Time to post a few updates about cheeses from the last weeks. I will start with my go at the fashionable Belper Knolle.
To be honest I did not put much thought into the details of preparation. I simply made some basic semi-lactic curds from 3 litres of creamline milk with 48 hours setting time using kefir as culture as usual. I drained for 24 hours in a cheesecloth-lined colander. It turned out to be on the moist side, so I probably should have drained for another day.
I am not a huge fan of pepper-coated cheese, so I decided to do something different. The batch yielded six pieces. I left two pieces uncoated, just to see what will happen. Two pieces were coated with pimenton de la vera. This is the smoked spanish paprika powder which is also used as the defining spice in chorizo.
For the last two pieces I used blue fenugreek which is the herb used in the Swiss Schabziger cheese. Schabziger has been on my to-do list for a while, but the traditional process takes quite long with two separate maturation stages, the first using butyric fermentation. But because the texture of a dried Belper Knolle is similar to a piece of Schabziger I thought why not make some kind of "Mock Schabziger" this way. So I did not only coat the cheese but also mixed some blue fenugreek into the curds before shaping. I used about 1 gram for the two curds, corresponding to one litre of milk.
I coated the cheeses while they were still moist. In hindisight it might have been better to let them dry one or two days before doing so, but I con't consider that essential. The coating simply gets wet and needs to dry again.
I dried the cheeses for a few days open at room temperature. then I put them into a not fully closed Tupperware box and "forgot" about them in the cave fridge for two months.
Overall the cheeses turned out quite well, but I am not 100% happy with them. Texture was on the crumbly side. OK for grating but it would nod have been possible to shave the cheese like a truffle. I suspect better curd draining could solve this. also the "cheesiness" could have been a bit stronger. I would have expected a more mature taste after two months. The coating with blue fenugreek resulted in a slightly more bitter taste than with proper Schabziger but this wasn't too disturbing.
It's been over two weeks since I used up the coated cheeses, but I still have not touched the uncoated ones. They have developed a few patches of natural mould as could be expected. I may try them in two weeks or so.
And for the record, I didn not bother to use pink Himalayan salt. My goal was not to clone the orignal anyway, so I just used sea salt.