Author Topic: Chimay style, Belgian abbey cheese  (Read 4859 times)

Offline max1

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Chimay style, Belgian abbey cheese
« on: August 21, 2011, 06:35:39 AM »
Hi,

I'm currently new to cheese making and over the past few weeks I've started a few cheeses.  One of those cheeses is something I'm hoping to turn into an abbey cheese.  It's actually the reason I was interested in cheese making in the first place.  My dad is a home brewer and I wanted to develop a good cheese to go with his abbey style beers.  He makes a few different types of ambers and blondes and a Christmas beer or two (all recipes he has eventually developed to make his own).

So I basically just started with the Gouda recipe from the recipe section on this site and increased the flocc time and the size of the cut to make it slightly moister.  Otherwise I pretty much followed the recipe since they say in this video about Chimay cheeses, that the curds are washed.
 

I have no idea if this has worked yet as the cheese is only two weeks into aging.  It took a while to form a rind and I had to fight off a bit of brown/black mold at the beginning and now some white mold.  I've been wiping the mold off with some vinegar and then rubbing dry salt into the rind for to keep these molds at bay.  It has been drying at room temperature at about 70%RH.

So now I thought would be a good time to start washing the rind with one of my Dad’s beers?  So I guess my question now is how do I go about doing that?  Do I need to add salt to the beer to make it a brine?  Do I run the risk of yeast infection?  I read in a thread about Tomme, that François and linuxboy say it might give it a bready flavor.  Also, are these types of cheese washed with any kind of bacterial wash like b. linens?  The rind on a Chimay is kind of reddish now that I think of it.

So there you go, I guess I’m hoping this will be an ongoing thread where we can try to develop a good abbey style cheese recipe, since I couldn’t find much about them on here yet.

Nicolas.

PS.  I actually currently live in Belgium and so these types of cheeses are very readily available to me if ever I need a rind sample :p

PPS.  I live close to several farms and can easily get raw, fresh cow’s milk.


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Offline max1

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Re: Chimay style, Belgian abbey cheese
« Reply #1 on: November 13, 2011, 04:52:23 PM »
Ok, time to give this another try!

Armed with basically no knowledge about cheese chemistry, making or natural rind maintenance, no pH meter, a dodgy meat thermometer and a very unstable stack of weights, my first try was pretty much a failure.  Well I don't really like that word since the final cheese melted well and was used in a quiche.  More like happy accident...ha!

I used buttermilk as a starter as well as yogurt.  Of course can't remember the amounts (another fault, didn't keep a record!).  After only 4 weeks of aging I cut into the cheese.  It was very dry, chalky both symptoms of a rapid acidification.  Probably too much culture.  During the aging process I didn't do any washing, just scrubbed off the odd mold with dry salt.  What I described as a 'white mold' was, I'm pretty sure now, Geo.  Especially since it developed to a stage where I got some rind wrinkling, which I've read here is a result of the Geo getting out of hand?  By the way, I didn't add any to the milk either so the Geo was 'wild'.

I also think I should give you guys an actual name of the cheese I'm trying to make.  It's called Chimay, you might know the beer(s) :p

Sooo, time for some reverse engineering!!  I won't be able to make the cheese till this w-e, and I would also like to build a press first and cut some decent followers, but I thought I would describe the cheese to you and put up a recipe I've come up with for making it to get some of your input.

So for the paste, it's basically like a raclette, only slightly softer.  Maybe somewhere between a reblochon and a raclette.  It's elastic (high calcium retention?) and creamy.  You can really taste the milk in the cheese, if that makes any sense.

As for the rind, it's orange with a dusting of white so I'm thinking B.linens and Geo.  The rind is dry though.

Here's a pic:

http://www.chimay.com/en/fromages.html?IDC=289

There are different types.  I'm aiming for the one on the far right.

So what I thought I would do is start out with a raclette recipe and aim for a higher moisture content by increasing flocc time, decreasing the cookin temp a bit and aim for larger curd pieces.  Also, washed curd for slower acidification, washed rind and press-under-whey.  The result is a cheese with a 'sweeter' curd, good calcium retention, and a good taste and stink from the b.linens.  Now all I have to do is determine the amounts of starter, cooking temps, and different pH markers.

I think what I want is a high drain pH, right?  Above 6.2?

Here's what I've come up with so far based on Sue's raclette recipe with looks just like linuxboy's Gouda recipe.

CHEESE MAKE #1
Style: Chimay

MAIN CHARACTERISTICS
Starting pH: around 6.60   Drain pH: 6.3   Flocc multiplier: 4
Rennet pH:??   Brine pH: 5.4   Cut size: ½ in

INGREDIENTS
Whole raw cow’s milk from a local farmer
Mother-culture =  ??%=??ml / pH of Mother-culture
Rennet: Need to check rennet strength
B.linens
I don’t have Geo or DH or KL71.  Haven’t found a place where I can get them yet.  I’ve already asked Linuxboy this question, but I was hoping to be able to wash with a brine made from my dad’s beer.  About 3% (at first at least to encourage Geo growth) and a pinch of linens.  From looking at my first attempt, it seems like I didn’t have any trouble getting wild Geo to establish itself.

PRE-RIPENING
OPERATION   TIME   PH   TEMP (°F)
Add Mother-culture to milk.   --:--      
   --:--      

RENNET
OPERATION   TIME   PH   TEMP
Add Rennet. Stir up-down. Flocc time=10-15min.  Multiplier=4  Total time=40-75min (Although I probably want to aim for a shorter flocc time in order to drain sooner, right?) .  Target pH at time of addition=6.55   --:--      
Cut curd into 1/2 in curds   --:--      

COOKING
OPERATION   TIME   PH   TEMP
Stir for 15 min (aim for pH 6.4)         
Wash curds with warm water:  130-135°F
•   Replace about 1/3 whey in 3 additions
•   Final temp target=95°F
•   Length of time to achieve Tf=30 min   --:--      
Cook curds to: °C
•   Final temp target=N/A°F
•   Length of time to achieve Tf=N/A min         
Final pH   --:--      

DRAIN
OPERATION   TIME   PH   TEMP
Drain.  Target drain pH=6.3   --:--      
Press under whey for 10min   --:--      

PRESS
OPERATION   TIME   PH   TEMP
Press at 3-4 PSI.    --:--      
Target pH out of press=5.4    --:--      

BRINE
OPERATION   TIME   PH   TEMP
Brine: 24%   --:--      

   

So I guess my main questions are:
  - Can I wash with my dad's beer?
  - How much mother culture?
  - Ideal pH markers?
  - How to achieve higher moisture?

Sorry for the rambling post. I have soooo many questions, but I think this will do for now.  I'll leave the rind washing regimen for later.

Thanks!!

P.S. I attached the word document for the recipe in case it isn't clear here.  I bascially just copied and pasted it over so the formatting was lost.

Offline Boofer

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Re: Chimay style, Belgian abbey cheese
« Reply #2 on: November 13, 2011, 06:51:13 PM »
Max, you lucky devil!  ;)  In the Land of Chimay.... I love Chimay Red and have been interested in this variety of cheeses for awhile now. Thank you for posting the video, the make detail, and for starting this dialogue.

I'm sorry I can't speak to the possible bready characteristic using beer as a wash. When I've used wine, I've added it to the 3% brine. I believe there are other members who have used beer washes on the forum. Possibly searching for that might help you.

I look forward to your progress in this cheese make.

Oh yeah, welcome to the forum.  :)

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Offline smilingcalico

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Re: Chimay style, Belgian abbey cheese
« Reply #3 on: November 13, 2011, 11:58:42 PM »
Hey Max, here's a pic of my stout cheese.  I don't wash it with beer, rather, I soak it in the stout for 3 days.  You can even soak as long as 7 days, but 3 is quite sufficient.  I suspect that the color of their cheese is not due to B.Linens, but rather due to the beer itself.  There could however be some BL, but IMHO that seems like overkill.  I haven't had that cheese in almost 15 years, so what do I know.  Your dry, chalky texture is just as you say, from over acidification.  Often this can be over come by longer ageing.  Regretfully I can't answer but your two easiest questions.  Can you use Dad's beer?  Of course you can!  How to achieve moister curd?  I think you already answered that for yourself by your own suggestions.  You'll have to toy with it to get to your likeing, but you are definitely on track.  I've heard of the yeast infection, but not sure I've ever seen it myself, or maybe I just like the result!  My cheese is certainly much drier than what you are shooting for, but to decribe the flavor, initially it is fruity, then the flavor of fresh baked bread, and finally the flavor of the stout really comes through.  I too can get some wrinkling from wild geo, but that doesn't bother me.  I do natural rinds, so whatever happens happens.  My usual development of molds is Geo first, which paves the way for blue.  After that comes the mucor.  ,I don't brush it off, just pat it down with my hands.  Once the rind is sufficiently dry nothing else grows.  In this picture, taken at 2 months of age, I did dry brush it, then lightly rubbed with olive oil (just to get it all prettied up for the picture). 
I look forward to reading about your final result!
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Offline dthelmers

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Re: Chimay style, Belgian abbey cheese
« Reply #4 on: November 15, 2011, 01:03:45 PM »
Smilingcalico,
Those cheeses are beautiful! At what point do you soak them in stout? Does this need to be done early in the aging process?
I have a Gouda at five weeks old, but I vacuum sealed it at two weeks to keep the rind minimal - too late to soak?
Dave in CT


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Offline smilingcalico

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Re: Chimay style, Belgian abbey cheese
« Reply #5 on: November 15, 2011, 01:12:56 PM »
Hi Dave, thanks.  I soak the day after I take them out of the brine.  I think you could still do yours, but next time I'd say go quickly and see what differences you note.
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Offline dthelmers

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Re: Chimay style, Belgian abbey cheese
« Reply #6 on: November 15, 2011, 01:26:49 PM »
I'll give it a try when I get home. When you posted your picture, we had just tapped a keg of stout, and now I'm eager to try. I'll soak it until Saturday and we'll see what it does. I guess I'll make another Gouda on Sunday and try soaking right after brining.
Thanks!
Dave in CT

Offline Tomer1

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Re: Chimay style, Belgian abbey cheese
« Reply #7 on: November 15, 2011, 01:58:03 PM »
Are you adding 1.5-2% salt to your "beer bath" to match the salt content of the cheese?
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Offline max1

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Re: Chimay style, Belgian abbey cheese
« Reply #8 on: November 15, 2011, 02:01:03 PM »
@Boofer - I know! The amount of cheese and great beers available here is amazing!  Another one you might know is Grimbergen, another well known and very good ale.  On the other hand, less well known, is Westvleeteren.  You can only buy it at the abbey, which makes it very special here!  If anyone's ever in Belgium, let me know!  I'll give you a tour of the breweries  :P

@smilingcalico - As matter of fact, not all of Chimay's cheeses are washed with their beer.  Of all the cheeses listed in that link (Chimay Grand cru being the best known) only the Chimay à la Bière is washed with beer.  Sadly I've never tried that one as it's only available at the abbey.  Chimay Grand cru though is definitely washed with BL.  The rind is a light to medium orange, dry but at the same time a tad sticky.  It has a BL aroma and taste to it as well.

Now the reason why I wanted to wash with my Dad's beer was first, to experiment and see if the yeasts in the beer would be enough to deacidify the rind and prepare it for the BL.  I've haven't found a place where I can order the right kind of yeasts yet.  The second reason is simply to try and incorporate some of the beer's flavour, as my goal is to serve the two together.  I found the post where the excessive breadiness came up.  It had resulted from actually washing the CURDS with beer.  So I think I'm safe.  You might be right though, the combination of BL and the beer might be too much?  In that case it my be better to just wash the rind with a 'beer/brine' with BL so I get a lighter flavour and the rind flora I'm after.  We'll see.

BTW, beautiful cheese!  I love that dark rind, looks great!

Offline Tomer1

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Re: Chimay style, Belgian abbey cheese
« Reply #9 on: November 15, 2011, 02:49:15 PM »
I would have been closed down on the spot commerically making cheese in a shack with chickens around. 
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Offline dthelmers

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Re: Chimay style, Belgian abbey cheese
« Reply #10 on: November 15, 2011, 03:04:39 PM »
Tomer1,
I must have missed something; who's making cheese in a shack with chickens around?
Dave in CT

Offline smilingcalico

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Re: Chimay style, Belgian abbey cheese
« Reply #11 on: November 15, 2011, 03:48:06 PM »
Oh, Max, I didn't know that.  I guess it's as they say, don't assume,... I'd encourage you to go for it, whichever method you decide.
Oh, was that Sophie from the videos max posted that had chickens?
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Offline dthelmers

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Re: Chimay style, Belgian abbey cheese
« Reply #12 on: November 15, 2011, 03:52:30 PM »
Yeah, I just watched the video on another thread where the chickens are apparently wandering around the make room. I seem to recall some advice from a 16th century writer, Markham, or Digby, perhaps, where he say's to keep a chicken tethered in the cheese room to keep the bugs down. I'm grateful for the heritage from our ancestors, but I do enjoy the modern benefits of clean rooms and electric light! And especially running water!
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Re: Chimay style, Belgian abbey cheese
« Reply #13 on: November 15, 2011, 04:18:07 PM »
Yeah I got the wrong thread, I think it was an ALP Comte video.
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Offline max1

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Re: Chimay style, Belgian abbey cheese
« Reply #14 on: November 15, 2011, 05:11:44 PM »
@smilingcalico - Oops, hope I didn't come off as too agressive. I think the idea of a beer bath was pretty good. I was just thinking ou loud, wondering if it would be too strong ;)  I'll probably try all 3 methods anyway: BL, BL+beer, just beer

You know I didn't pay too much attention to the chickens at first but that can't be very good for the cheese.  Then again, they've been doing it like that for hundreds of years it seems.  I even saw another video where the guy was making cheese in a room that opened onto where he kept the cows... go figure  :o