Author Topic: Raclette Cheese Making Recipe  (Read 5305 times)

Offline Tea

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Re: Raclette Cheese Making Recipe
« Reply #30 on: September 14, 2009, 08:35:07 PM »
Wow Bella, that's looks great.  Wonderful cheese, made all the better when you have someone to share it with.
Congrats

Offline fxcuisine

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A word from the Swiss Alps!
« Reply #31 on: November 20, 2009, 03:03:35 PM »
Just a few words of background on raclette. I come from the Valais in the Swiss Alps, the homeland of the raclette and am very impressed that you can make your own raclette cheese on the other side of the world. Congratulations!

About the cheese, the best raclette you can ever have comes from high pastures, during those 100 days when the cows graze mountain sides at 2000m and sometimes higher. The milk acquires unique flavors depending on what the cows graze on a given day. The cheese is made in tiny huts next to the cows (see my article  http://fxcuisine.com/default.asp?Display=201) on an open wood fire, because often you can't even reach those places with a car, so there is no way of bringing the milk down. Very fortunate for true loves of cheese, as each day's production (a dozen cheeses or so in most chalets I have visited) has a unique taste quite different from one made a week later by the same guy from the same cows. This becomes very apparent when having a raclette in a place like the Villa Castle in Sierre (see my article here http://fxcuisine.com/default.asp?Display=184. They serve you raclette from 4 several cheeses in turn, each from a different high pasture. The difference in taste is incredible. This brings me to an important point. The way you melt the cheese makes a big difference in the taste. Traditionally raclette is melted on a flat stone placed next to a wood fire. I guess you can go that everywhere in the world. Most often, though, we use a high powered electric oven (see preceding article). In both cases the heat is high enough to transform the crust into an extremely crispy and tasty treat. This is really like the crust on a roasted leg of lamb or the crispy skin on a duck or chicken. This brings me to an important point which I hope you will forgive me. The type of tabletop device often used in families (and also in Switzerland I'm afraid) where each guest places a slice of industrial raclette on a little tray and melts it, is, unfortunately, very far from what it could be. It sure makes for a conforting and fun family dish, but in terms of taste, it is like watching Jurassic Park on youtube compared to watching it in an Imax theater. So, if you have access to raw milk from cows that graze actual grass with many wild herbs, use this to make your raclette and you'll see immense improvement in your product. Gift your little tabletop raclette machine and just use a thick, wet, wooden board or flat stone and do your raclette in a fireplace. You'll see the difference for yourself.

I hope you will forgive me for pointing out these two things (high pasture milk and type of oven) but since you seem to pursue your passion very far, this will bring you much fun.

Offline Bella

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Re: Raclette Cheese Making Recipe
« Reply #32 on: November 21, 2009, 03:31:42 PM »
Thanks Fxcuisine
I loved the articles on your website and can only dream of visiting wonderful places like that and tasting raclette as it is supposed to be eaten. And the story of making cheese up in the mountains was great, particularly the photos showing how it all comes about. What a hard life!

Where I live we have had temperatures between 32 and 41 degrees C for the last 2 weeks, and very little rain for the last 4 months! The thought of a fire is quite crazy, though some people do have them for the 2 or 3 days that we have winter!!! I certainly take your point about the small machines with trays for heating raclette - it has become very obvious to me in using them a few times that the cheese doesn't heat to the point that I would like it.

But it DOES make for a very congenial way to spend a few hours with friends, even though it is not perfectly traditional.
B

Offline fxcuisine

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Re: Raclette Cheese Making Recipe
« Reply #33 on: November 21, 2009, 03:54:26 PM »
Thanks Bella, indeed raclette and fondue always make for conviviality, if only because we wouldn't eat those dishes with strangers in the first place!

Fire to heat the house is certainly not needed in Australia, but you must have tons of barbecues. If you can get your hands on a half head of raclette, you could make a fire outside like a campfire, and place the cheese on the side. If nights are not too hot for people to stand around the fire, that should provide added conviviality, and much better taste.