Author Topic: Experiment - semi-d'Affinois - maybe, sort of - lots of pictures!  (Read 420 times)

Offline awakephd

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A friend here on the forum sent me some d'Affinois to try, a cheese I had not been familiar with before. It is made by one and only one company using a unique method - before adding any cultures or rennet, the milk is concentrated using "ultra-filtration" to remove much of the liquid while retaining the fat, calcium, and proteins. Then culture including PC and (I think) geo are added along with rennet, and it is put directly into the mold. It ripens in two weeks, and results in a thick, silky, creamy cheese. Search for "d'Affinois" on the internet and you will get many links with a basic description and taste; the following link provides a bit more information on how the cheese is made: Oxford Companion to Cheese.

I wondered if there would be any way to reproduce something like this cheese at home, despite not having access to ultra-filtration equipment. Below is a record of my experiment. The quick conclusion? Similar in texture and mouth feel, but not quite the same in taste. I've never made a lactic-set bloomy, and I've only had a limited exposure to this type (and what I've had has been goat-milk based) - but based on that limited exposure, I'm wondering if I have mostly just created a variation on a lactic-set bloomy, though maybe a bit richer.

Now, on to the experiment!

Ingredients (Picture 1):

1 gallon whole milk (I used store-bought P&H - all I have access to)
1 quart heavy cream (I used ultra-pasteurized - all I have access to)
3 cans evaporated (not sweetened) whole milk
scant 1/2 tsp CaCl (I used 1/8+ tsp CaCl crystals dissolved in water)
scant 1/4 tsp Flora Danica
scant 1/32 tsp PC
1/64 tsp geo
scant 1/2 tsp rennet
~3-1/2 tsp kosher salt

Steps:
  • Combine milk, cream, and evaporated milk and warm to 90°F. Add CaCl.
  • Sprinkle on cultures, wait 5 minutes, stir in; culture for 60 minutes. (Picture 2)
  • Add rennet (diluted in 1/4 cup non-chlorinated water); leave undisturbed for 12-24 hours. At this point, mixture is thickened, and there is some whey gathering at the edges, but it does not really form a curd - more like thin yogurt. (Picture 3)
  • Drain through cheesecloth lined colander for several hours until the volume is reduced by at least 1/2. (Pictures 4-5)
  • Gather cheesecloth corners and hang to continue to drain for 12-24 hours until consistency is like thick Greek yogurt. (Pictures 6-7)
  • Scoop and spread into three 6” molds (I used a small cake decorating spatula - it is about like spreading frosting). Allow to drain for another 12-24 hours; I cover it during this time with a clean cheese cloth to keep any bugs out. (Picture 8 )
  • Add 1/2 of salt to the tops, still in the molds. Allow 12-24 hours to absorb (and continue to drain; again, I keep the molds covered with cheesecloth).
  • Run a clean knife around the sides of each mold and turn the molds over onto plastic weave; wait for them to release. As needed, scoop out any paste that sticks to the molds and spread gently back into place. (Picture 9) Add the remaining salt to the exposed side hours. It probably would be fine just to cover them or tent them with cheesecloth at this point, but I put the molds back over them and then cover with cheese cloth. (Picture 10)
  • Remove the molds, transfer to ripening boxes, and put in the cave (50-55°F). Daily flip the cheese (be careful - still VERY soft) and drain/wipe out moisture that has collected - especially the first day or two there will still be some draining occurring. It will take longer for PC to appear than for a camembert. (Picture 11)
  • When the cheeses are reasonably well coated with PC (about 2 weeks from the start of the make), wrap in cheese paper and put in cold fridge for another week or more. (Picture 12)
  • Finally, the time has come to taste! It does not slice like a regular cheese, not even like a brie; texture is still more like a heavy butter cream frosting, but it has firmed up quite a bit and does hold its shape unless you squish it. (Picture 13) Taste is ... very, very good, IMHO :)

And there you have it!
« Last Edit: August 09, 2017, 07:53:59 AM by awakephd »
-- Andy

Offline 5ittingduck

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Re: Experiment - semi-d'Affinois - maybe, sort of - lots of pictures!
« Reply #1 on: August 07, 2017, 04:03:45 PM »
Very cool experiment.
Have a cheese!

Offline Raw Prawn

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Re: Experiment - semi-d'Affinois - maybe, sort of - lots of pictures!
« Reply #2 on: August 07, 2017, 05:52:35 PM »
Congratulations, Andy, and a cheese from me for doing something distinctly different and pulling it off.
- Andrew

Offline nccheesemike

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Re: Experiment - semi-d'Affinois - maybe, sort of - lots of pictures!
« Reply #3 on: August 07, 2017, 08:46:16 PM »
Well done Andy! Those look great AC4U

Mike

Offline AnnDee

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Re: Experiment - semi-d'Affinois - maybe, sort of - lots of pictures!
« Reply #4 on: August 07, 2017, 11:16:15 PM »
A cheese for your great looking experiment!
Ann

Offline awakephd

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Re: Experiment - semi-d'Affinois - maybe, sort of - lots of pictures!
« Reply #5 on: August 08, 2017, 07:43:22 AM »
Thank you all!

I would be very curious to seek what would happen if I had access to raw (or at least LTP, non-homogenized) milk and cream - I suspect it would allow a curd to form, which would then allow a much less drawn out process - more like making a typical cam - but still having the additional richness of the condensed milk.

I've also wondered, given that I am not getting a curd to form, whether I ought to go "all the way" - heat up the milk to 180°F for 30 minutes to denature the whey proteins, cool down and essentially make "yogurt" (except with meso bacteria), then drain and go from there. Of course, true yogurt is made with thermo bacteria instead of meso ... so might be interesting to see how it would turn out if I used thermo, or maybe a mix ... oh, the possibilities!
-- Andy

Offline Gregore

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Re: Experiment - semi-d'Affinois - maybe, sort of - lots of pictures!
« Reply #6 on: August 08, 2017, 09:26:28 AM »
I see mayself trying this in the near future .  I make lactic set cheese enough to know if the condensed milk is effecting the curd in anyway.

Usually my curd has fully separated from the whey and sunk and it never sticks to the molds . It will be interesting to see if those issues where more related to the cans of milk or something else.

I suspect that becuase the ph of the canned milk is above 4.6 ( just a guess based on taste )  that the milk inside was heated to above 250 degrees during canning to destroy  the botulism spores , that could cause some of the curd issues .

Offline awakephd

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Re: Experiment - semi-d'Affinois - maybe, sort of - lots of pictures!
« Reply #7 on: August 08, 2017, 10:03:40 AM »
I'm reasonably sure the evaporated (canned) milk is a large factor in the lack of curd formation! Or at least I went into this assuming it would be as bad as or worse than ultra-pasteurized mik.

Do you have access to raw or LTP milk? If so, it will be interesting to see if you can get at least some curd formation in spite of the evaporated milk. And I will be especially interested to hear whether using the condensed milk really makes a difference in the taste/texture - as I said, I've not made any lactic-set cheese, so not sure how this compares.
« Last Edit: August 09, 2017, 07:54:41 AM by awakephd »
-- Andy

Offline FooKayaks2

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Re: Experiment - semi-d'Affinois - maybe, sort of - lots of pictures!
« Reply #8 on: August 08, 2017, 06:00:57 PM »
Andy

Another approach could be to top up the protein with skim milk powder to increase protein and add cream. Then leave the condensed milk out. Condensed milk in Australia always tastes so sweet, which I guess is the point, I always though there was added sugar. There is probably some form  of stabiliser in there as well which could be affecting your curd formation.

At least the cheese tastes good.

Mathew

Offline SOSEATTLE

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Re: Experiment - semi-d'Affinois - maybe, sort of - lots of pictures!
« Reply #9 on: August 08, 2017, 08:15:14 PM »
I think there is some confusion in this discussion about condensed versus evaporated milk. Condensed milk is typically sweetened, but evaporated milk is not. The photos of the make show evaporated milk.

I love Fromager d'Affinois. It is a double cream cheese with the texture of a triple cream cheese. There are a number of variations and flavors, but I think I prefer just the plain, unflavored. I think they also make a goat's milk version, but have not tried that.

I agree with Mathew that using milk powder might be a better way to go.


Susan

Offline awakephd

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Re: Experiment - semi-d'Affinois - maybe, sort of - lots of pictures!
« Reply #10 on: August 09, 2017, 07:53:13 AM »
Good suggestions - I had not thought of trying to bulk it up with powdered milk. Yes, this is non-sweetened evaporated milk; sorry for the confusion. Out here in rural NC they just call it all condensed milk, and distinguish by whether or not "sweetened" is added as a descriptor. I've gone back and edited to try to clarify.
-- Andy

Offline GortKlaatu

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Re: Experiment - semi-d'Affinois - maybe, sort of - lots of pictures!
« Reply #11 on: October 11, 2017, 03:39:58 PM »
Kudos (and a cheese) to you.
This sounds like a great cheese.
But tell me, what was the whey like?  With the evaporated milk, I was wondering if it was well incorporated into the curd or if it went they "whey" of the world.
Somewhere, some long time ago, milk decided to reach toward immortality… and to call itself cheese.

Offline awakephd

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Re: Experiment - semi-d'Affinois - maybe, sort of - lots of pictures!
« Reply #12 on: October 12, 2017, 07:20:28 PM »
There was definitely some loss to the whey - surely of some of the fat; I don't know how much of the condensed milk.

I'm planning to try something like this again, but starting with making yogurt using milk, cream, and condensed milk; then draining thoroughly to get labne, then adding the geo and pc. Won't get a chance to try this before next week at the earliest; I'll report on the results when I get it made.
-- Andy