Author Topic: Monterey Jack Question....  (Read 1100 times)

Offline Likesspace

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Monterey Jack Question....
« on: February 05, 2009, 09:35:10 PM »
Today I had a commercial Pepper Jack cheese that was simply fantastic.
One of the guys brought it into work and I finally had to force myself to stop nibbling on it.
The texture was nice and smooth....creamy and had a nice translucent look.
My question is concerning how to reproduce this cheese in the home environment.
I've made a few batches of Monterey Jack and every one of them has had a dry, crumbly texture. Not so crumbly that they could not be sliced but nothing like the smoothness of this commercial example.
Also, they did not have the nice mild taste of this commercial Jack and in no way did they have the translucent look.
This is the cheese that I want to be able to make.
It honestly was one of the best tasting cheeses I've had to date and I'd love to be able to reproduce it.
If anyone has any suggestions, I'd love to hear them.
Thanks,
Dave

Offline Cartierusm

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Re: Monterey Jack Question....
« Reply #1 on: February 05, 2009, 10:06:59 PM »
No help dave but you could use MA11 in conjunction with MD88-89 which I use in blues to get that creamy texture. The problem with most Jacks are they are rubbery, so trying to make one as you describe would be great. What brand were you eating?
Life is like a box of chocolates sometimes too much rennet makes you kill people.

Offline Tea

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Re: Monterey Jack Question....
« Reply #2 on: February 06, 2009, 12:24:00 AM »
Ok not sure that I will be of any help, but do you add extra cream to your Monterey's?  Also minimal playing with the curd creates a softer/creamey cheese. 
Just some thoughts.

Offline Cartierusm

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Re: Monterey Jack Question....
« Reply #3 on: February 06, 2009, 02:33:33 AM »
Thanks Tea, about the handling of the curds, never thought of that. Is it because the more you play with them the more whey gets squeezed out, resulting in a drier cheese?
Life is like a box of chocolates sometimes too much rennet makes you kill people.

Offline Likesspace

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Re: Monterey Jack Question....
« Reply #4 on: February 06, 2009, 08:59:31 PM »
Carter,
I asked my co-worker about the brand of the cheese but he wasn't sure of the name.
I wish he would have rememberd because it was without a doubt the best I've ever eaten.
Also, thanks to your and Tea for your suggestions.
I think that part of my problem might have been in getting too rough with the curd during the cooking stage. I've always stirred continually during this stage and it's possible I was simply treating them too roughly during this time.
I'm going to try this attempt with 3 gallons of 2% milk and a gallon of whole milk.
I think I'll also add 16 oz. of whipping cream just to see what type of curd turns out.
It might end up being a total failure or it might be the texture I'm looking for.
Regardless it's a new challenge so it should be a good way to spend a Saturday morning.
Thanks again for the advice.

Dave

Offline Tea

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Re: Monterey Jack Question....
« Reply #5 on: February 07, 2009, 02:33:50 PM »
Yes playing can shatter the curd and release too much whey and toughen the curd.  When I am wanting a nice soft creamy cheese, I am very careful how many time I stir and how vigorously I stir.  Most of the time I am just turning over the curd and moving it, not actually stirring.

Dave see if you can get a pure cream rather than a whipping cream.  Less additives added.

Offline Likesspace

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Re: Monterey Jack Question....
« Reply #6 on: February 07, 2009, 04:13:23 PM »
Tea,
Thanks for the information.
Instead of doing a Pepper Jack, I instead tried a Toscano Pepato, partly from the New England Cheese making website.
I say partly because the recipe on that site is pretty vague in places and also I only added red and green jalepenos instead of cracked peppercorns.
I did stay with 3 gallons of two percent and 1 gallon of whole and added 24 oz. of whipping cream to the mix.
The resultant curd set was one of the best I've ever gotten.
I would love to try some real cream, Tea, but I haven't been able to find anything other than whipping cream in my area. Sort of ironic since I am sitting smack in the middle of Illinois dairy country. :-)
I did take your advice and treated the curd very gently and limited the amout of stirring I did on this cheese.
According to the website (cheesemaking.com) you can control the firmness of this cheese by stirring more (for a harder cheese) or less (for a softer, more moist cheese).
Since I'm looking for something with a soft, creamy texture I figured I'd give it a try.
This is not only the first time I've attempted this cheese, I've also never tasted the style so it should be interesting.
Not sure what made me change my mind at the last minute, other than the cheese looked good and appeard to be more interesting than a Jack style.
I think I'll give the pepper jack another go next weekend. Tomorrow I'm doing a provolone if I can find the time and that will be the limits of my cheese making for this week.
The pepato is in the press for another 4 hours or so and then I'll give it a brine bath.
Once it is removed, I'll snap a couple of pics.
Thanks again for your help, Tea.

Dave