Author Topic: Epoisses - Excessively Smelly > Semi-Lactic?  (Read 795 times)

Offline Leasa

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Epoisses - Excessively Smelly > Semi-Lactic?
« on: November 09, 2011, 06:00:13 AM »
help.  3 weeks into the washing process for my epoisse.  It really really stinks.  Is this Normal??? Last week it had a nice smell like the smell of a good wash rind you are about to eat, now it just smells wrong.  first time poster and would love some feed back. :-\
« Last Edit: November 09, 2011, 06:09:35 AM by Leasa »
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Offline Leasa

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Re: Epoisses - Excessively Smelly > Semi-Lactic?
« Reply #1 on: November 11, 2011, 06:10:16 PM »
Might be ok! Just did my next wash and the smell doesn't seem so bad.  Still not the nice smell of 1to2weeks ago. 
I did read (sorry can't remember whos post it was) that wash rinds can go thouugh a pretty bad smelly stage.  Threemore weeks of washing to go.
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Offline Melbourne Cheese

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Re: Epoisses - Excessively Smelly > Semi-Lactic?
« Reply #2 on: November 14, 2011, 06:16:21 AM »
Hi Leasa, I was wondering what recipe you used for your epoisse?  I would like a go but just need a good recipe.

Cheers

Richard

Offline Leasa

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Re: Epoisses - Excessively Smelly > Semi-Lactic?
« Reply #3 on: November 14, 2011, 03:04:59 PM »
Hi richard.  I use artisan cheese making at home by mary karlin.  Not sure how traditional it is. I bet some of the guys  here have some good recipes ?? Would be interesting to see!
Cheers leas
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Offline vertlook

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Re: Epoisses - Excessively Smelly > Semi-Lactic?
« Reply #4 on: November 15, 2011, 05:51:15 PM »
Very interested to see your results, epoisses is the reason I started making cheese and while I had something somewhat resembling the "real stuff", I am not able to consistently reproduce it.
Now, from the book's web site, they have some notes for epoisses:

Epoisses Whole cow’s
1/8 t Meso II
Pinch B. Linens
1/4 t CC
2 drops R
2 t salt
Marc for wash

86°F
2 Camembert molds
30 mins + 4 hours /16–20 hours?
3/4 inch cubes
Rest
Ladle into molds
Drain covered @ room temp for 24 hours.
Flip when firm.
Air-dry @ room temp for 18 hours
2 days total
50°F/90% humidity
Frequently flipping
Wash with marc solution then
brine wash as directed.
After 6 weeks wrap and refrigerate. Consume within 2 weeks.

I guess the only question here is in red, timing, fermentation, renneting and so on
Can you please shed some light?


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Offline iratherfly

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Re: Epoisses - Excessively Smelly > Semi-Lactic?
« Reply #5 on: November 16, 2011, 10:36:35 PM »
This is a semi lactic cheese so you would need to let it acidify quite a bit. The milk should be typical for semi lactic - 72°F in the winter or 68°F in the summer. The timing depends on room temperature, starter bacteria selection and freshness of your milk but the ballpark is 18 hours +/-6 in order to get it to 4.6-4.8pH. The curd at that point will smell somewhat yogurty and will possibly attempt to detach from the sides of the vat and be covered with ¼"-½" layer of whey (depends on the milkfat).  May I ask why are you using Meso II? (Or, did you mean Meso B?) It only has one strain and may not give you enough of the texture, sroma, flavor depth and stability you want.  I think MM100 would work much better (It's also inexpensive and great for a million different cheeses).

I would suggest to make it a bit drier. Don't cut to cubes but instead ladle it into a cheesecloth sack and let it drain for 6 hours or so. Then mould it. It may take a day or two for it to be sufficiently dry to naturally want to leave your mould when you lift/turn it.  Don't be shy about letting it dry for 2-3 more days or even more before you raise moisture and lower temp. you will delay the formation of the rind a little bit so it will form tightly around the cheese instead of having it form tight at first and then the cheese loses moisture and shrinks and the rind becomes loose and wrinkly. (or worst, slip skin and bitterness). That would be difficult to wash without tearing apart. Do share some photos!

Your recipe didn's specify how much milk you put in it and what quality

Offline Leasa

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Re: Epoisses - Excessively Smelly > Semi-Lactic?
« Reply #6 on: November 16, 2011, 11:12:21 PM »
Hi there Vertlook.

Not sure that i'm the best person to be shedding some light on epoisses.  I don't even know if mine are going to work.

i was just thinking yesterday "wow" it's only been 2 months since i started making cheese and i have a little bar fridge full of cheese  at some stage of maturing.    I'm just hoping all my hard work doesn't turn out to be chicken food.  Yes chickens go crazy over cheese (they really are smart animals)


Any back to the Epoisse.  as i said at the start of this thread i don't know if mine are ok due to their smell.  No-one has shed any light so I'm still hoping they are ok.  vertlook when you say the website, do you mean of the same book I am using.  was it the recipe from Jim Wallace you looked at??

so here's the recipe (where are you from) I'll just keep it in what the book says 1 gallon milk the rest you have.
get to 86f
sprinkle culture and linens let sit 5min stir ripen 30min. add C/C and diluted rennet (still at 86) ripen again 4hrs.
Bring curds back to 86f  rest 5min
put into lined molds
drain 24hr
flip when half then every 2 hrs
dry 18hr
the rest you have 
flip every three days and wash brine for the fist week (at each flip)
then alt brine and 50/50brandy h20 mix
at three weeks use straight brandy
wash total 6wks
consume within 2 wks.

What recipe are you usually using???

cheers Leas :)
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Offline Leasa

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Re: Epoisses - Excessively Smelly > Semi-Lactic?
« Reply #7 on: November 16, 2011, 11:27:33 PM »
hi Iratherfly.

Gee I made that cheese four weeks ago so cant remember everything  (must get a cheese log HA HA ) .
4 lts of fresh raw milk is what i used.  the recipe called for Meso11 , but i used starter B which is MM101.   I'm a bit confused with all these starters, the place i get them from here in Australia (cheeselinks) calls it starters Starter A starter B and so on so I'm not really sure what to buy???? :(

as i said I'm four weeks into washing and have only the lightest amount of orange tint, no skin as you say and the disc are very hard.  A couple more weeks and all will be revealed.

cheers Leas
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Offline iratherfly

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Re: Epoisses - Excessively Smelly > Semi-Lactic?
« Reply #8 on: November 16, 2011, 11:52:22 PM »
Okay, this may be a little different than your target cheese but still very enjoyable in its own right.

Here are some comments:
- Epoisse is coagulated (by Epoisse AOC decree and French law) no less than 16 hours. To get a proper 16 hour coagulation you can't possibly do it at 86°F - that's too high. It may not be as low as the 72°F I specified in my previous message but maybe 77°F? 80°F tops (in the winter). 86°F is too strong!
- Epoisse is washed with Marc -not brandy. (Marc is the French version of Grappa) The wash is a mix of Marc and water where gradually during aging the % of Marc vs water becomes higher.

If this is your first washed cheese watch out... you need to stop washing BEFORE you get to your desired color. The flora will continue to intensify after you stop the wash.

Post some photos! Would love to see it! Good luck, sounds like you are up for a great start

Offline Leasa

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Re: Epoisses - Excessively Smelly > Semi-Lactic?
« Reply #9 on: November 17, 2011, 03:47:37 AM »
thanks so much iratherfly ;D

I will certainly take all your advice for my next batch.  on the case of the marc v brandy. i am aware that traditionally  it should be marc, but that is very expensive here in Australia and the recipe i used said to use brandy  next time i will look at maybe some grappa??

as long as this cheese is edible I'll be a very happy girl.  i knew when i started it i was being a bit adventurous trying such a hard cheese so early in my cheese making  career.  My favourite cheese here is called Red Square so if its somewhere between that and my target fantastic.  If i don't feed it to my chickens then it all good

cheers leasa 
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Offline Bob

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Re: Epoisses - Excessively Smelly > Semi-Lactic?
« Reply #10 on: November 17, 2011, 05:11:39 AM »
Hey Leasa, Red Square is my favourite cheese too. I love the beautiful creamy, custardy centre and the sharp, tasty washed rind, a beautiful combination. I bought some Pont Leveque on the weekend and was surprised by how similar they are.

I'm lucky enough to be doing some project work for the factory where it is made in Tasmania so I can see it being made.  :) :)

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Offline Leasa

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Re: Epoisses - Excessively Smelly > Semi-Lactic?
« Reply #11 on: November 18, 2011, 06:32:32 PM »
Hi there bob.
Lucky you. Do you get free cheese?
Looked at some pont L'eveque, they certainly look similar.  Found some threads about it with recipe. Might be one to try in a month or two once i get my skills up a bit. (And see if all the cheese i have going work out)
Cheers leas
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Offline Bob

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Re: Epoisses - Excessively Smelly > Semi-Lactic?
« Reply #12 on: November 19, 2011, 03:10:36 AM »
Leasa,

Occasionally there are some freebies, but being a contractor, I'm not entitled to any free cheese. But I can get to talk to the cheesemakers and that helps my learning. However, my 8 litre batches are a bit smaller than they are used to  ;D!

I'm planning to try some washed rind cheeses next year, can't wait!
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Offline iratherfly

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Re: Epoisses - Excessively Smelly > Semi-Lactic?
« Reply #13 on: November 21, 2011, 01:59:58 AM »
Leasa, have a quick look at the Wikipedia page for Grappa. It lists all the different names for its versions in different countries. Grappa may be expensive too (And Marc is expensive here in the US and in it's native France as well), but maybe one of the other ones would work?

Brandy has a stronger and far more distinct flavor and aroma. It is darker than Marc/Grappa (unless you get a very aged Marc but those are too expensive even for Epoisse AOC makers to use) and I also believe it has different yeasts growing in it so you will get different cheese. But it could be a good one!

The best practice if of course to do the most local thing you can. Try and find the local Grappa type liqueur to go with your local milk and aging environment. It makes more sense and comes together better usually

Here is the Wikipedia page http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grappa