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GENERAL CHEESE MAKING BOARDS (Specific Cheese Making in Boards above) => STANDARD METHODS - Aging Cheese => Topic started by: Cremaster on September 04, 2009, 10:04:39 PM

Title: Leaf Wrapping Cheeses
Post by: Cremaster on September 04, 2009, 10:04:39 PM
I purchased a bleu that was wrapped in sycamore leaves. One of the best bleus I have ever experienced!!!! I got to where I ate leaves and all, love does strange things. Any way the leaves had a wonderful essence that was transferred to the cheese.

I am wondering if black walnut leaves would be a good/interesting substitute. What do you guys think? I am wanting to make a cheese and wrap it in leaves like the bleu. Other than is black walnut a good leaf to use, how would you harvest the leaves, when would you harvest them (green or brown), how would you store them for later use, would you need to sanitize them and of course how do you get all those leafs to pretend to be a large piece of storage paper or cheese cloth?

Has anyone ever put black walnuts in a cheese? Technique and results please if you have.

Thanks, I am new here and still exploring the site. Nice site.
Title: Re: Leaf Wrapping Cheeses
Post by: FRANCOIS on September 04, 2009, 11:29:16 PM
Yes to all of the above.  You can also seperate layer sof cheese with black walnuts.

The leaves need to be harvested green for wrapping.  Steam blanch them and drain.  You can store them in the freezer right after blanching. 

If you want more flavor you can soak the blanched leaves in beer/wine/liquor.

Black walnut leaves are typically not used for wrapping though.  They are used for the attached photo.  This is packed in dried leaves in a terra cotta pot.
 
Title: Re: Leaf Wrapping Cheeses
Post by: Alex on September 05, 2009, 01:48:40 AM
I made a Manchego at the end of July and wraped it with grape leaves. I'd like to wait untill the end of Sept to cut it.

Cremaster: you may use almost every kind of leaves, vegetable, trees, the time they are not poisenous. There is the Yarg cheese wraped with nettle leaves.

FRANCOIS: to freeze blanched leaves, it's good to wrap them in thin layers with aluminium foil.

Tip: I've seen how the Druize people preserve large quantities of grape leaves for winter. They roll the fresh leaves (not blanched) very tight and fill with them 1.5 liters soft drink plastic bottles. With time, the leaves dry out (I not realy understand how, because the bottle is closed) and somehow gas is released that makes the bottle stiff like a rock. To use the leaves, they cut/breake the bottle and only now blanch them.
Title: Re: Leaf Wrapping Cheeses
Post by: FRANCOIS on September 05, 2009, 04:19:12 AM
You're right, I left that out.  I used to lay them out on a cookie pan and seperate with wax paper.

You can also vacuum seal ther leaves and they will ensile, which gives a sweet sort of taste.
Title: Re: Leaf Wrapping Cheeses
Post by: DeejayDebi on September 05, 2009, 09:37:49 AM
I didn't even think of grape leaves! Goin to head outside and see if they are any goods one left. Thanks!
Title: Re: Leaf Wrapping Cheeses
Post by: Alex on September 05, 2009, 12:21:12 PM
This is how my Manchego looks wrapped with grape leaves
Title: Re: Leaf Wrapping Cheeses
Post by: DeejayDebi on September 05, 2009, 07:59:17 PM
Very nice Alex! Very nice!
Title: Re: Leaf Wrapping Cheeses
Post by: John (CH) on September 05, 2009, 09:44:40 PM
Echo Debi, great looking grape leaves!
Title: Re: Leaf Wrapping Cheeses
Post by: FRANCOIS on September 05, 2009, 11:26:47 PM
Deb,
While you can use leaves this late in the season, they will be thick and difficult to wrap with.  You should pick leaves in June, when the vineyards are doing their first cuts, and save these leaves.  They are the easiest to work with plus they have the least amount of insect damage.  Suprisingly the best grape leaves I found in CT were the wild ones.  Perfect size, shape and very delicate in comparison to some of the cultivated varieties.
Title: Re: Leaf Wrapping Cheeses
Post by: DeejayDebi on September 06, 2009, 11:53:44 AM
Yes I think you are right Franscois my little grape vines are getting dry and brittle already. We have had some very cold night already in the 40's and they are ready to fall. They will be brown in a short while I think.  Next year!
Title: Re: Leaf Wrapping Cheeses
Post by: Tropit on October 25, 2009, 07:44:25 AM
I made a few, small wheels of a Jack cheese with grassy herbs and would like to wrap it in fig leaves that have been soaked in vermouth and gin and tie with string.  (Heck...I might drink the marinade when I'm done.)  At what stage do I start wrapping?  Do I just use the leaves as they are, or should I dip them in lard, or?  Suggestions please...thanks.

~Cindy
Title: Re: Leaf Wrapping Cheeses
Post by: Alex on October 25, 2009, 09:24:07 AM
You have to poach the leaves to soften them. Wrap after brining and drying.
Title: Re: Leaf Wrapping Cheeses
Post by: Tea on October 25, 2009, 03:26:52 PM
You can do the same with grape leaves too.  Agree with Alex, they need to be put in boiling water first.
Title: Re: Leaf Wrapping Cheeses
Post by: FRANCOIS on October 26, 2009, 03:13:34 AM
I always got better results steam blanching, rather than poaching.  It made the leaves more pliable quickly without breaking them down.

FYI some leaves will be ready very quickly (like grape) while others will take forever (like most tree leaves).
Title: Re: Leaf Wrapping Cheeses
Post by: Tropit on October 27, 2009, 08:08:54 AM
Thanks everyone...

This cheese is totally experimental.  I wrapped them in parboiled fig leaves and tied with string.  Amazingly, the water left the boiled fig leaves looked brown and smelled like fig syrup...yummm!  I think that my cheese is still a little wet.
Title: Re: Leaf Wrapping Cheeses
Post by: Alex on October 27, 2009, 11:37:22 AM
Make sure no air is trapped between the cheese and the leaves, otherwise you'll grow mold.
Title: Re: Leaf Wrapping Cheeses
Post by: Gürkan Yeniçeri on October 28, 2009, 10:43:34 PM
Cindy,

If you are close to a Turkish community go to the grocery shop there and ask for "dolma leaves" which is grape leaves preserved with heavy salt and vacuum packaged. It works well with cheese.

I have never tried Fig leaves but you may be right with the application of lard first and wrapping the cheese with fig leaves. I have used lard with a farm house cheddar and wrapped it with old cheese cloth. It will be drier than the other waxed ones though.
Title: Re: Leaf Wrapping Cheeses
Post by: Alex on October 29, 2009, 12:20:35 AM
Applying lard first will insulate the penetration of the grape leaves taste.
Preserved grape leaves do not have the real taste of the fresh ones.
Title: Re: Leaf Wrapping Cheeses
Post by: Tropit on October 29, 2009, 10:27:46 AM
Thanks for all the tips.

So....here's what I did: 
- I had two, small, 3" wheels of jack that had air dried for about 2 days. 
- I had been soaking the washed fig leaves in vermouth and gin for a few days prior, (before you all gave me other great ideas.) 
- I then took the leaves out of the marinade, washed them again and put them n boiling water for about 20 mins.  The leaves stayed somewhat firm and green, but did oxidize a little and were more pliable to work with.  The water looked a figgy brown and really smelled like figs...cool! 
- After that, I wrapped up the cheeses and dropped each wheel back in the marinade for about an hour.  (What the he**...sounded good at the time.)
- They are now curing in a plastic box with a paper napkin in there to absorb the extra moisture. I unwrapped one today to check for mold...none yet, fingers crossed. They smell heavenly!

Title: Re: Leaf Wrapping Cheeses
Post by: FRANCOIS on October 29, 2009, 01:39:54 PM
I always blanch then soak overnight, wrap cheese the next day.  I only pat dry the leaves before using.
Title: Re: Leaf Wrapping Cheeses
Post by: Kelley on October 30, 2009, 03:42:20 AM
I prefer to freeze my leaves instead of cooking them. I can gather them in season, keep them fresh in the freezer, then bring them out at any time of year to use them as a wrap for the cheeses.
Whether you soak them in brandy or alcohol would depend on what type of cheese you are wrapping and what you want as your final result.  My favorite leaf wrap is nettles. Freezing removes their sting, and the nettles impart a wonderful flavor, and allow a lovely natural rind to form, and can be eaten with the rest of the cheese. They can turn a somewhat boring Caerphilly into a wonderful Yarg. As you can see in my photos, you can use them on your soft white mold cheeses to become part of the cheese, or you can use other types of leaves to just wrap your cheeses in while they age.
Title: Re: Leaf Wrapping Cheeses
Post by: FRANCOIS on October 30, 2009, 03:59:22 AM
Those are lovely cheeses.  We have covered freezing in another thread, pointing out that the leaves need to be separated by wax paper or similar.  We have also discussed the best time of year to collect some leaves (grape in the Spring).  You are right that alcohol is not needed for leaf wrapping, it's a taste preference.
Title: Re: Leaf Wrapping Cheeses
Post by: Webmaster on October 30, 2009, 06:41:19 AM
Merged old thread on this Board and new thread in Cheddared Type Board on use of leaves in wrapping cheeses.

Kelley, those sure are some beautiful cheeses, huge congrats.
Title: Re: Leaf Wrapping Cheeses
Post by: Tropit on October 30, 2009, 08:50:34 AM
Kelley...this cheeses are so beautiful!  I love the way that you used just a leaf, or two, and not covered the entire cheese.  You can see the lovely outline of the leaves that way. 

I'll have to try freezing the leaves.  Our grapes and figs are just about ready to drop their leaves, so it's a perfect time.  Thanks for the tip!
Title: Re: Leaf Wrapping Cheeses
Post by: Alex on October 30, 2009, 10:20:48 AM
freezing leaves is a good way to soften them, no need to poach or simmilar.
Title: Re: Leaf Wrapping Cheeses
Post by: Kelley on October 30, 2009, 11:12:46 AM
And I actually don't separate the leave when I freeze them. I just stack them up on top of each other and put them flat in a zip lock bag. They separate pretty easily when they are frozen. Lazy method, but works for me. I'm afraid if it was too much work I wouldn't get around to it!
Title: Re: Leaf Wrapping Cheeses
Post by: DeejayDebi on October 30, 2009, 09:55:27 PM
Very creative use of the leaves Kelley. Well done!
Title: Re: Leaf Wrapping Cheeses
Post by: Gürkan Yeniçeri on November 01, 2009, 05:22:44 PM
I love you guys, you made me hungry for making and eating more cheese.
Title: Re: Leaf Wrapping Cheeses
Post by: DeejayDebi on November 01, 2009, 05:54:28 PM
Just curious the Greek resteraunt here uses a lot of grape leaves in food prep. I dont' know where they get them but I wonder if they would work in cheese? They seem to be very soft.
Title: Re: Leaf Wrapping Cheeses
Post by: Gürkan Yeniçeri on November 01, 2009, 10:30:40 PM
Debi,
They are preserved grape leaves (in salt and brine) and yes, they should be OK for cheese. In  fact I will be trying this soon.
Title: Re: Leaf Wrapping Cheeses
Post by: Alex on November 01, 2009, 11:32:14 PM
But they won't have theit original taste and flavor. When I cook with brined leaves (as not always I can get fresh) the main result is the texture I feel in my mouth and not the taste. Huge difference. I wouldn't even try preserved leaves for cheese wrapping. Try almost anything else you can get fresh.
Title: Re: Leaf Wrapping Cheeses
Post by: Missy Greene on December 28, 2009, 08:46:29 PM
 You folks are all so great.  This is so exciting, I have been trying for months to find out about leaf wrapped cheeses. Do any of you know of any books that include this? I feel like I have too many basic questions about it  to ask here.
thanks, Missy
Title: Re: Leaf Wrapping Cheeses
Post by: DeejayDebi on December 28, 2009, 09:40:12 PM
Here are a few things to give you ideas:


http://www.artisanalcheese.com/products.asp?dept=1085 (http://www.artisanalcheese.com/products.asp?dept=1085)

http://articles.sfgate.com/2009-05-17/food/17203268_1_leaf-cheese-board-goat-s-milk (http://articles.sfgate.com/2009-05-17/food/17203268_1_leaf-cheese-board-goat-s-milk)


Title: Re: Leaf Wrapping Cheeses
Post by: Tea on December 29, 2009, 03:05:22 PM
Well I wondered why my comment on the first page was quite inane, two threads have been merged.  Whew, I was thinking what an idiotic post.

Anyway, Deb the cheese in the second link that you posted, looks like it has slip skin.  Is that how it is supposed to be?

I have also been wondering if you could do this with a basil leaf.  Just place one leaf on the top and bottom, or round the sides of a cheese?  Do they stick on, or do they need to be tied there.  Alex's cheese looks like it is sticking, while others are wrapped.

Thanks for everyone for a great informative post.
Title: Re: Leaf Wrapping Cheeses
Post by: DeejayDebi on December 29, 2009, 09:48:15 PM
Tea -
I kind of thought it looked like a brain but the idea of using cabbage leaves was what I was looking at.
Title: Re: Leaf Wrapping Cheeses
Post by: FRANCOIS on December 30, 2009, 02:14:15 PM
Well I wondered why my comment on the first page was quite inane, two threads have been merged.  Whew, I was thinking what an idiotic post.

Anyway, Deb the cheese in the second link that you posted, looks like it has slip skin.  Is that how it is supposed to be?

I have also been wondering if you could do this with a basil leaf.  Just place one leaf on the top and bottom, or round the sides of a cheese?  Do they stick on, or do they need to be tied there.  Alex's cheese looks like it is sticking, while others are wrapped.

Thanks for everyone for a great informative post.

Banon is a very, very fragrant cheese.  It is supposed to look that way.  I don't care for the stuff.  You can place a single leaf on these cheeses, make sure it is moist and you are using a flexible/thin leaf.  It also needs to be handled gingerly.

Good luck.
Title: Re: Leaf Wrapping Cheeses
Post by: Tea on December 30, 2009, 09:23:57 PM
Francois thankyou very much.  Your advice is always much appreciated.

I was wondering, just from looking at some of the pic, whether a herbal leaf, could be added externally to a cheese like Brie/Cam for extra flavour, which would then be incorporated in with the mould.  Would the addition of a herb ruin the flavour.  I realise that it probably wouldn't be traditional, but is it worth playing around with?
Title: Re: Leaf Wrapping Cheeses
Post by: DeejayDebi on December 30, 2009, 09:32:56 PM
Gee I have a big ole fresh bundle of dill maybe I'll wrap my next Havarti?
Title: Re: Leaf Wrapping Cheeses
Post by: Alex on December 31, 2009, 01:14:13 AM
Tea, I would give it a try, I mean basil leaves. Freeze them for 12-24 hours, they will soften and pliable to cover all of your cheese. For a better result, I would go for a longer aged cheese, not Cam. Try washing a Cam with beer or cider or sweet white wine.

Debi, I think dill is much tricky to wrap a havarti, mix it with the curds.

When I wrap a cheese with leaves, I wipe it regularly with salt brine like a natural rind aged cheese.
Title: Re: Leaf Wrapping Cheeses
Post by: DeejayDebi on December 31, 2009, 09:36:39 PM
Alex I always mix it in the curds. I bought the dill for the next Havarti which hopfully with be tomorrow. I have to  try that water bath trick I was thinking of setting the cheese on a bed of dill and covering it wilth it also.
Title: Grape Leaves
Post by: Brie on June 02, 2010, 09:41:05 PM
Great looking cheese, Alex--I wish I had access to fresh grape leaves. I have been wiping my current Manchego with Sweet Paprika--can't wait to try it.
Title: Re: Grape Leaves
Post by: Alex on June 02, 2010, 10:33:57 PM
Thanks Lee, good luck and don't forget to keep us updated.

Brie, very nice looking rind. The season of fresh grape leaves just started by us now. May be you can find something else. We use them for stuffing as well. I am not sure about the contribution of the paprika to the taste of the cheese, but to the rind only, I like it, I eat the rind. The leaves wrapping wasn't edible. I prefere the rind treated cheeses, unfortunately, I not always have the time to dedicate to such "activity".
Title: Re: Grape Leaves
Post by: Brie on June 02, 2010, 11:24:15 PM
How funny, Alex--I spent the last weekend trying to find your pics and recipes for the cheese you have, again, posted. I love the method you used with the beer wash. Excuse the pun, but it is "utterly" amazing. How did it end up tasting?
Title: Re: Grape Leaves
Post by: Alex on June 02, 2010, 11:59:27 PM
Brie, you may always call me here or through messages.
To be honest, I didn't like the "rotten" taste of the 3 M old fresh parsley. If I could isolate that, it would be awesome. I'll have to try other herbs.
Title: Re: Grape Leaves
Post by: iratherfly on June 03, 2010, 01:30:35 AM
Beautiful cheeses you guys!
Funny thing, I spent the entire weekend looking for fresh grape or chestnut leaves and couldn't get any. I couldn't even get the preserved kind (which I am not sure are useful because of the citric acid used to preserve them). Alex, how do you use them? My intention was to boil chestnut leaves, then dry them and soak them in Brandy, Grappa, Marc or Calvados and use them to wrap my new goat's cheese experiments. I don't know if I would have boiled grape leaves but I am looking for advice here. Olive leaves is another interesting option. Do you guys know of others?

I love the Pimenton (sweet paprika) rind; it's very common with Spanish cheeses. It lends character to the flavor as you eat the cheese but doesn't seem to deeply affect the flavor profile during maturation, at least not as much as herbs or bacterial rinds.

Alex, your parsley issue is the reason I put nothing in cheese. I would only put stuff in the rind. Fruits, nuts, herbs, spices for me belong on the side. That being said... this is a gorgeous cheese (reminds me of Spanish Tetilla). Can I get the recipe?
Title: Re: Grape Leaves
Post by: Alex on June 03, 2010, 12:09:03 PM
Yoav,

The preserved leaves won't be good. The fresh ones I only poach them, no need to boil. Olive leaves are too small and too tough. Don't soak the leaves  in Brandy, etc. I've made a Camembert Affine au Cidre de la Maison. It should have been wrapped with a handkerchief soaked in cider and regularly hydrated for 14 days (in the cave). I hadn't cider, so I had to use some substitute. It was worth the experiment. On the attached pics you can see the wrapped and the opened cheese.
Don't ignore all kinds of additives into the cheese. Look at the one with wall nuts, you have my permission ;) to introduce it to the french chef.
At last, it looks like a Tetilla, actually it is Boulette d'Avesnes. It's made from cow's milk + P.Candidum, as a lactic type cheese, formed by hand to the typical bullet shape and washed with beer after blooming.
Title: Re: Grape Leaves
Post by: iratherfly on June 06, 2010, 02:43:35 AM
I think you are right about the olive leaves. The grape leaves make sense just to poach, maple leaves and chestnuts leaves still need boiling or cooking int he brandy/calvados/marc.

I still think that Calvados would give it lots of character. Calvados is also a fantastic replacement for Cider. What did you end up using with this camembert? I assume that you aged it normally for a week and then two weeks with hanketcheif, then a few days without it to get it dry? I have seen a fantastic Camembert (Cru) of Normandie that was aged in Calvados and coated with bread crumbs in France. yummm

The Bouca cheese with the walnuts is indeed beautiful. My issue is more with peppers, fresh herbs (or dry herbs inside which become overly very bitter as their essential oils break down when the cheese ages).
Title: Re: Grape Leaves
Post by: Alex on June 06, 2010, 07:58:23 AM
I used a nonalcoholic cider, as for the affinage, your description is right.
Title: Re: Grape Leaves
Post by: DeejayDebi on June 06, 2010, 01:16:31 PM
I am so glad this came up again I had forgotten and my grapes have leaves now. Love the look of your cheeses so lovely. Hope they will be good for a few weeks I am leaving for my annual smokeout (BBQ) with my forum member in a few days and can't make cheeese this week.
Title: Re: Grape Leaves
Post by: iratherfly on June 06, 2010, 04:00:14 PM
You selling them Debi? If they are from trees that were not treated with chemicals I would love to buy some
Title: Re: Grape Leaves
Post by: DeejayDebi on June 06, 2010, 04:23:37 PM
Well I certaainly wouldn't sell them but maybe I could mail you some. I only have two small vines and I am not sure what to look for exactly. Any leave that isn't eatten? I do not use chemicals of any kind unless you consider dish soap a chemical I do use that sometimes or moth balls I use them for ants and bugs too.

My leaves are smaller than the size of my hand is that big enough? Should I cook them first or leave them raw? I'm thinking maybe I could vacuum seal them to keep them moist? Any Ideas?
Title: Re: Grape Leaves
Post by: MarkShelton on June 06, 2010, 06:43:04 PM
I've got about 20 grapevines, and while I don't want to just start plucking away at the leaves, I can send you some when it is time to thin the leaves out, or when the grapes are nearly ripe. I don't use any chemicals on the vines. I'd just charge you for the shipping, you don't have to worry about buying them.

What would be the best way to ship them? Frozen? Zip-locked? Maybe with dry ice?
Title: Re: Grape Leaves
Post by: Brie on June 06, 2010, 07:21:22 PM
I want some! Please, please, please. My left arm will be in the mail to you! Okay, not really. If they are fresh from the vine, then I would imagine zip-locked in a sturdy envelope would be fine--we cannot let the leaves fold or break. Let me know if I am one of the priveleged.
Title: Re: Grape Leaves
Post by: MarkShelton on June 06, 2010, 07:42:22 PM
It will be quite a while until verasion (when the grapes start changing color and ripening). At that point, the grapes will be hanging freely and I'll pluck leaves that are crowding and shading the ripening grapes. I'm not sure how many will be available, but I'll put up a thread then and go from there based on interest and feasibility.
Title: Re: Grape Leaves
Post by: DeejayDebi on June 06, 2010, 07:57:56 PM
Do you know when a leaf is ripe?
Title: Re: Grape Leaves
Post by: iratherfly on June 06, 2010, 10:30:02 PM
Thank you Debi and Mark! That's so kind of you! If you accept PayPal let me at least pay for the shipping!

I think vacuum or Ziploc would be enough. These leaves are not like perishable food, they can last OK for a couple of days in the mail. The size doesn't really matter much as I can use them for anything from Cabecou, or Crottin all the way to large Tomme.
I am doing some experiments lately with tiny one-bite (35g/2oz a pop) cheeses of intense creamy flavors. The Cabecou Feuille or Banon de Chalais are great examples for what I am trying to do.
http://www.artisanalcheese.com/cheeses/Cabecou-Feuille (http://www.artisanalcheese.com/cheeses/Cabecou-Feuille)
http://www.artisanalcheese.com/prodinfo.asp?number=PC-10036 (http://www.artisanalcheese.com/prodinfo.asp?number=PC-10036)

I will send you guys the address in a private message
Title: Re: Grape Leaves
Post by: DeejayDebi on June 06, 2010, 10:47:43 PM
It will be quite a while until verasion (when the grapes start changing color and ripening). At that point, the grapes will be hanging freely and I'll pluck leaves that are crowding and shading the ripening grapes. I'm not sure how many will be available, but I'll put up a thread then and go from there based on interest and feasibility.

Mark -

I have NO idea what you just said but I thought the leaves were to be young new leaves no? Anyone know what a ripe leave should look like? Am I looking for something special? I wouldn't want to make anyone sick. I will be heading out in a few days for a mad dash to PA, KY and TN  in 10 days driving so I don't really have time right now but I will get on it when I get back - remind me least I forget! You guys have my email!
Title: Re: Grape Leaves
Post by: MarkShelton on June 07, 2010, 07:47:16 AM
Actually, I have no idea when a leaf is ripe...
I've usually just concerned myself with the ripening of the grapes. I'll check on it.
Title: Re: Grape Leaves
Post by: mtncheesemaker(Pam) on June 07, 2010, 08:21:54 AM
Brie, I could send you some also. I am in Colorado so much closer to you for shipping.
Pam
Title: Re: Grape Leaves
Post by: iratherfly on June 07, 2010, 10:17:57 AM
I think that when the leaf is still green but not tiny or brand new than it must be ripe. I assume that if there are ripe grapes on the vine than it will be at the peak of its sugar levels. It really doesn't matter much; you just use them as a food wrap that is decorative and safe to eat. The ripeness of them does not affect the cheese as I understand it; you blench/steep/marinate them in liquor (Brandy, Grapa, Marc, Calvados, etc) and the leaves release the flavors, sugars and aromas slowly back into the cheese - that's what's important
Title: Re: Grape Leaves
Post by: MarkShelton on June 07, 2010, 04:53:40 PM
From what I found, leaves that are picked to make into food are best picked from spring to early summer. That way, they are still tender. They tend to get tougher and more fiberous as the summer goes on.

If they are going to be used for the flavor they infuse when you wrap a cheese in them, as opposed to eating them in a dish, I'm not sure that they need to be young, though younger leaves would be more supple and less likely to break or tear if wrapping a cheese. If they are boiled/blanched/marinated, etc before they are applied, I'm not sure this will make a difference either. I don't know much about the process, but I'd be interested in seeing the results.
Title: Re: Grape Leaves
Post by: Brie on June 07, 2010, 06:13:53 PM
Thanks, Pam--I'll take you up on that! I'll post my address in a PM and let me know how much it costs.
Thanks again!
Title: Re: Grape Leaves
Post by: MarkShelton on June 07, 2010, 07:34:24 PM
Going along with the grape theme, check out this cheese, called Sarments d'Amour (branch of love). They are originally from the Rhone where goat herds and vineyards are plentiful. I'm sure the grapevine cutting doesn't impart any flavors, but adds a flair to this cheese.

(I didn't make them, just saw them in the World Cheese Book and found some pics online)
Title: Re: Grape Leaves
Post by: iratherfly on June 07, 2010, 08:29:38 PM
Pam - I'll take you up on it too!

Mark - I love it! Did you make it? Are you intending to? Have you seen the photos I put on this board which I took in France last month? They had these tiny one-bite goat cheeses on sticks they call Barrate ("churn" in French).  I am now working on my own recipe for a very similar cheese, only it's cylindrical in shape instead of cone and the buckwheat straw in the center will deliver air to with a slight smear of of P.Roqueforti, resulting in a single blue vain inside. I will send photos when I finally get it right. Takes a lot of work to get this one to work..

Here is the photo of the Barrate cheese from Paris
Title: Re: Grape Leaves
Post by: judec on June 10, 2010, 08:57:06 PM
Hi Alex,
Just looking at this thread and wondering if you can tell me, do you age some of your cheeses in tinfoil??  Just looking at the pictures of your yummy fridge full.

Jude.
Title: Re: Grape Leaves
Post by: Alex on June 10, 2010, 09:22:18 PM
Yes Jude, in the past I did wrap mold ripened cheeses in wrinkled alum foil, to keep humidity level high as needed. Since I have the US Cold Mist Humidifier in the "cave", I don't need this method.
Title: Re: Grape Leaves
Post by: DeejayDebi on June 27, 2010, 01:23:50 PM
Just wondering if anyone came up with an idea for what constitutes a ripe grape leaf yet?
Title: Re: Grape Leaves
Post by: MarkShelton on June 27, 2010, 01:58:57 PM
As far as I can tell, and from what I have found out, grape leaves do not need to "ripen". They are not like a fruit that needs to build up sugar. However, it makes a difference when you pick them in that the older they get, the more tough and fibrous they become. So if you intend to make stuffed grape leaves, or another dish where they are consumed, then it is best to pick them early summer when they are still tender. If used for a wrapper, then I'm not sure it would make a difference.
Title: Re: Grape Leaves
Post by: DeejayDebi on June 27, 2010, 03:09:21 PM
Great thanks. I didn't know how leaves acted for food.
Title: Re: Leaf Wrapping Cheeses
Post by: DeejayDebi on July 03, 2010, 03:20:08 PM
Just cut the grass back there and checked my grape vines they are really shaded this year by the danged neighbors pine tree that's over growning my yard. Not a lot of leaves this year mostly naked vines. I think he is killing my grape vines with that danged pine tree.
Title: Re: Leaf Wrapping Cheeses
Post by: iratherfly on July 03, 2010, 10:50:56 PM
So while I am waiting for grape leaves, I tried a few cheeses with the far more delicate Sesame leaves. They are beautiful to look at and they are so thin that they easily absorb anything you steep them in. They also stick to the cheese in a matter that makes them more likely to be eaten rather than peeled away and tossed.

I first steeped them in Rum and wrapped a Crottin with them. The rind grew through them! They had a really nice effect on the flavor.
On my second try, I steeped them in Calvados. I then wrapped them over this tiny surface-ripened goat's cheese I make which I call Booba (It's a one-biter 35g/2Oz)

This is what it looked like:
Title: Re: Leaf Wrapping Cheeses
Post by: DeejayDebi on July 03, 2010, 10:56:59 PM
They are so cute!
Title: Re: Leaf Wrapping Cheeses
Post by: iratherfly on July 04, 2010, 04:13:19 AM
Thanks Debi! I call them Booba - it's Hebrew for "Baby" or "Doll". My Fiancée's pet name :)
Title: Re: Leaf Wrapping Cheeses
Post by: DeejayDebi on July 04, 2010, 11:02:33 AM
Cute name too!
Title: Re: Leaf Wrapping Cheeses
Post by: iratherfly on July 18, 2010, 12:32:49 AM
A shout out to Pam.... THANK YOU!!!
Soaked your grape leaves in Calvados for a few days and began wrapping my 14 day old Crottins. I don't actually know if this should be done (beginning, middle or end of ripening? Tight or loose? Should it be soaking wet or wiped off first? Dry? How long should it be steeped in the Calvados? I know some people do this for months and some don't wait at all - does anyone know?)

I figured at 14 days it has enough rind to take on an external influence, yet not enough rind to block off the flavor enhancement.

I know, this rind is strangely spotty (Geo all around but little spots of high PC blooming here and there, really weird but I always get that). I wonder what the leaves will do
Title: Re: Leaf Wrapping Cheeses
Post by: MarkShelton on July 18, 2010, 03:46:52 AM
Those are beautiful! +1
Title: Re: Leaf Wrapping Cheeses
Post by: mtncheesemaker(Pam) on July 18, 2010, 01:29:25 PM
You're very welcome!
Those cheeses look Sweet!
How do you know which is Geo and which is Pen?
Title: Re: Leaf Wrapping Cheeses
Post by: iratherfly on July 18, 2010, 04:35:10 PM
Thanks!

The geo always comes in first to prep the surface pH for the PC and create the rind. The creamy yellow around the cheese is the Geo (and a little but of mild B.Linen from the PLA I've used). Those spotty flowering white clouds are the PC. Geo and PC feels a bit different even in drier harder cheeses. The geo covers everything (white powder-like appearance in drier cheese, rind on young soft cheese) while the PC is like a velvety high bloom that will leave your fingerprint on it if you hold the cheese...

By the way, the leafs turned brown after a few days in the Calvados. I read somewhere that on some cheeses like some versions of Banon they wrap it with leaves and wait for them to turn brown so they know the cheese is ready.
Title: Re: Leaf Wrapping Cheeses
Post by: Brie on July 18, 2010, 08:22:24 PM
Now that I have my grape leaves from Pam, I have been studying this thread. I froze the leaves when they arrived, as I live in Arizona and they were quite hot on arrival. Have some Sainte Maure draining (with a layer of sweet paprika in the middle). Advice advised, as I continue on with all of you (w)rappers. I originally intended to layer outside of cheese with paprika as well; yet, now am thinking about wrapping with the grape leaves (un-macerated in liquere). Ah, I have four of them--I think I'll try a quad of St. Maure:
# 1) Paprika Rind only
#2) Paprika Rind with Grape Leaves
#3) Basil Leaf Rind
#4) Grape Leaves steeped in Cointreau
Will send along pics and outcomes.
Title: Re: Leaf Wrapping Cheeses
Post by: Nitai on July 18, 2010, 10:43:44 PM
Basil leaf rind! I have been wanting to do a leaf rind but did not think I had any leaves that would work (grapes just went in this year). But I have tons of basil. I don't want to soak in alcohol, so what might be the process for me?
Title: Re: Leaf Wrapping Cheeses
Post by: iratherfly on July 19, 2010, 03:08:44 AM
Brie - Paprika AND grape leaves on Saint Maure? Watch out not to mask the wonderful natural flavor of this cheese. Saint Maure really doesn't need much - is it usually packed full of its own flavor and aroma.

Traditionally there is some soaking of the leaves. It softens them and can deliver flavors, yeasts and rind pH changes to the cheese, as well as humidity to protect them and help bacteria grow. Basil may be overpowering and it also very thin so the rind may grow right through it (happened to me with sesame leaves which are about the same thickness). It also browns and spoils rather quickly and very sensitive to temperature changes.

I like your idea #4 the best - Grape Leaves steeped in Cointreau. I think that citrus flavors go very well with lactic goat's cheeses. I recently did a Chèvre with lemon oil and Herbes de Provence and it was yumm (mind you, this wasn't an aged cheese, just a simple Chèvre strained for a couple of days). In the same batch I did another Chèvre with Pimenton and olive oil. (photo below) I find that Pimenton (Spanish sweet Paprika) is far more gentle and compatible with goat's cheese than the classic Hungarian Paprika variety.

Nitai - if you don't want to use alcohol, there are some interesting alternatives to think of; how about apple or pear cider? Balsamic vinegar or sherry vinegar can do quite amazing things too but need to be applied with care not to overwhelm the cheese (diluted and salted I suppose, vinegar has a pH level of 3-4 so you don't want to kill your rind). You can also use olive oil or truffle oil or lemon oil.
Title: Re: Leaf Wrapping Cheeses
Post by: Gina on July 19, 2010, 11:39:26 AM
To follow up on irf's suggestion of vinegar, I noticed a comment next to a leaf-wrapped cheese in the book French Cheeses, pg24 :  "Dried chestnut leaf softened and sterilized by boiling in water and vinegar"
Title: Re: Leaf Wrapping Cheeses
Post by: iratherfly on July 19, 2010, 01:08:50 PM
True, chestnuts leaves are very common with French cheeses and appear in versions of Rocamadour, Cabécou, Petit Billy, Banon and others.

I believe they use the vinegar not just as a flavor enhancer but also as a softener. You know how you use it sometimes to clean glasses and other things in the kitchen with calcium deposit? It breaks down the calcium - the same happens to the calcium in the leaf (why crispy lettuce stays strong in water but becomes wilted in vinaigrette)
Title: Re: Leaf Wrapping Cheeses
Post by: Mia on January 07, 2014, 09:07:27 PM
This thread is awesome! I'm a newbie cheesemaker and have seen references but didn't know where to get more information.

Has anyone tried Bay Leaf presses on the outside of a cheese? A friend of mine suggested it with red peppercorns.

Thanks!