Author Topic: Gooey & Sinful... Fourth Edition (fingers crossed)  (Read 6440 times)

Offline Boofer

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Re: Gooey & Sinful... Fourth Edition (fingers crossed)
« Reply #15 on: August 10, 2012, 12:44:03 AM »
Okay...scrubbed the new boards with coarse salt and running water, then set them out to get a little sun and catch some UV rays.

After that, I installed the boards in the minicaves and put the cheeses in place. Hope this works out okay. It's a little scary out here on the bleeding edge.  :P  :-\

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Offline Boofer

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Re: Gooey & Sinful... Fourth Edition (fingers crossed)
« Reply #16 on: August 12, 2012, 05:10:25 PM »
The cheeses stuck to the wood the first time I tried to lift them off the spruce boards. It looked to be the Geo growing into the wood fibers much as it has tried to do with the matting they had been on.

By gently easing the wheels back and forth, I was able to dislodge them and proceed with washing them. Per iratherfly's guidance, I have been washing only the side that will not be down in contact with the wood. So far they seem to be coming along nicely after two weeks. Perhaps one more week and then I'll wrap them up and put them in the big fridge for longer aging.

-Boofer-
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Offline Boofer

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Re: Gooey & Sinful... Fourth Edition (fingers crossed)
« Reply #17 on: August 17, 2012, 09:45:42 AM »
Boy, in this one minicave the cheeses refuse to be moved from the wood. The Geo grows into the wood fibers and anchors the wheels. Fortunately I was able to nudge them gently enough to get them washed one last time. I'm planning on wrapping them  in cheese paper on Sunday and storing them in the big fridge for several weeks.

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Offline bbracken677

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Re: Gooey & Sinful... Fourth Edition (fingers crossed)
« Reply #18 on: August 17, 2012, 09:17:40 PM »
After reading and seeing your Reb make...and reading the "dictum" (lol) this is definitely going on my make list.

oh so many cheeses and so little time  >:(

Offline Boofer

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Re: Gooey & Sinful... Fourth Edition (fingers crossed)
« Reply #19 on: August 18, 2012, 12:58:57 AM »
After reading and seeing your Reb make...and reading the "dictum" (lol) this is definitely going on my make list.

oh so many cheeses and so little time  >:(
Ah, an appreciative fan of fine, dry wit.  ;)

As far as effort in the art of dairy alchemy turning milk into cheese, the Reblochon has to be one of the easiest, hassle-free styles to make. Very protected, rind-wise, from foreign incursions. Rich and satisfying. Adaptable to a variety of food preparations. Table cheese, snack cheese, cooking cheese....

After three tasty previous editions, this fourth effort looks to be decidedly different...more delectable...possibly the best Reblochon I have made yet. The feel of the wheels as I handle them while washing and rubbing the Geo down gives me hope of a Reb genuinely true to the subject line.

I have two types of cheese paper that I will be using. The one I have successfully employed for other white rind and orange (linens) rind cheeses; and a new one recommended by iratherfly. I want to see if either type of paper outperforms the other.

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Offline Tiarella

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Re: Gooey & Sinful... Fourth Edition (fingers crossed)
« Reply #20 on: August 18, 2012, 07:13:00 AM »
Wow, reading your list of cultures used makes me wonder if you were one of those kids with a chemistry set mixing chemicals and hoping for amazing explosions!  Or maybe you didn't do that then and are remedying that childhood deficit now?  ; )   Maybe we're all mad scientist wannabes?

But anyway, how did you choose all those cultures?  I've tried reading the site list of cultures and it doesn't seem to give the level of info and insight I need to make choices.  Any other favorite info sources you can recommend?  Or is it all about the hours of reading this site?

Offline george (MaryJ)

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Re: Gooey & Sinful... Fourth Edition (fingers crossed)
« Reply #21 on: August 18, 2012, 08:02:54 AM »
Or is it all about the hours of reading this site?

Yep.   :)

There is an awful lot to absorb here - I found the best thing (for me) to do was to pick a cheese that I wanted to make, and go to that particular forum and read EVERY thread, starting with the oldest first.  That way my learning process for the cheese basically mimicked the learning process of the now-old-pros - even if it DID take days to get through all the related threads.  (I think I spent a week getting through the blue threads before I made my first Stilton.)

Yes, it takes a while, but it seems easier to try to absorb one type at a time, rather than skipping everywhere and getting all the tips and tricks for different cheese styles confused.

(Sorry to jump in ahead of ye, Boofer)
If I have to be a grownup, can I at least be telekinetic too?

Offline Boofer

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Re: Gooey & Sinful... Fourth Edition (fingers crossed)
« Reply #22 on: August 18, 2012, 09:39:02 AM »
(Sorry to jump in ahead of ye, Boofer)
My parents always told me "Ladies first..." and thank you, george, for stepping in.  :)

When I found this site back in 2009 there wasn't quite the breadth of info as there is today, but there were still a lot of things to know. You can see evidence of my lack of knowledge and the resulting mistakes I made in some earlier threads. Don't misunderstand me, I'm still learning what I don't know.  ;)

I have bought different cheeses to try to understand what a particular cheese style is all about (taste, smell, texture, rind, etc.) both to broaden my limited cheese palate and to give me some idea of a target I'm trying to hit if I decide to mimic a cheese style. Some of my efforts have been very successful...others, not so much. :(  I am especially thrilled if something turns out well and makes me look forward to it the next time I think about my cheeses.

When I began this adventure I had a few specific cheese styles that I thought would be good to emulate. Others popped into my vision after reading about them in the forum. I now have a handful of styles that I try to focus on improving: Esrom, Tomme, Fourme d'Ambert, Leiden, Beaufort, Reblochon, Tilsit, Maasdam/Jarlsberg. You may wonder "But what about Cheddar?" That is an unanswered question at the moment. Ask me after my one and two have aged in another 6-9 months.

These are cheeses I (and sometimes my wife) like to eat and they offer a challenge to my kitchen skills. One of the trends you'll see here in the forum are the numbers that may follow a member's cheese style. I adopted that method for myself to keep track of how many iterations a cheese has gone through. Hopefully, as the number grows, so does my knowledge of how to make that particular cheese and also the quality of the final product. That does not reflect the total number of cheeses I may have made to date (58). The word to keep in mind is repetition. Oh yeah, it helps to keep notes of what you've done so that you can do it again if it seems like Cheese Hall of Fame worthy.

Tiarella, to answer that first wonder of yours...yes, I did have a chemistry set and I almost blew up the house (sorry, folks!). I also had a microscope early on and liked to see pond critters swimming around.  :D  Where I live now precludes me having a garden that grows all manner of delights, so my garden is confined to my caves. Wondrous things grow in there and the deer, rabbits, and birds don't eat everything in sight.  8)

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Offline iratherfly

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Re: Gooey & Sinful... Fourth Edition (fingers crossed)
« Reply #23 on: August 18, 2012, 08:38:23 PM »
But anyway, how did you choose all those cultures?  I've tried reading the site list of cultures and it doesn't seem to give the level of info and insight I need to make choices.  Any other favorite info sources you can recommend?  Or is it all about the hours of reading this site?

Tiarella  - did you look at my Reblochon thread? I go through the cultures there and explain the selection. Perhaps this would be a  good resource for you if you are interested in this type of cheese.  See here: The Reblochon AOC Cheesemaking Recipe + Tips + Fun Facts!

Generally speaking, the cultures are just isolated strains of the same lactic bacterium, yeasts and fungi that you find in the traditional version of a cheese. They are harvested in a lab, put to sleep and packed in a bag, so you can for example use them to capture the aromas of the French Savoie, or the presentation of cheese from Andalusia, perhaps the texture of British cheese that is made with an entirely different cow breed, or maybe some flavor elements from the Swiss Alps? And you can do all of this in your very own milk, no matter if you are in New Zealand, Russia, South Aftica or Michigan.

When you set out to make a cheese you want to imagine some of your desired characteristics. This way you can come up with a mix of cultures that will give you roughly what you want. Many of the cultures out there are ready-made mixes that already include several different strains that commonly work together in many cheeses, so when you hear about MM100, Kazu, Flora Danica, MA4002, PLA etc. - these are just popular mixes of commonly used stuff.  In some cases you switch strains a little bit because maybe one is too strong and fast or too slow to grow, or one gets attacked by another.  There are only about 8 major starters across 99% of all cheeses (and you decide which ones to use in order to balance the desired eyes, nuttiness, sharpness, texture stiffness/suppleness, buttery and creamy notes etc.  Honestly, in spite of their lab-like names it's really no more than 8 new spices in your spice cabinet. For rind there are a bit more to know. About 12 major strains would give you most of the rind possibilities you would need. There are a few common types of blue too and a few texture, aging and flavor enhancers that you learn as-needed. So in short, all you have to do is set out to make something and find the culture or mix name that has the combination that looks compatible with it. It's totally okay to mix but just don't overdo it. If you ever need help, everyone here can give you suggestion for culture combinations.

At this point in my own cheesemaking, I actually use as little culture as possible. I let my local trees, soil, rocks, hay, and ocean water tell me the story through my local raw milk. It's fascinating to see what grows on cheese without intervention. Delicious too.

Offline Tiarella

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Re: Gooey & Sinful... Fourth Edition (fingers crossed)
« Reply #24 on: August 18, 2012, 08:56:15 PM »
But anyway, how did you choose all those cultures?  I've tried reading the site list of cultures and it doesn't seem to give the level of info and insight I need to make choices.  Any other favorite info sources you can recommend?  Or is it all about the hours of reading this site?

Tiarella  - did you look at my Reblochon thread? I go through the cultures there and explain the selection. Perhaps this would be a  good resource for you if you are interested in this type of cheese.  See here: The Reblochon AOC Cheesemaking Recipe + Tips + Fun Facts![/

At this point in my own cheesemaking, I actually use as little culture as possible. I let my local trees, soil, rocks, hay, and ocean water tell me the story through my local raw milk. It's fascinating to see what grows on cheese without intervention. Delicious too.


Wows!!  Thanks for the link to your culture explanation and I love what you say about the local flavor.  That's inspiring to me.  I make flower essences as my business and I've started using them in my cheeses.  They are not essential oils but rather the healing vibrational pattern of flowers captured and stabiized in liquid.  I'm not sure yet what I'll notice but it's interesting to play.  I've also been wondering about wrapping the cheeses in local leaves for aging.  I imagine that would bring a lot of fungi/bacteria/yeast into the aging process.  Do you think that is a very likely problem-causing choice?  Wrapping would certainly make it harder to inspect for mold.


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Offline Boofer

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Re: Gooey & Sinful... Fourth Edition (fingers crossed)
« Reply #25 on: August 18, 2012, 11:40:01 PM »
Nettles and grape leaves have been used in wrapping cheeses.

I actually use as little culture as possible. I let my local trees, soil, rocks, hay, and ocean water tell me the story through my local raw milk. It's fascinating to see what grows on cheese without intervention. Delicious too.
I've been trying to use minimal cultures and I am amazed at how little it actually takes to protect the rind of a cheese and the inner paste (praise for PLA, PC, linens).

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Offline iratherfly

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Re: Gooey & Sinful... Fourth Edition (fingers crossed)
« Reply #26 on: August 19, 2012, 03:08:21 AM »
Tiarella - if you have a cave, why would you want to wrap the cheese?  The idea of a cheese wrap is to mimic cave conditions around the rind. If you have a cave, let it grow wild and go nuts.

Boofer - Amazing, right?  Now just let go of the last little bit of that rind culture and try to find the rind species in your own environment. They will come, believe me.  Geo is easy to create naturally but allow me to announce: 4 weeks ago I made a batch of Chabichou-like cheese. Really a Crottin that I allow to ripen naturally with whatever geo pops up in it. Not adding PC and not expecting it to arrive naturally because I have never been able to get it to accept my natural invitation to show up. Amazingly, a week after the Geo started spreading its slime all over the place and make that wrinkly Chabichou rind, PC started popping up everywhere!  I am still not over this. I want to make this happen again! So excited to finally have my own private strain! I wish it was more aggressive though because it seems to have hard time competing with the geo and natural blue yeast spots. I guess I made a Crottin after all :)

Offline Tiarella

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Re: Gooey & Sinful... Fourth Edition (fingers crossed)
« Reply #27 on: August 19, 2012, 06:10:13 AM »
Well, I wrapped the cheese because I moved it to the house fridge and because that's what I thought I was supposed to do.  I think I believed that it was a way to slow down the ripening or to hold it at ripe for longer and since I'd gone overboard and made 3 batches of Brie in about 10 days I am worried about getting buried in it because I can't eat that much.  Plus I only have one of those small 45 bottle wine fridges and it's getting rather full.  I need a better way to use the space in it and I need find replacement racks that don't have the bottle waviness.  That's eating some of my vertical space.  I also need to create wood pieces of various sizes to place the cheeses on.  I want them fairly close to the wheel sizes since I think I want to maintain the ability of air to move around in there.

I have nettles but the leaves aren't so big. I do have wild grape leaves.  My cabbage is holey this year.  At least the outer leaves.  I do have some massive leaves on a redbud tree.  (Cercis canadensis)  They are heart-shaped and not toxic so I wonder about using them.  Wonder what they might introduce to the process....hmmmm.

Congrats on getting your own Geo strain, Yoav!

Offline Boofer

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Re: Gooey & Sinful... Fourth Edition (fingers crossed)
« Reply #28 on: August 19, 2012, 09:51:40 AM »
Today marks the third week and time for me to wrap this up.  :)

I had been successfully using cheese wrapping paper from The CheeseMaker, but I recently got some new papers from Yoav which he boasts are the gnat's patoot! I used my last two sheets of the older paper to compare it with the newer paper. Let's just see if there's any difference/improvement in the aging of my cheese. There are a lot of discoveries going on with this cheese make. Pretty exciting stuff!  8)

If you're out there, Yoav, I have a couple questions for you. If you don't see this, I'll have to PM you.
  • Along with the papers you sent, there is also a PlyBan-like material. Is it PlyBan? You hadn't mentioned anything about it.
  • Now that the Rebs are off the somewhat virgin spruce boards, what should I do to care for them so they're ready next time I want to make this cheese? Do I scrub them down with coarse salt and boiling water and then dry them? No doubt there would be some Geo growth into the top layer of wood fibers.
The four cheese wheels have been moved to the big fridge for a couple weeks cold aging. Around September 2nd I should have a good idea if this has been a worthwhile project.

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Offline iratherfly

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Re: Gooey & Sinful... Fourth Edition (fingers crossed)
« Reply #29 on: August 19, 2012, 11:30:32 PM »
Ooh yea, I recognize that wrap! Looking good Boofer, looking good!