Diverging from my first Montasio effort
, this make loosely follows Gianaclis Caldwell's Montasio ("Mastering Artisan Cheesemaking", p. 294).
Where she called for a floc factor of 2-2.5, I used 3. At a younger age, this might be an excellent slicing table cheese, while later in the affinage it would ease into a grating cheese. That's what I'm aiming for anyway.
initial pH: 6.72
4 gallons Dungeness Valley whole raw milk
1/4 tsp Thermo C (TA + LH)
1/64 tsp Propionic shermanii
1/32 tsp dry calf rennet
Gianaclis's recipe called for stirring the cultures in at 95°F(35°C) followed by the rennet without any ripening time. Perhaps that's why it took 30 minutes to flocculate where previously my times have been more in line with the target 12-15 minutes. I believe the rennet works best with a little acidity.
I pressed with 16 lbs (7.25kg) under warm whey to knit the rind, flipping and rewrapping several times. The plyban wanted to stick to the cheese, but I was able to gently peel it away. I was tempted to haul out the vinegar to ease it away, but I decided I didn't want to complicate the pH measurements I was taking. While the cheese is in the press, I check the pH every 2 hours or so to see if it has dropped into the magical 5.3-5.4 range. If I had used the vinegar to help separate the plyban from the cheese, I really wouldn't know if I was reading residual whey pH or vinegar pH + whey. A cheese make from a couple years ago was allowed to go overnight in the press. When I removed it from the press and tried to remove the plyban, the cheese curds had become one with the plyban. Not pretty.
After knitting the rind, I drained the whey and pressed in the warm pot with 1.9 psi. I press in the pot that is placed inside a big aluminum lobster kettle in which I have warm water. This creates a warm cozy containment in which the cultures can continue to do their thing and the press can also perform its valuable work. The lobster kettle is 13 inches (33cm) tall and my press was built to accommodate it easily.
Okay, so when the pH read 5.46, I decided that was close enough to the sweet spot. Out of the press and into the whey-brine for 8 hours. After that, I flipped it and put it back into the whey-brine for another 8 hours. Gianaclis calls for 4 hours per pound, so this meant 16 hours for this cheese.
After the brining, the weigh-in showed 1617 grams (3.5 lbs). The cheese was dried off and placed into a minicave this morning where it will airdry and continue to drain whey at ambient air temperature overnight. Tomorrow morning it will move to the cave for its 6-12 month affinage. I coated my first Montasio effort
with honey. This cheese will get an EVOO treatment to the rind.My first Montasio effort
was made with 3 gallons (11.4 litres) and one of those gallons was goat milk. This cheese was made with 4 gallons (15 litres), added PS, and no goat milk. It will be interesting to compare these two variations on a theme after they have properly aged.