Author Topic: Tomme Cheese Making Recipe  (Read 51776 times)

Offline linuxboy

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Re: Tomme Cheese Making Recipe
« Reply #15 on: January 25, 2010, 12:52:43 PM »
I doubt the vitamin addition made a difference. Your temps seem fine to me. Did you dilute the rennet in distilled, cold water, and add it right away, or did you dilute and let it sit out for a while? Rennet can degrade if left sitting in water or if the water is chlorinated or has high mineral content. The rest of your steps seem OK. Maybe it was just the milk. How much CaCl2 did you add?

Sometimes, it just doesn't work like expected even if you do everything right.

5.15 is a tad low, but still above the 4.9-5.0 threshold where a tomme stops developing a pleasant nuttiness. I try to target 5.3 or 5.4 for tomme and then brine it. What was your whey drain pH when you pressed under the whey?

Tomme is basically an alpine variant, most often made with a meso culture. It grew out of a similar area as, say, an abondance. But the key differences are it's not cooked to as high of a temp, the whey drain is a touch lower to have a balance between plasticity and crumbliness, it's more moist (higher floc multiplier), and the acidity is allowed to develop after pressing to help preserve it, as there's no propionic, or if there is, it doesn't grow well because the wheel is cellared quickly and not left to ripen.

So whereas with a high-heat alpine style you target a higher end pH before brining, a tomme will tolerate a lower pH. But the key is to achieve a pre-brine pH that is a balance between acid development and calcium content (more acid = lower pH = less calcium). This point in cheese is about 5.4. It's a great tradeoff among sliceability, meltability, flavor, etc.

The commercial tommes vary significantly in terms of paste/body, so I wouldn't worry about it. Your cheese will still be good :)
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Offline Missy Greene

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Re: Tomme Cheese Making Recipe
« Reply #16 on: January 28, 2010, 10:00:20 AM »
I also have a tomme in process(goat milk) I am wondering if you want to make a Tomme aux herbes, when would you add the herbs so that they stick, and then i guess you would forgo washing the rind??? or are the herbes presssed in somehow after the rind has been treated a bit???? Also what is the deal with "bagging" the cheese? I see that Francoise brought that up with the Drunken Goat, in the new book O @00 easy cheeses... ther is the recipe which I hav just made, but no mention of bagging it,, comments most appreciated!!

Offline FRANCOIS

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Re: Tomme Cheese Making Recipe
« Reply #17 on: January 28, 2010, 01:45:32 PM »
All of those methods will work to some extent.  You can line the mold with herbs, mix the herbs with the curd, dunk in brine and roll in herbs, soak the herbs in wine and roll the cheese in them... many variations are possible.  It is possible to pat the rind down with herbs on it, you just need to be careful. You could also vacuum bag the cheese, but this is no guarantee of keeping the rind mold/yeast free unless you can flush with nitrogen.

Offline iratherfly

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Re: Tomme Cheese Making Recipe
« Reply #18 on: January 29, 2010, 12:48:31 AM »
Thanks for all this useful info Linuxboy. I am still new to pH readings and so far it has thrown me into more confusion than help. I don't know if my readings are proper or accurate and if I do it in the right time. I still feel it's wierd to stick a ph meter .5" deep into a curd of otherwise-beautiful cheese to find out its pH. I don't think reading the whey will give me the same results. I also made a brine and tried for 2 hours to raise its pH level to 5+. I dilluted with more water and CalCl but to no avail - I was stuck around 3.7 and 3.9. Without a pH meter I would probably just have trusted that 1 cup of kosher salt to 4.5 cups of filtered water would give me the right 22.5% brine. Add half tsp CalCl and a few drops of vinagar and I am done. Now this wrong pH thing renders me paranoid. What would you do? Add more CalCl? Dilute more of the salt with water?
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Offline linuxboy

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Re: Tomme Cheese Making Recipe
« Reply #19 on: January 29, 2010, 01:11:49 AM »
For proper and accurate readings, you need to maintain the probe by keeping it in a solution of KCl so it doesn't dry up, and calibrate before using.

Assuming you do that, let's think through the pH issue together. pH is about acid of base ions in solution (H+ or OH-). To change pH, you add OH- (a base) to raise it, or add H+ (an acid) to lower it.  If you added too much vinegar, you need to neutralize it with a base or buffer. One easy option is baking soda. A more classic option is sodium or potassium hydroxide (lye).

If my pH was too low, I would raise it with a base dissolved in solution. You are right, target a brine that has a pH about the same as the cheese. A pH of 5.2 is often used as a great starting point.

CaCl2 is for the calcium balance. This is because you don't want to pull calcium out of the curd. It does little for the pH.  Diluting with water helps a little, but what you really need is to adjust the H+ balance.  Next time, one approach you could take is adding a little vinegar at a time and thoroughly stirring until you get to the right pH.
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Offline iratherfly

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Re: Tomme Cheese Making Recipe
« Reply #20 on: January 29, 2010, 01:31:17 AM »
Thanks again Linuxboy. It's a relief knowing someone can take me through that.

So raising the pH is as easy as adding baking soda? and the Sodium Bicarbonate won't affect the cheese? Fantastic! I really only put a few drops of vinegar, less than 1/4 tsp per quart so I don't understand the pH spike. I have dilluted it to 2 quarts by adding the same of everything except the vinegar and the pH only dropped .2

I do have an issue with calibration and storage of the probe. The instrument didn't come with any accessories to do this, aside for a small rubber cap for the last .25" of the probe which they say I should fill with solution and close it on the probe to keep it stored wet. Seems in reality that that 1/4 tsp capacity will evaporate after a day or spill if I put the pH meter at any non-upright position. Are you suppose to fill up some test tube with solution and drop the probe into it all the way just below the electrical connectors? Is that how you store it?

The package also didn't include any 10.01 or 4.01 solutions so perhaps my thing is miscalibrated altogether which may be the source for all of my problems.

Lastly, I am still not too clear about checking a cheese the morning after. I can't possibly stick the probe in the curd or take curd samples out. I don't believe that measuring the whey from the draining board under the cheese would give me an accurate identical reading for the curd from which it came. How do you do that?

Offline linuxboy

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Re: Tomme Cheese Making Recipe
« Reply #21 on: January 29, 2010, 12:42:53 PM »
Quote
So raising the pH is as easy as adding baking soda? and the Sodium Bicarbonate won't affect the cheese?

It has the effect of raising the pH. Soda is a buffer, and will neutralize the acid. The more "correct" way to raise pH is to add hydoxide. The bicarbonate will add a little sodium to the cheese, so you will need less salt. But the amount is so small, that it not material.

Quote
Fantastic! I really only put a few drops of vinegar, less than 1/4 tsp per quart so I don't understand the pH spike. I have dilluted it to 2 quarts by adding the same of everything except the vinegar and the pH only dropped .2

Eh, I think your meter is off. You need to do a multi-point calibration and clean it
Quote
I do have an issue with calibration and storage of the probe. The instrument didn't come with any accessories to do this, aside for a small rubber cap for the last .25" of the probe which they say I should fill with solution and close it on the probe to keep it stored wet. Seems in reality that that 1/4 tsp capacity will evaporate after a day or spill if I put the pH meter at any non-upright position.

Yes, it will. I store my pH probes upright in 7 solution or a KCl solution. Works fine.

Quote
Are you suppose to fill up some test tube with solution and drop the probe into it all the way just below the electrical connectors? Is that how you store it?
You could, but I just store the probes upright and let gravity do the work.
Quote
The package also didn't include any 10.01 or 4.01 solutions so perhaps my thing is miscalibrated altogether which may be the source for all of my problems.

I suspect this is the case. I do not trust single point calibrations. When calibrating, your calibration solution should be as close to the sample you're measuring as possible.
Quote
Lastly, I am still not too clear about checking a cheese the morning after. I can't possibly stick the probe in the curd or take curd samples out.

Why not? Also, why not reserve some curd from the batch and use that for measurement?
Quote
I don't believe that measuring the whey from the draining board under the cheese would give me an accurate identical reading for the curd from which it came. How do you do that?

It will not. But, I rarely measure the pH after the make for tomme because I know how it should look and feel. Also, by that time, there's not much I can do to fix problems. I pay very close attention to cooking and drain pH and pre-brine pH. I measure a reserved curd sample and once in a while will measure cheese wheel pH directly.

For aged cheeses, if I'm doing quality control, I puree and emulsify after taking a sample with a cheese trier.
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Offline iratherfly

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Re: Tomme Cheese Making Recipe
« Reply #22 on: January 31, 2010, 02:25:22 AM »
Perfect Linuxboy, you seem to have answered all of my questions about the pH measuring. Still new to this equipment.
Just one thing - the reason I do not want to stick a probe in the cheese the morning after is simply to avoid making a puncture hole in an otherwise perfect new cheese. The probe is thick enough so that it never heals.  Taking a sample curd and put it on the side to measure in the morning next to the cheese is a good idea, but pressing cheese accelerate acid production and if the curd I reserve on the side is not pressed, I suspect it won't give me a reading identical to that of the main cheese. Don't you think?

Going to try another Tomme today (also time to start washing the previous one in beer). This time I am using less pressure and much better quality un-homogenized milk. Will follow your recipe to the teeth. I am going to add a pinch of MD89 to my meso to get small eyes and buttery flavor. I think my Meso is MM100.

Offline iratherfly

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Re: Tomme Cheese Making Recipe
« Reply #23 on: February 01, 2010, 03:01:31 AM »
Hmmm... Just made it per your recipe. Everything went perfect (which confirms that last week's milk was just wierd).  At least is was perfect until the post-colander part.
It seems the matting was so strong that it began to form a shape in the colander after only 5 minutes of draining. As I moved it to the Tomme mold I had to break the curd down to shape it like Tomme and then re-matted it under light pressure I am now stuck with a very rough surface full of caves and deep holes. I suspect this won't mature well as It won't develop proper rind and will probably be molds galore. The light press almost didn't do anything so I doubled it to 10Lbs. (still not much for a 7.5" Tomme mold) , but as I attempt to press and smooth the surface, I get the same short cheese of last week. It's a bit less than 2" high (the mold is 4" x 7.5"). Should I increase weight? (I mean, this seems like it's half a cheddar already).
How can I smooth the surface? I am afraid this is getting too late to try  ???

Offline linuxboy

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Re: Tomme Cheese Making Recipe
« Reply #24 on: February 01, 2010, 09:47:18 AM »
Oh, sorry, in converting this from a large vat batch to a small vat batch, I omitted some tips to make a better cheese. The way you can get a better surface is to use a pot that is the same diameter as your mold. Press under whey in the pot, and the wheel will already be formed by the time it goes in to the mold.

The other way is to take the curd mass, put it in the mold, reserve the whey, and then put the mold into a container, and pour the whey back in. Then press the mold in the whey, flipping repeatedly over the first half hour to get a smooth rind. Then drain the whey and press as normal.

If you have to mill a little to get it in the mold, you need to press with more weight to get a more even surface. This will not necessarily make your cheese drier. It's the flocculation and curd size that determine moisture more.

Also, flip frequently, this helps with getting a smooth surface. You can increase weight a little to help with the surface.

And with a normal 7-8" tomme mold, you should use 4 gallons of cow's milk to get a more traditional shape.

If you're worried about molds, you can try using a natural mold inhibitor like cayenne or cinnamon. Rub it in the rind, then do an oil/spice rind treatment.
« Last Edit: February 01, 2010, 10:06:18 AM by linuxboy »
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Offline Missy Greene

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Re: Tomme Cheese Making Recipe
« Reply #25 on: February 01, 2010, 10:09:40 AM »
I had the same results today. My first tomme which I fed to the chickens had a coarse surface, the second one has a lovely smooth surface, and the one I started brining last night has a coarse surface. I wonder if it has to do with the amount of stirring during the temp increase?? it is not clear how much stirring to do.... wouldn't too much stilling and braking up of those matted curds release too much whey and give a coarser surface?? How much stirring would your recommend??? I am going to try another one today and try to be more observant of that stage. Also, I can only do one at a time so have been using 2-5lb weights on top of a cutting board.....
Tried my crottin last night but that is another subject..see you there.
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Offline linuxboy

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Re: Tomme Cheese Making Recipe
« Reply #26 on: February 01, 2010, 10:20:08 AM »
Another idea you could try is after taking a chunk of curd, knead it into the mold, especially the edges. This helps with the initial distribution of the curd and pressing helps to produce the smooth surface.
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Offline Missy Greene

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Re: Tomme Cheese Making Recipe
« Reply #27 on: February 01, 2010, 11:30:34 AM »
Will give it a try and let you know. Thanks Missy

Offline iratherfly

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Re: Tomme Cheese Making Recipe
« Reply #28 on: February 01, 2010, 02:33:00 PM »
Thanks! I did break up the curd but I didn't want to overdo it and mill it (though I could have turned it into nice Comte or Cheddar at that point quite easily!). I felt a bit dumb about it because frankly my colander wasn't way off the size of the mold and I could have just kept the same curd and be done with it. Oh well, next time.

I ended up pressing overnight at 25Lbs turning/redressing at the 6th hour. Off the press in the next 40 minutes, ready for immediate brining.
Yes, these molds do need more milk but I was hoping for a 2.5" height. this just means lots of rind and less curd in the final product. I also assume that due to this size I can probably age it in as little as 6-8 weeks as long as I treat the rind nicely.

In the meantime, a week has passed and I began washing the curd of the previous Tomme with an incredible Belgian ale I found at Whole Foods called Duchesse de Bourgogne. It's an unfiltered tart and sweet ale that is sold in a Cava style bottle with cork. It has notes of currents and apples, with rich brown-red caramel color. I think it would make for an incredible cheese. Think of a cross between beer washing, brandy washing and drunken goat treatment.

Last concern; I also made a batch of mini goat's Camemberts this weekend. I need to set my cave back to 55F for the next 8 days. Probably will slow down the week-old Tomme just a tad. But can I mature my new Tomme in this low temp during its first few days? It will probably be dry and ready to age in 36-48 hours from now.

Offline linuxboy

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Re: Tomme Cheese Making Recipe
« Reply #29 on: February 05, 2010, 01:22:00 PM »
55F is a good temp for tomme, and most other cheeses. It does well with a slow and steady maturation. I like my tommes when they have a good balance of nuttiness and sharpness, which is a minimum of 6 months at 50-60F. I like humidity to be in the low 90s.
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