Thanks so much,Debi,your website is very nice.
I reedit the Kaseri recipe you posted,any valuable coments will be appreciated.
Meanwhile I am confused by several questions,please see the belowing red letter.
Kasseri is a little known treasure of Greece. The real thing is made of unpasteurized sheep’s milk with very little, if any, goats’ milk mixed in. It is a relatively soft textured hard-rind cheese similar in texture to aged cheddar. It belongs to the pasta filata family of cheeses, meaning that it incorporates long filaments of cheese. Provolone is a well-known member of this group.
1.The raw milk
It is made of unpasteurized sheep milk or a blend of sheep and goat milk, the latter not exceeding 20% in weight.The use of very fresh unpasteurized milk is necessary to obtain the correct flavor and texture.
---I have no idea whether the unpasteurized milk is selected in the present kasseri process?If yes, how could be guaranted edible safety
2.Add the rennet
The temperature was elevated to 34-35° C.A mixed lactic-acid bacillus starter, 0.016% rennet and 0.02% calcium chloride aqueous solution were added.The mixture was allowed to stand for about 35 minutes to form a curd (rennetting step).
---You know,normally,how much starter should be added?
3.The cooking step
The cut curd is allowed to rest for five to ten minutes and then is heated to 37-40C while being continuously and slowly stirred so as not to crush the curd particles.Once this higher temperature is reached, the curd is allowed to rest for another 10 minutes.
4.Drain the whey
The drained curd is then transferred by wet cheesecloth to a working surface where it is rolled by hand to eliminate any lumps. The cheesecloth is then tied up and then the mass is weighted down to drain additional whey. The weight is gradually increased until it is equal to that of the cheese being pressed.During this phase, the lactose in the curd is transformed to lactic acid, increasing the acidity of the curd while the casein is also undergoing important changes. When this "ripening" is complete, the mass of cheese is homogeneous and malleable.
Could anybody explain why the lactose is transformed to lactic acid in this step?
What's the optimal "ripening" time?
The time required depends on the quality of the milk and the temperature of the environment. If the milk is acidic and the environment warm, the ripening is completed in 7-8 hours, but if the milk is fresh and the environment cool, the process may take 24 hours. Determining that "ripening" is optimum is a crucial decision the cheese maker must make.
He usually takes small pieces from several points on the cheese mass and kneads them after dipping them in warm water (70-80C).
*If these test pieces can form a filament at least a meter long, the process is complete.
*If the mass hasn’t fully ripened, it will be hard to knead, it will form many creases within the cheese head, scars will form at various contact points within the mold and it will not absorb salt properly.
*If ripening proceeds beyond the optimum, then the mass is not cohesive, breaks occur during kneading and the cheese acquires a deep yellow color and a hard texture with many cracks and holes. These are obviously serious defects.
5.Cut the curd
The optimally ripened mass is cut into uniformly thin slices which are placed in warm water at 70-80C in a special basket. With adroit handling of the basket and tossing of the cheese mass, the cheese maker manages to knead it. Again, a great deal of skill and good judgment must guide the kneading process. The kneading is complete when the mass has the proper texture and elastic behavior.
Anyone could offer more information about "kneading process"?
6.Case to the mold and overturn
The mass of the cheese at this point. The cheese is taken out of the molds after two ???hour???It is then subdivided into pieces suitable for the size head being produced which, in turn, are placed in metal molds. The molds are flipped top to bottom five or six times, every 15 minutes to begin with and less frequently as the cheese cools.
Attention:The flipping process must be performed with care to avoid disturbing or three days, once it’s determined that it will hold its shape.
Salting is external and begins the day after the cheeses are made using medium size salt grains.
There will be 12-14 saltings during the first 4 days with every flipping of the cheese heads. The cheese heads are stacked on top of each other after salting; in the beginning two at a time, then three and so on until a stack of 6 is made. With every salting, the position of the cheese heads in the stack is changed.
When salting is completed, the cheeses are washed with warm water (40-50C), brushed with a soft brush and rinsed with cold water and placed on racks to dry. The wheels are then placed in a cooler environment, 18C, where they complete their aging. Aging of at least four months is required for the proper development of flavor, but Kasseri is best after ten to twelve months.
Aged heads of Kasseri have a hard rind which develops a coating of mold in the aging rooms. This growth is part of the natural aging process and it is brushed off with brine prior to presentation.
Kasseri is one of the best examples of the wonderful aromas inherent in sheep’s milk and, when made the traditional way, it develops very complex and rich flavors. Eaten by itself, as the equivalent of the school lunch koulouri, it can be a delight, but it’s also a wonderful cheese to use in fillings as well as a true saganaki.