Okay, this section has been dead for the last day and a half. I am here to rescue it from the bowels of obscurity.....
Saturday my middle daughter and I made a Colby Jack cheese with her taking care of a three gallon batch of Monterey Jack while I worked on a three gallon Colby.
In short, this became the cheese from hell.
Upon putting the cheese into the mold I noticed that it was still really moist and soft. I've since found out that this is becasue I used whole milk on the Jack and instead should have used 2% for a more firm curd.
Anway, after about two hours of pressing, I tried flipping the cheese and it was nearly falling apart in my hands. I knew this wasn't going to work, not matter how long I pressed so I took some drastic measures.
First of all, I took the curd out of the mold and broke it up into it's original curd state.
I then transferred it into a cooking pot and re-heated it to 102 degrees F while constantly stirring. Basically treating it as you would a stirred curd cheddar. I did this for 60 minutes while pouring off the whey when it rose to the surface.
After this cooking stage the curd was still way too moist. I knew that if I put it back into the mold I would have the same problem as before. Well as a last ditch effort I wrapped the curd into a VERY LARGE cheese cloth bag and treated it as I would a Stilton.
I took the bag of curd and placed it between two cheeseboards and pressed it with 20 lbs. of weight. This did expel a LOT of whey and when I removed the bag it had formed into a solid mass that was easily broken up into walnut sized pieces.
I then repacked this into the mold and pressed with 80 lbs. of force for an hour.....flipped and increased to100 lbs. of force for 12 hours......flipped and pressed again at 100 lbs. for another 12 hours and finally topped it off with 140 lbs. for 12 hours.
Well this morning I removed the wheel from the press and had a nice firm, HUGE wheel of cheese.
This sucker is 8" diameter x 5" tall and weighs a little over 6 lbs.
After spending a day in the wine fridge the surface has dried completely and looks and feels great. I'm going to give it another day and night in the fridge and then give it a waxing tomorrow night.
So, without further adieu, here is my Stirred Curd, Stilton style, CoJack hybrid cheese: