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.