Author Topic: what's an easy semi-hard, meso cheese for a beginner?  (Read 2684 times)

Offline fredthecat

  • Medium Cheese
  • ***
  • Posts: 42
  • Cheeses: 2
what's an easy semi-hard, meso cheese for a beginner?
« on: February 12, 2015, 07:47:30 PM »
Hi, I've finally got some meso culture after making two successful basic thermo farmhouse cheeses. I want to try to follow a style for this next cheese. What's a semi-hard to hard cheese with a process that is not too intimidating or requires a lot of extra material? I could brine if its not difficult as i have tons of high quality salt. My milk is basic non-uht milk...is a gouda a good choice for what im looking for? I have pretty primitive pressing at the moment.



Offline Stinky

  • Old Cheese
  • *****
  • Location: California
  • Posts: 1,058
  • Cheeses: 78
Re: what's an easy semi-hard, meso cheese for a beginner?
« Reply #1 on: February 12, 2015, 09:40:46 PM »
With primitive pressing? Do Jack, all you need is two boards and something heavy.
It's probably a pathogen.

Offline Mermaid

  • Mature Cheese
  • ****
  • Location: Massachusetts
  • Posts: 193
  • Cheeses: 15
  • Default personal text
Re: what's an easy semi-hard, meso cheese for a beginner?
« Reply #2 on: February 12, 2015, 10:17:46 PM »
Tomme!

Offline Raw Prawn

  • Old Cheese
  • *****
  • Location: South Australia
  • Posts: 696
  • Cheeses: 102
  • Default personal text
Re: what's an easy semi-hard, meso cheese for a beginner?
« Reply #3 on: February 13, 2015, 03:29:33 AM »
Caerphilly and Double Gloucester are a couple of my favourites and fairly easy. Affinage time for Caerphilly is a big plus - ready to eat from about 3 weeks.
- Andrew

Offline qdog1955

  • Old Cheese
  • *****
  • Location: York, Pa. USA
  • Posts: 542
  • Cheeses: 46
  • Just because we can----doesn't mean we should
Re: what's an easy semi-hard, meso cheese for a beginner?
« Reply #4 on: February 13, 2015, 05:44:17 AM »
Not a semi-hard cheese, but a fresh cheese--try Queso Fresco---it uses meso and can be eaten almost right away---you can add fresh herbs, peepers and it melts nicely---here's a recipe----look it over-----  http://www.cheesemaking.com/QuesoFresco.html  and it doesn't need a bunch of special equipment.
Qdog
 
Worrying----is like sitting in a rocking chair---- a lot of motion-----but it gets you no where.

Offline WovenMeadows

  • Mature Cheese
  • ****
  • Location: Saranac, NY
  • Posts: 209
  • Cheeses: 6
  • Default personal text
Re: what's an easy semi-hard, meso cheese for a beginner?
« Reply #5 on: February 13, 2015, 06:56:58 AM »
I think gouda makes a good beginner cheese. It does involve "washing the curd" - removing some whey after cutting and replacing with water, but IMO its hard to mess up and is pretty easy to care for during aging, and can be eaten at many stages of age.

Offline fredthecat

  • Medium Cheese
  • ***
  • Posts: 42
  • Cheeses: 2
Re: what's an easy semi-hard, meso cheese for a beginner?
« Reply #6 on: February 13, 2015, 10:04:35 PM »
Thanks very much everyone! Sorry for the late reply. I just successfully (I think) finished a sour cream based mesophilic starter culture and stuck it in the freezer after 24 hours room temp. Gouda and jack are what I'm looking for, I think I'm going to give Jack a try. I'll follow the cheesemakingdotcom "jack cheese recipe" page? I'm looking to age it a month maybe and taste it so I can get a feel for how this mesophilic culture will work.

Thanks! I'll try to post a nice jack picture when I have one.


Offline qdog1955

  • Old Cheese
  • *****
  • Location: York, Pa. USA
  • Posts: 542
  • Cheeses: 46
  • Just because we can----doesn't mean we should
Re: what's an easy semi-hard, meso cheese for a beginner?
« Reply #7 on: February 14, 2015, 05:01:43 AM »
If you go the jack, Gouda route. Check out these tips from a member of this site---unfortunately I didn't save his name. They really improved my washed curd cheeses.
Qdog

  Here's what made my washed curd cheeses better over the years. They don't really mention these tips in most recipes:

*Whole milk is good, but you'll get a better result if you add a bit of partly skimmed milk to it. Aim for a Protein-to-Fat Ratio of 1.1:1 

* Know the exact amount of whey you drain and the exact amount of water you add. Don't eyeball it like they do in recipes. You'll need to have water at a precise temp before hand.

* Do the wash in 2 steps, taking note of time. ex.: raise to 95F in 5 mins. Stir 5 mins, then raise to 102F in 5 mins. you'll get a better control on the washing step this way.

* Careful not to scald the curds when adding water. So stir a little more vigorously when adding water, and only add small amounts at a time.

* Pressing under whey: This one took me time to figure out. I used to take the curds out and put them in the mould and then place the mould under whey and press 5lbs for 15-20 mins... it didn't work. For a near perfect paste every time, the curds simply CANNOT leave the whey for even half a second, otherwise you'll get some mechanical hole. So what I do now is I drain a bit of whey and then I simply add a pressing plate to the pot and add 5lbs (non buoyant) to it for 15-20 mins. Then drain. cut the curd mass in 1" pieces and place in mould for pressing. This is purely for aesthetic reasons.

* Pressing: don't press overnight. If you don't have a PH meter, then only press 4-8 hours.

* After pressing, leave the wheel in the mould without cloth and put it in the same area as the brine. Let the wheel reach the same temp as the brine before brining. The wheel shouldn'tacidify during this time. Brine between 10C and 16C.

* Aging: air-dry at 10C and age at 10C. You'll get mechanical holes at 12-13C especially if you used some MM100.

* Secret ingredient: L. Helviticus as a flavour control. Add a tiny amount to some MM100 or MA4001 plus some FD or Aroma B. (or you can simply use Choozit Kazu)
 
Worrying----is like sitting in a rocking chair---- a lot of motion-----but it gets you no where.

Offline Mermaid

  • Mature Cheese
  • ****
  • Location: Massachusetts
  • Posts: 193
  • Cheeses: 15
  • Default personal text
Re: what's an easy semi-hard, meso cheese for a beginner?
« Reply #8 on: February 14, 2015, 08:38:18 AM »
Why not press overnight?

Offline Al Lewis

  • Old Cheese
  • *****
  • Location: Port Orchard Washington
  • Posts: 3,282
  • Cheeses: 177
    • Lou's Food & Drink
Re: what's an easy semi-hard, meso cheese for a beginner?
« Reply #9 on: February 14, 2015, 12:36:32 PM »
Colby  One of the easiest cheeses I ever made and you don't have to wait a year to eat it. ;D
Making the World a Safer Place, One Cheese at a Time! My Food Blog and Videos

Offline qdog1955

  • Old Cheese
  • *****
  • Location: York, Pa. USA
  • Posts: 542
  • Cheeses: 46
  • Just because we can----doesn't mean we should
Re: what's an easy semi-hard, meso cheese for a beginner?
« Reply #10 on: February 15, 2015, 03:46:39 AM »
Those tips were from Anonymous and deserve credit---here's the link http://cheeseforum.org/forum/index.php/topic,13477.msg102711.html#msg102711
  Mermaid---I think the referral to overnight pressing means if you don't have a PH meter to monitor the acid, you run the danger of over acidifying your cheese.
Qdog
Worrying----is like sitting in a rocking chair---- a lot of motion-----but it gets you no where.

Offline qdog1955

  • Old Cheese
  • *****
  • Location: York, Pa. USA
  • Posts: 542
  • Cheeses: 46
  • Just because we can----doesn't mean we should
Re: what's an easy semi-hard, meso cheese for a beginner?
« Reply #11 on: February 15, 2015, 03:51:51 AM »
Al----wish I could say that about Colby---it has become my nemesis-------should be simple, but has failed every time >:(  Maybe we all have to have that one cheese that just eludes us :-\
Qdog
Worrying----is like sitting in a rocking chair---- a lot of motion-----but it gets you no where.

Offline Al Lewis

  • Old Cheese
  • *****
  • Location: Port Orchard Washington
  • Posts: 3,282
  • Cheeses: 177
    • Lou's Food & Drink
Re: what's an easy semi-hard, meso cheese for a beginner?
« Reply #12 on: February 15, 2015, 10:01:48 AM »
Well we all have one.  Mine is Emmentaler but I'm working on a plan to solve that riddle. :o
Making the World a Safer Place, One Cheese at a Time! My Food Blog and Videos

Offline fredthecat

  • Medium Cheese
  • ***
  • Posts: 42
  • Cheeses: 2
Re: what's an easy semi-hard, meso cheese for a beginner?
« Reply #13 on: February 15, 2015, 10:13:51 AM »
so made one big jack cheese today, it's pressing now. i really need to invest in some pressing technology. i unfortunately don't feel happy with how it's being pressed. i'm following the kind of free-weight on top of a clothed cheese suggested by cheesemaking.com.

oh well. hope it turns out. it's sort of a test for the mesophilic culture really.

Offline qdog1955

  • Old Cheese
  • *****
  • Location: York, Pa. USA
  • Posts: 542
  • Cheeses: 46
  • Just because we can----doesn't mean we should
Re: what's an easy semi-hard, meso cheese for a beginner?
« Reply #14 on: February 15, 2015, 10:19:58 AM »
It usually works---cheese might get a little lopsided----believe me a lot of us started out with less than perfect pressing equipment.
Qdog
Worrying----is like sitting in a rocking chair---- a lot of motion-----but it gets you no where.