Author Topic: Messing with Montasio (#3)  (Read 86 times)

Offline Boofer

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Messing with Montasio (#3)
« on: August 30, 2014, 08:02:32 PM »
I wanted to get some of the last milk of the summer. I wasn't sure what I wanted to make, but I decided to get 4 gallons of whole raw Jersey milk and a half gallon of whole raw goat milk. My thinking was that I wanted to have some lipase character to the end product but I don't particularly like lipase powder added to my cheeses.

I considered Sbrinz as a possible candidate for this cheese, but the two recipes I had were completely different. The Gianaclis Caldwell version called for washing the curds and a 12 hour per pound brining. The 200 Easy Cheeses recipe called for a 4-6 week sweating period at 65°F(31°C). As far as I know there is only one member here that has made Sbrinz. So I decided to make another Montasio. :D

I had already decided to buy a piece of Montasio so that I would have a better perspective on what the character, taste, and texture was. I believe that piece I bought was part of a wheel that had just arrived at the cheese purveyor's door. It was semihard (similar to an alpine), nutty, only slightly tangy, and possessing a captivating cheesey aroma.

Made this morning, August 30.

initial cow pH: 6.69
initial goat pH: 6.64

4 gallons Dungeness Valley whole raw Jersey milk
1/2 gallon Lucky Hook Farm whole raw goat milk
8 cubes TA-61 MC (from the freezer vacuum bag, dated Feb 6, 2012)
1/8 tsp LH-100 (from the freezer vacuum bag, dated 2011)
1/32 tsp PS
1/16 tsp dry calf rennet, dissolved in cold distilled water

The really usable volume of my kettle is slightly under 4 gallons. When I added the goat milk to the mix, the milk level came very close to the spillover zone. Much care had to be used in cutting, stirring, whisking, etc. Once I had curds & whey, then I could dip out enough to make the rest of the process more comfortable.

Followed recipe as before (#1, #2).
Floc factor: 3
floc'd in 15 minutes

Shortly after the curds were cooked, the temperature was 111°F, and the pH was 6.40, I moulded the curds.
I knitted the rind under warm whey using the weight of my level & piston (11 lbs) plus a 5 lb weight which I hung on the end of the lever for a total weight of 16 lbs.

After the rind was knitted, then I drained the whey and started pressing at 1.9 psi.

When I checked an hour later, the pH was 5.40! Holy cow! What's going on here? What a quick pressing! I would surmise that the natural culture in the two milks contributed mightily to some cultures from my freezer that were also still very potent. There normally could be a lot of residual moisture in a cheese not in the press for very long. However, I think the cooking time and temperature combined with the extended brine time could mitigate any excess retained whey.

The wheel will be brined for 9 hours, flipped, and brined for 9 more hours.

I expect this Montasio will be aged, brushed, oiled, and aged some more. This could possibly be 12-18 months affinage.

-Boofer-
« Last Edit: Yesterday at 07:52:02 AM by Boofer »
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Offline Boofer

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Re: Messing with Montasio (#3)
« Reply #1 on: Yesterday at 08:11:23 AM »
The wheel is in the cave now. This morning it seems like the last bit of weeping whey is gone and the cheese can begin its affinage. I'm not sure why I focused on Montasio...most likely because of Jeff's efforts. There are now three versions of this style made within the past three months. If the Montasio sample I purchased is a representative sampling of what the cheese should be, then I am encouraged.

The rind development on the true Montasio, as well as the rinds on several other hard cheeses bought at the same time (Abondance, Beaufort alpage), is low, camel-colored, and dry. That seems like a bit of linens combined with something else. I don't believe that many of the cheeses I have made have had a similar rind. My semi-hard/hard rinds seem to be overblown with linens and Geo. In some fashion, I'd like to be able to duplicate the character of this rind. Yes, I know, brushing helps to keep the growth low, but there have been a number of times when the brushing is complicated with sticky moist linens growth.

-Boofer-
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Bread, beer, wine, cheese...it's all good.

Offline Spoons

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Re: Messing with Montasio (#3)
« Reply #2 on: Yesterday at 01:08:38 PM »
Montasio #3, the child you almost called "Sbrinz". I know there's more than one way to skin a cat, but when a cheese has two very different recipe steps from one another, you can't help but think there's a typo somewhere.

Man, is that that vat full! but the colour of your milk is simply amazing!

Can't wait for the tasting notes. I'm tempted to buy a chunk at the grocery to see if I'll try and make one.

- Eric