mako

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Re: Stilton #1: Baby Size, Double Cream
« Reply #6 on: March 18, 2009, 08:21:31 PM »
Well, I'm probably jumping the gun here... but I couldn't wait, and they looked so firm and happy, so I smoothed them today. Went really easy... warm tap water and a table knife (didn't need an icing spatula for these little guys), and they softened up and spackled in without much fuss. No curds getting knocked out. I'm really glad I watched the making-of video; the visualization of the method really gave me a good starting point. Although watching that also confirms that my curds were waaay too wet during processing -- if I'd tried to toss them like that while salting, I just would've gotten a big clump flying out of my bowl.

(Note to self: Next time, drain in a bag with a little weight. This volume of curds just isn't heavy enough to dry out sufficiently. Who cares if the PDO rules say it's gotta be unpressed, it's not like I'm using milk from the Vale of Belvoir, either.)

Hopefully smoothing this early on doesn't trap too much whey inside.

(Overexposed and not very informative) pix after smoothing the first, and after smoothing both.

Offline John (CH)

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Re: Stilton #1: Baby Size, Double Cream
« Reply #7 on: March 19, 2009, 07:26:34 AM »
Mak, them two little guys look great!

While in those videos, they don't use weights, to be fair, they are huge cheeses that they are turning and thus I believe the weight of the cheese is self pressing. Like you, on my last blue I didn't press my cut curds, just gravity drained them. I think next time I'm going to press them, lightly as my curds after salting and before forming were much moister than in those videos.

Thanks for the story on these!

Offline Cartierusm

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Re: Stilton #1: Baby Size, Double Cream
« Reply #8 on: March 20, 2009, 06:32:00 PM »
They look like little Camemberts.  ;D
Life is like a box of chocolates sometimes too much rennet makes you kill people.

Offline mako

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Re: Stilton #1: Baby Size, Double Cream
« Reply #9 on: March 20, 2009, 07:42:52 PM »
Let's hope the blue mold takes hold and they start to... not look like that. Couple more days, I guess.

I just commented on the cheesy smell coming off them, and my girlfriend took a whiff and said 'they sort of smell like sourdough.'

I'm gonna hope she's wrong on that.


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Offline mako

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Re: Stilton #1: Baby Size, Double Cream
« Reply #10 on: March 21, 2009, 04:28:03 PM »
Huzzah. First flecks of blue mold appeared today. Hopefully they'll have made some real progress by tomorrow, and it'll go into the caverator.

Offline John (CH)

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Re: Stilton #1: Baby Size, Double Cream
« Reply #11 on: March 22, 2009, 05:06:49 AM »
I also use bit of store bought blue cheese as an innoculum, doesn't take long does it, blue is one strong and visual mold!

Offline mako

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« Reply #12 on: March 22, 2009, 05:09:57 PM »
Well, I had worried about the warm, moist ripening process. At 5 days, blue mold developing nicely, and I flipped them to see a few little maggots crawling around on the underside. I don't know whether they were the result of the moisture trapped between the mat and the cheese, or just the temperature/humidity/lack of protective covering.

Though I'd like to eat Casu marzu sometime, I'm not thrilled about making something like it myself.

I feel so old-world. Also kinda bummed.

Offline John (CH)

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Re: Stilton #1: Baby Size, Double Cream
« Reply #13 on: March 22, 2009, 07:01:35 PM »
Yikes to put it lightly!!!!

I have never ever had that, this is all wrong, frankly toss it and clean everything fastidiously.

Given my non-experience, some questions:
  • What type of milk and cream did you use? Store bought pasteurized/homogenized?
  • What was the source of your homemade meso starter and how make it?
  • What was the source of your homemade innoculum, ie how old a blue cheese?
  • How warm did you keep the cheese after making vs recipe recommended temperature?
  • I can't understand how bugs would be able to grow that fast?
Hope others can help here as I'm outside my comfort zone/experience on this!

Lastly, a picture would be nice for us to see and identify the critters in the future in case any other member has this problem.

Offline Worlock

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Re: Stilton #1: Baby Size, Double Cream
« Reply #14 on: March 22, 2009, 07:20:05 PM »
Does the wet, un pressed look of it maybe lend itself to this type of infestation?  (I ask because I'm completely clueless, only wondering, not accusing)