With this good advice onboard, a brand new huge (60cm long!) whisk, and a new double boiler setup I was ready to go to Romano no. 2 on 22nd March. Until now I have been heating milk in a couple of batches in my largest (but still small) boiler, tranferring it to a shallow plastic container with a lid inside a foam box with a lid and proceeding from there. Works fine except when you need to raise the temperature of the curd - the space between the inner and outer boxes isn't great enough to take a lot of hot water, and the shape of the box also mitigated against a decent temperature rise. Double boiler definitely worked better.
The milk - not quite the 2% I was thinking of - 4l Peel Valley Gold Top (4.8% fat), 2l Coles Light P/H (1.4%), 2l Ivyhome low fat organic,P/non-H (0.9%).
Heated to 32oC (no. 1 was 38oC). Added 3/8tspn. Thermo C and 1/4tspn. CaCl (may not have needed the CaCl, but no idea how Peel pasteurises their milk, so thought it wouldn't hurt). Ripened 30 min.
Added scant 1/8tspn. lipase and 1ml DS calf rennet, both diluted.
Floated the boat and waited. After 16 min. there was definite thickening but not the dramatic flocculation I've experienced in the past. Waited another 2 minutes, and it was the same, so decided to take 18 min. as the time. Waited another 18 min (flocc. time for Romano 2-2.5), thought the curd was still a bit soft, waited another 9 min.
Cut into little columns, tried the diagonal cut thing to make cubes (not very successful), then used my whisk as suggested by Jeff, worked a treat.
Stirred 10 min.
Turned on the heat, still stirring, reached 46oC in half an hour - too fast, need to work on regulating this a bit better, but it's my first time, remember. Very pleased with the separation of curds and whey - romano 1 had very milky curds, so much so that I made some ricotta; not even tempted to try this time.
Drained the whey and packed the dry curds into a 15cm basket hoop, lined with a sterilized Chux. Pressed with 2.3kg for an hour.
Redressed, pressed with 4.6kg for 2 hours.
Redressed and pressed with 12.6kg weights for another 6.5 hrs. (The thread only a few days later about pressing under whey and in warm conditions suggests that I need not have used so much).
Removed from press and into a saturated brine bath overnight.
23th March, a.m. Put out to dry off.
24th March. Dry enough to go in the cave. Weighted it, and dismayed to find it weighed 875g. Romano 1 was 1175g at the same point. After I calmed down, I remembered the difference in fat content - this make had a total of 238g of fat, romano 1 which was all Peel Gold Top, had 384g, so that would have been some of the difference (although I lost more milk solids in no. 1), and I suppose the rest can be accounted for by my much better expulsion of whey. Romano 1 has lost 200gr over 6 weeks (ie average of 4.8g. per day) while no. 2 this morning had lost 50 gr in 23 days (ie 2.2g per day) which seems to support this assumption. I see Margaret Morris says an 8% yield, which would mean a cheese weighing 640gr at the end of ageing, so maybe I'm not too far from the mark.
Both cheeses are progressing satisfactorily. I rubbed no. 1 with EVOO last week and again this week, it has a very solid looking and feeling rind, and the oil rub seems to have discouraged mold growth. I needed to rub off some PC and blue mold from both cheeses initially, and there's still a bit of blue arriving on no. 2. Both have a dusting of a white mold which I think is OK, but not so impressed with the black pinhead mold which keeps appearing. The vinegar rub takes it off, but the white mold goes too.
All in all, I'm pretty happy with the way this one has gone, now comes the waiting! My husband was around when I was fussing with them yesterday and he said that they certainly smelt like cheese (I have no sense of smell, I need his nose) as well as looking like cheese.
I'm not sure how to continue to age these - unusually we will be home most of the time for the next couple of months, so I can safely leave them 'naked' in the cave, but I suspect I'll lose patience with the mold fighting (although it seems that no. 1 is now taking care of herself, so maybe this will be less of a chore as time goes on). But I could vacuum them, and I also have the cream wax that we have been discussing lately - so any advice on how to proceed would be most welcome.
I intend to make another one soon, this time with lower fat milk. Will be interesting to compare them in 6+ months.