Author Topic: Tomme Cheese Making Recipe  (Read 50394 times)

Offline linuxboy

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Tomme Cheese Making Recipe
« on: June 14, 2009, 01:17:41 AM »
This is for a classic tomme style cheese using cow or goat or sheep milk or a blend.
  • Warm 2 gallons milk (17.2 pounds) to 88 degrees F
  • add 1/4 tsp MA4000
  • Ripen for 30 mins at 88 F. pH should decrease slightly (.02+)
  • If needed, add CaCl2 diluted in cold water
  • Add .8 ml double strength rennet dissolved in 1/4 cup distilled water, stir up and down 15 strokes (4-5 ml double strength per 100 lbs milk, convert according to your rennet activity)
  • Wait for flocculation, multiply by 3 to get total set time from the time you added rennet. Time to floc target is 15 minutes. Use more or less to try and hit the target the next time if you're off a little.
  • Cut into 1/4 inch cubes, let rest 5 mins
  • Stir and increase temp to 100 F over 30 mins. Hold at 100F until the curd is at the right texture. You can tell this by pressing a tablespoon of curd in your hand. It should mat together slightly and be somewhat firm.
  • Drain in vat or warm colander. pH should be 6.35 or higher. Let curds mat and press slightly under whey.
  • Put into cheesecloth lined molds. This cheese sticks, so soak the cheesecloth in pH 5.2 whey beforehand.
  • Press under own weight turning at 15 min, 30 min, and 1 hour increments.
  • Press until pH is 5.4 or overnight.
  • Brine in fully saturated brine 3-4 hours per lb of cheese.
  • Leave at 55-65 degrees for a day at ~70% RH for the outer rind to dry a little before moving to the cave.
  • Age 3-6 months at 50-55F, 85-92% RH (or higher if using special rind treatment or making a b linens variant). Natural or oil rubbed rind.


To help with natural rind development, you can use Micodore, Mycoderm, Geo, b linens, Micrococci, etc or a complex surface culture mix like PLA from Danisco. I like to follow a similar rind maintenance schedule as with gruyere and other natural rind cheeses: wipe/scrub down every day for 3 days, every other day for 4-5 days, then twice a week for 1-2 weeks, and then weekly and as needed maintenance. Washing initially helps to introduce culture and prepare the rind, then is used for control.

This cheese should have a relatively high (relative to other meso cheeses, similar to alpine styles) mineral content, meaning that calcium phosphate will not be degraded, and whey drain pH will be high (6.3+). This results in the curd sticking to each other and matting quickly. If you settle under whey too long, you will have a wheel already formed. Suggestion is to use a pot with the same diameter as the mold so you can plop it right in to the mold.

For a washed curd tomme, follow the process through cutting, healing, but raise heat much more slowly for the first 15 mins. Target 92F, and stir gently for those 15 mins. The whey should separate enough to where you can draw off enough whey to equal 1/3 of the total milk amount. Before you draw it off, heat a volume of water that is 1/3 of the milk amount to 130F. Drain off the whey and add the heated water in two stages. Add the first half and stir gently for 5-10 mins until the curd firms up a little more. Then add the second half. Your final temp should be the same as with a normal tomme, right around 100F. Do not heat to the high end of mesophilic (105). You do not want acid production to be that fast. If concerned about temp, add the heated water in three stages so you hit 100F. Then stir the curds until they are the right texture, as noted above in the list.

I wrote up a more detailed explanation here http://www.wacheese.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=49:basic-tomme-howto&catid=43:moderate-cook-temp&Itemid=66

I am working on a detailed howto for different rind treatments. If anyone is having troubles please PM or e-mail me and I'll try to help.
« Last Edit: March 28, 2011, 09:47:44 AM by linuxboy »
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Offline FRANCOIS

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Re: Tomme Cheese Making Recipe
« Reply #1 on: June 14, 2009, 02:53:56 PM »
Just a suggestion....to my taste I have always preferred a washed curd tomme.  It's less acidic, more plastic bodied and I have always found it to bring out the nuttiness of the milk.  To wash you simply remove 1/3 of the whey before heating the curd to 100F and replace that whey with 135F water (raising total temp to about 100F).  The rest of the recipe is the same.  I'm thrilled to see someone else using floculation, I have had heated ebates in the "industry" about this.  Automation and large scale production seems intent on making everything set times, but with varaible milk supply (like here in NZ) it's impossible to do that and get consistent result.  With that said 3 is a great multiplier for Tomme, most of the time.  If your wheels can't hold their shape cut the multiplier in half and go from there.  If you make the cheese often you can try and extend the multiplier and see how far you can go to get the ideal mositure content of the curd.

Good luck.

Offline linuxboy

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Re: Tomme Cheese Making Recipe
« Reply #2 on: June 14, 2009, 06:35:53 PM »
Some great ideas. Thanks!

As another option, I also like this cheese with a washed rind. For example, a wash made from a malty beer adds a tasty dimension and contributes yeast to the rind microflora. Or add a nutty ale in with the curds during the make.

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Offline Missy Greene

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Re: Tomme Cheese Making Recipe
« Reply #3 on: December 28, 2009, 08:11:26 PM »
Hi Folks,
 I'm new on the site..wondering how yur Tommes came out.  I am just now making my first goat milk tomme. Would love to hear your results.
Thanks, Missy

Offline iratherfly

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Re: Tomme Cheese Making Recipe
« Reply #4 on: January 24, 2010, 12:32:33 PM »
Thanks Linuxboy and Francois, I have been having hard time figuring out Peter Dixon's cryptic recipes and the missing steps and quantities in Jim Wallace's step-by-step instruction for Tomme Au Marc (I was going to do that, minus the Marc part). It's good to finally find a basic and clear formula for Tomme. I am going to do this today with the curd washing suggestion.

- How do you age it after brining? Just put it in the cave (in my case, a 55F humid wine refrigerator) , or do you let it dry on a board for 3-5 days?
- How do you wash it with Ale? Do you just brush the surface with it and dry it? When do you do that? How many times and in what intervals?
- When do you rub with oil? Should I re-oil it after each Ale wash?


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Offline FRANCOIS

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Re: Tomme Cheese Making Recipe
« Reply #5 on: January 24, 2010, 01:38:40 PM »
For oiled and beer washed rinds, it's important to get a firm clean rind on the cheese before starting treatments.  If you apply either too early to a low pH rind that still has free moisture you risk yeast problems on the rind.

I would dry the cheese for a few days at 60-70% RH and no more than 60F if you can.  Be careful not to crack the rind by leaving it in too long or in too low RH.

Then you can oil the rind.  Just wipe on the first coat.  I used to reapply when the rind was noticeably drier.

For beer, there are many ways to do it, but a rind washed with beer is simply just wiping it down with a beer soaked rag.  My aging regimen is 1x daily for 1 week, then every other day for two weeks, then every 3 days 3 weeks then weekly after that, or as needed to keep molds down.

You can also bath the cheese in beer (be sure to add CaCl and salt), dry it  then vacuum bag it.  This is how drunken goat is made.

Offline iratherfly

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Re: Tomme Cheese Making Recipe
« Reply #6 on: January 24, 2010, 05:15:57 PM »
Thanks Francois, as always very helpful.  On my way to making this cheese now!
As far as bathing the cheese in beer - I assume this would be done after the rind has formed for the first few days and then I dry it again. Vacuum packing would surely mean limited growth of mold and no beer or brine wiping or salt rubbing. I also assume that after 2-3 months i will have to open the vacuum and dry the cheese further for a few days before ready to eat - am I correct?

Not related to the above; Right now the only Mesophilic I have left here is the mystery Meso of New England Cheesemaking which they call Mesophilic (DS) C101 - I hope it's as good as the MA4000, MA4001 and MA4002. (Contents: s.lactis, s.cremoris, maltodextrin. I have had good results using it with farmhouse Cheddars). I have Flora Danica but it seems very wrong for this cheese.  My other option is to add Choozit MD89 which I have - it will give me some eye formation but maybe will result in over-buttery cheese? Any preference or opinion?

Lastly, something that have been "bothering" me for a while (see my post about pH meters earlier today). How do I measure the pH level of harder cheese? My Henna Checker (seems like everyone's favorite around here) is made to dip 1" in liquids - How do you do it?

Offline FRANCOIS

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Re: Tomme Cheese Making Recipe
« Reply #7 on: January 24, 2010, 05:32:32 PM »
The bathed cheese is just that...you let the cheese float in the solution for 3-5 days (or more if you are looking for robust flavor and are willing to gamble with your rind) after an initial rind has formed.  After that you dry it and bag it.  let it age 3-4 months then eat.

Offline iratherfly

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Re: Tomme Cheese Making Recipe
« Reply #8 on: January 24, 2010, 06:43:45 PM »
Thanks. Yes, I suppose though I need to let it dry nicely between beer and vacuum.

Any idea about my mesophilic option and my pH testing question?

By the way, I need to thank you for turning me into flocculation timing a few times ago. Much better!

Offline FRANCOIS

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Re: Tomme Cheese Making Recipe
« Reply #9 on: January 24, 2010, 07:20:08 PM »
LL and LC should be comparable to the MA series.  It's also the old Rosell Thermo III.

I am not familiar with that pH meter, so can't comment.


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Offline DeejayDebi

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Re: Tomme Cheese Making Recipe
« Reply #10 on: January 24, 2010, 10:10:37 PM »
Sounds like some good ideas guys - I have taken carful notes. Thanks!

Offline iratherfly

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Re: Tomme Cheese Making Recipe
« Reply #11 on: January 25, 2010, 01:53:39 AM »
Wow, that was a weird experience. I used fresh milk, fresh cultures, rennet and CalCl. I didn't have the double-strength rennet so I used regular liquid animal rennet, 1/2 tsp per 2 gal (diluted in 10 tsp filtered water). I even assured that the milk got its .2pH drop during the 30 min ripening cycle at temp. I did the whole thing with the turning bowl to figure out flocculation time and I got it at 18 min. I waited 36 additional minutes and... messy curd! It took two more hours at 88F to get a lumpy curd somewhat going, but still no real clean break.

This is the first time I make cheese with homogenized supermarket milk and even though I used the happy no-hormone cow's milk from Whole Foods, I would have to assume that this is the source of trouble. Beyond the violent homogenization and pressurization processes, it seems you cannot even get organic milk these days without the idiotic addition of Vitamin A and/or D to it. (is this some kind of law?) Anyway, if you think you know what went wrong - please do share.

Eventually I just gave up and cut the weak curd. After mixing it about 10 gentle turns the curds were at roughly rice size. Frustrated, I removed 1/3 of the whey, added rennet and even more CalCl and continued with the cooking (adding hot water). As weak as this curd was, by some miracle I got 4 lbs. of it into my Tomme mold (out of 2 Gallons). I used a 5Lbs weight to press it and the curd seem to mat together. I increased the weight by accident on the 30 minute cycle and the cheese was rapidly turning into Pita flatbread. I hope that I didn't kill the cheese completely by making it short and dense now (approx 2.25"x7.5"). It is now spending its first night in a 76F room at 40% RH in the mold+cheesecloth with 5Lbs weight on the follower. Do you think I should have a do-over with the good milk from my farmer? or does this sound normal? I mean, this recipe starts like a million other cheeses where the milk easily curds to a clean break. Why didn't this one?

Offline FRANCOIS

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Re: Tomme Cheese Making Recipe
« Reply #12 on: January 25, 2010, 04:27:47 AM »
Generally for this type of recipe a mush curd can be traced to the following sources:
-pH drop insufficient during ripening, I have found that even expensive pH meters need constant calibration
-temperature too low during ripening and set, even 2 degrees is critical for meso cultures.
-excessive stirring after rennet addition, this is especially true with goat milk

I would also check that the rennt amount was correct.  Other than that, it could just be a fluke.  Even the best cheesemakers have off makes.

Offline linuxboy

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Re: Tomme Cheese Making Recipe
« Reply #13 on: January 25, 2010, 09:58:47 AM »
Was the milk normal pasteurized or ultrapasteurized? A lot of the organic or no-hormone milk at Whole Foods is ultrapasteurized.
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Offline iratherfly

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Re: Tomme Cheese Making Recipe
« Reply #14 on: January 25, 2010, 12:24:59 PM »
Thanks you guys!
Francois: It must have been a fluke. I was vigilant about the temperature and actually initially overshot it it at 90.6F instead of 88 and cooled it back down to a reasonable 89. It was 88F when I added the rennet.  This recipe calls for .4ml double-strength rennet and I used my single strength per the instructions on the bottle - 1/2 tsp (2.5ml?) diluted in 20x water. I add it gently; sprinkling the water in a spiral direction and then top stir a few motion and do about 10 more motions up and down the pot with a slotted spoon. I am still new to the pH meter but it did give me the .2pH drop.

Linuxboy: Yes, I am weary of the ultra pasteurization in "organic" milk brands like Horizon and Organic Valley and stay away from it. This was supposed to be regular pasteurized and also tasted like such. Do you think that their addition of vitamin A and D could be an issue?

In any event, it's been 12 hours and I have a nice looking cheese that is ready to brine. The pH level dropped to 5.15 though. Is that way too low?