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CHEESE TYPE BOARDS (for Cheese Lovers and Cheese Makers) => ADJUNCT - Lactic Surface White Mold (Penicillium candidum) Ripened => Topic started by: HB on January 29, 2012, 12:26:13 PM

Title: Valençay style cheese and a few questions
Post by: HB on January 29, 2012, 12:26:13 PM
Hello all. I am in the process of cave aging a Valençay style cheese and am conflicted on how to proceed. They were started on 1/19, molded on 1/20, unmolded/salted/ashed on 1/22, and put in the cave at 50 degrees and 83% RH on 1/23. The penicillium candidum began to grow over the ash by the next day. My recipe calls for them to remain in the cave for a full two weeks, then wrapped and put into the fridge. Other sources say wrap as soon as they are fully covered in PC (which would be today at 6 days in the cave). There is also conflicting information on whether to put them in the regular fridge once wrapped or keep them in the cave. Any thoughts?

They look like this at 10 days into make and 6 days in the cave
Title: Re: Valençay style cheese and a few questions
Post by: HB on January 29, 2012, 07:03:54 PM
Responding to myself, but I just wanted to say that I used the more aggressive PC Neige and Geo 13 in this make(it was all I had on hand at the time) which I believe to be responsible for the quick bloom. I plan to use PC VS and Geo 15 on my next batch later this week. The rind does not seem thick yet, but the top corners are slightly softened.
Title: Re: Valençay style cheese and a few questions
Post by: JeffHamm on January 29, 2012, 10:52:55 PM
I would wrap now and put them in a regular fridge.  An aggressive PC is more likely to cause slipskin, so cooling it down to slow the growth should help protect against that.  I would also suggest eating one of them.

- Jeff
Title: Re: Valençay style cheese and a few questions
Post by: HB on January 31, 2012, 04:33:29 PM
Ok, I wrapped them today and put them in the fridge. I see no sign of slip skin as of yet, just faster than ideal surface ripening. If they looked like this a week from now I would be very pleased. Will probably try one in the next few days. Trying to hold out since they are still a bit young. Pictures to come!
Title: Re: Valençay style cheese and a few questions
Post by: HB on January 31, 2012, 04:45:48 PM
Today they looked like this just prior to wrapping:
Title: Re: Valençay style cheese and a few questions
Post by: HB on February 01, 2012, 03:40:08 PM
I cracked the first one today. It was fantastic! The rind was nice and thin. The paste was thick, creamy, and slightly chalky with the pleasant, mild tang I associate with these types of cheeses. The very edges have just begun to soften. I have 7 more of these that I plan to open in a progression to see how they age in the fridge. I am picking up more milk for another batch of these today and had planned to switch from PC Niege and GC 13 to PC VS and GC 15. After trying these I am now thinking about sticking to the Neige and maybe just changing the GC. One variable at a time is best anyway. Yay! I'm so pleased these turned out.
Title: Re: Valençay style cheese and a few questions
Post by: Brie on February 01, 2012, 10:34:14 PM
Looks great! I have found that Valencays, St. Maure, Humbolt Fog's, all age very quickly. All, basically the same make. After 4 weeks they become way too strong for me. Taste them at 3 weeks, and then devour--your life will never be the same...
Title: Re: Valençay style cheese and a few questions
Post by: JeffHamm on February 01, 2012, 11:37:39 PM
Well done!  I've never tried any of these ash covered cheeses (to taste, let alone make), but the paste on these look very nice.

- Jeff
Title: Re: Valençay style cheese and a few questions
Post by: HB on February 06, 2012, 02:17:26 PM
Ok, I started the second batch of these on 2/2. This time I used PC VS and Geo 15, and Meso Aromatic B. I used 4 gallons this time with the intention of trying to fit twice the amount of milk into the same eight molds. I did this for two reasons. One is that if you look at my finished cheeses from the last 2 gallon batch they are significantly shorter than a traditional Valençay. The other reason was in my book The Fabrication of Farmstead Goat Cheese by Jean-Claude Le Jaouen he states that a Valençay has 2 liters of milk per cheese. With 8 molds this works out to a little more than 4 gallons. I used fresh raw goat milk that I pasteurized myself at 145 F. After 18 hours at room temp(72 F) I direct ladled the curds. While I was able to fit significantly more curd into the molds than last time(waiting patiently while they drained down)I did have some left over curd that I put into 4 St-Marcellin molds. Today I unmolded, salted, and ashed the cheeses. I will let them dry for at least one more day, possibly two. The curd was a little bit wetter than last time. In the pictures notice that they appear taller and more consistent with a traditional Valençay. Wish me luck!
Title: Re: Valençay style cheese and a few questions
Post by: HB on February 06, 2012, 02:24:48 PM
And today:
Title: Re: Valençay style cheese and a few questions
Post by: anutcanfly on February 06, 2012, 03:45:33 PM
Awesome Job!  Those cheeses look delectable.  :P
Title: Re: Valençay style cheese and a few questions
Post by: JeffHamm on February 06, 2012, 04:43:26 PM
Nice.  Although I'm not at all familiar with the ash based cheeses from what I've read and seen on this forum those look to be superbly done.

- Jeff
Title: Re: Valençay style cheese and a few questions
Post by: iratherfly on February 06, 2012, 11:19:30 PM
If I can give you some pointers...
Go easy on the ash. Ash should be very light so that it doesn't feel gritty in your mouth, doesn't paint your friend's teeth and doen't spread all over that beautiful white pâté when you cut the cheese.  One of the best ways to do that is to mix the ash with the salt at the rate of 1 part ash to 5 parts salt. this will give you the dust that you need, good even coverage but too thin to smear.

Sedondly, I would drain them more. A good sign with Valençay that you haven't drained them enough is that the pyramids are short and wide.  Proper draining will render them narrow - they will be stiff enough not to collapse to a lower pyramid once you turn them onto the draining mat. Excess moisture would cause the rind to grow too fast and it would go lumpy or ammonia on you prematurely. If you drain it more you will end up with a more stable cheese that can remain in its "á point" state (the "perfect to eat" time in its lifecycle) for far longer period. Such cheese will harden as it becomes older, becoming more goaty and eventually turn into a grating cheese. Too much moisture and it will go the other way as it gets old: ammonia, softness, bitterness.

Other than these tipe, I think you got it! It looks very good! Hooray! A cheese for you :)
Title: Re: Valençay style cheese and a few questions
Post by: HB on February 07, 2012, 11:09:19 AM
Thank you for the pointers. When you say to drain them more, do you mean leave them longer in the molds, leave them longer out of the molds, or pre-drain before molding? These are the three ways I can think of to drain them more. The first batch did not flatten out after being in the molds but rather drained down to the height they ended up at by the first day in the molds. So far this new batch is holding their shape well.
Title: Re: Valençay style cheese and a few questions
Post by: HB on February 07, 2012, 12:46:34 PM
Opened up another of the first batch today. In the picture you can see that the inside is riper. The taste was not significantly different, perhaps slightly creamier and more complex (no bitterness either). We ate it with toasted country olive bread, fig jam, and aged balsamic. Yum!
Title: Re: Valençay style cheese and a few questions
Post by: iratherfly on February 07, 2012, 07:34:19 PM
Thank you for the pointers. When you say to drain them more, do you mean leave them longer in the molds, leave them longer out of the molds, or pre-drain before molding? These are the three ways I can think of to drain them more. The first batch did not flatten out after being in the molds but rather drained down to the height they ended up at by the first day in the molds. So far this new batch is holding their shape well.
I mean pre-drain and leave in the mould longer. It's always surprising how much more you can drain semi-lactic/lactic curd.

Ideally your target is to mould the curd to the capacity of your mould, so when it's time to un-mould it, it looks like the shape of your mould and keep shape. Otherwise, If you are going to lose 35%-50% of your volume as whey drains, you will unmould it only to find a smaller, shorter cheese which will be still wet and squishy. With pre-draining you will get a stiff, dry and stable cheese.

A side effect of overly-wet cheese is premature rind growth which can give you ammonia and slip skin defects.  You may have one less cheese per gallon following my advice, but the cheeses will have better volume and quality.

How old is the cheese in your new photo?
Title: Re: Valençay style cheese and a few questions
Post by: HB on February 07, 2012, 09:10:51 PM
My cheese in the latest photo was started on 1/19, put into the cave on 1/23, and wrapped and put into fridge on 1/31(early I know, but it was prematurely ripening). My target for cave affinage was 2/6. I used less aggressive molds this go and plan to clean out my "cave" prior to putting them in as to avoid cross contamination.
Title: Re: Valençay style cheese and a few questions
Post by: iratherfly on February 07, 2012, 11:08:22 PM
How long have you been making cheese? Have you been making other artisan or cultured foods (or beer/wine) before? You seem to have a real knack for this. Very vigilant! Your fast initial aging may have to do with draining it for so long at room temperature (if that was indeed the case). Draying/draining for 4 days is great but to too warm and it's an invitation for early yeast and geo growth -especially in the open air when the cheese is stilll so moist.  I would avoid wrapping them altogether. Put them on straw or a grille in a partially open box. Tap/rub them daily to keep the rind thin and tight. That's it. The french do Valençay the same way  :)

Really smart to use the less agressive VS. I wouldn't worry about contamination of a secondary PC strain. They are compatible with one another and by the time you put it in the cave you already have surface flora growth that far outweighs whatever PC it will capture from a neighboring cheese. This isn't baking yeast that's going to destroy your cheese. In any event, you can already expect to see PC-VS blooming on day 4 or 5, (7 tops, if it's really cold or the cheese/cave moisture is low)

What's your background in cheese?
Title: Re: Valençay style cheese and a few questions
Post by: HB on February 08, 2012, 11:12:22 AM
I am pretty new to making cheese (not so new to eating it though). The Valençay was my first attempt at mold ripened cheese. I am hoping with more experience to eventually produce and sell farmstead goat milk cheeses. Thanks to its recent legalization in my state I am lucky to have access to wonderful raw milk. I pasteurize it but will soon experiment with leaving it raw. The amount of culture etc. will have to be adjusted for this.
Title: Re: Valençay style cheese and a few questions
Post by: PeabodyCreamery on February 11, 2012, 10:10:20 PM
If I can give you some pointers...

Secondly, I would drain them more. A good sign with Valençay that you haven't drained them enough is that the pyramids are short and wide.  Proper draining will render them narrow - they will be stiff enough not to collapse to a lower pyramid once you turn them onto the draining mat. Excess moisture would cause the rind to grow too fast and it would go lumpy or ammonia on you prematurely.


How long do you recommend pre-draining the curd before transferring to the molds?  I've just created my first (started 1/27!) Valencay and needless to say mine has not turned out quite as well.  I think one of my issues is/was the curd was far too wet.  I'm also assuming that you just gently transfer the curd to a cloth lined colander?
Unfortunately I don't have a whole lot of access to fresh milk but purchase mine from the grocery store (seems fine so far) but my curd definitely didn't look as "set" as HB's. It had a nice top 1/3 but below that it was still pretty full of whey and not nearly as firm, does that mean I need to let it sit longer?

Fabulous job HB, I'm envious.
Title: Re: Valençay style cheese and a few questions
Post by: HB on February 13, 2012, 11:08:55 AM
Iratherfly will have to answer about the pre-draining. It is my understanding that it is a bit more difficult to get a good set on store bought milk, but I have not used it and so cannot compare firsthand. How long did you wait before ladling? I am going to try pre-draining next time overnight. Do you have any pictures?
Title: Re: Valençay style cheese and a few questions
Post by: HB on February 13, 2012, 11:13:24 AM
Ok, I have two more progress pictures of my second batch. The first is day 1 in the cave and the second is day 5. I notice less geo growth than last time and slower growth of the pc.
Title: Re: Valençay style cheese and a few questions
Post by: Missy Greene on February 14, 2012, 07:09:39 PM
I just did a Humbolt Fog, started on the 6th, and found that even with pre-draining for 24 hrs it was still very wet. I was following  combination recipes from Brie and....the Russian  fellow,  it was still VERY wet when I  put it in the moulds, then continued to drain for 2 days+  salting the tops when I flipped them. Seems like it took forever before they would hold their shape...Is this normal????  Finally dry enough to  salt/ ash left at room temp til looked drier, they were already getting a little fuzzy growth..finally into box in cold room.... they are looking OK now.....
 Thanks for any insight, Missy

Title: Re: Valençay style cheese and a few questions
Post by: HB on February 15, 2012, 06:41:08 PM
Would you mind posting more details from your recipe? What kind of milk are you using? What amount and kind of rennet? What amount and kind of starter culture? What temperature did you drain at? Any of these factors could influence the curd texture. I do find that my cheeses are still a bit wet and slightly delicate when I unmould them after two days. Because of their shape I do not flip them.
Title: Re: Valençay style cheese and a few questions
Post by: HB on February 17, 2012, 05:06:38 PM
It has been very interesting to observe the different behavior of the molds I used this go around. The PC bloomed in a similar time length, but is so much less aggressive. It does not grow high like the VS and needs much less attention. I also notice much less of the wrinkled effect of the Geo and the cheeses are much more firm. I am looking to age these until at least 2/22 (maybe sooner for the Selles-Sur Cher). Yesterday was day 9 in the cave and they are looking good.
Title: Re: Valençay style cheese and a few questions
Post by: iratherfly on February 21, 2012, 02:24:15 AM
Iratherfly will have to answer about the pre-draining. It is my understanding that it is a bit more difficult to get a good set on store bought milk, but I have not used it and so cannot compare firsthand. How long did you wait before ladling? I am going to try pre-draining next time overnight. Do you have any pictures?
Sorry for another late reply here. If you purchased goat's milk in the store, it should be gently pasteurized (such as the expensive but good selections at Whole Foods, which are also organic and local, grass-fed in season).  The problem is that most grocery stores carry national brands such as Meyenberg which is rather crappy. It's not clear where the milk comes from and what these goats eat or how they are treated. It is ultra pasteurized which sterilizes is completely from any naturally present lactic bacteria to make it last for weeks. These stores sell them in low volume, mainly for people who are lactose intolerant or for the occasional cook who wants to make goat pennacotta or something like that... This is simply not good enough for cheesemaking. HOWEVER, if you want to use it for cheesemaking, start by adding Calcium Chloride to stabilize it. Then add a generous amount of culture. (I would use a culture blend that can mimic the natural flavors of milk like MA4001 or Flora Danica. Remember that you need to build the bacteria from scratch here). Wait 6-12 hours before adding the rennet. then let it coagulate in a 70°F environment as long as it takes UNDISTURBED. Up to 48 hours if needed.

How do you know when?
The milk should smell sour. Not rancid, but like yogurt. A ½" inch layer of whey floats on the top (use your clean finger to uncover it. Sometime a white mass floats to the surface of the whey and you think it is milk or curd but when you put your finger on the surface it clears to the side and you see that it is clear whey actually). Typically, the entire pot should be one curd mass. the curd should pull from the sides of the pot and it may display some cracks on top.  This is the 4.5-4.7pH point that you want to drain it at. This curd still may be softer than regular milk curd and you will lose some yield. That's okay. (The ultra pasteurization may modify the structure or proteins and fat lipids so that's a part of it.) However, in these lactic / semi-lactic cheeses you can still make a good cheese out of it (unlike attempting a Camembert or Gouda with it).

Pre Drain
I pre drain in a reuseable synthetic cheesecloth bag (better than colander and finer too). You want something very fine so that whey can take its time draining and doesn't stream out with all the minerals and solids too quickly. When the draining is slow, the whey and lactic acid continue to work on the cheese. Room temperature draining may begin to wake up the yeasts and fungi you are using for rind. I drain 6-12 hours, depends on what I want to do. If this is going to a mould with lots of holes and surface area I may drain only 2-4 hours.
This practice is good for French Loire Valley cheeses where the moulds only have a few weeping holes and are nearly at the size of the final cheese (so you need to fill them with curd amount that is not going to drain much further, otherwise you will get tiny cheese).

Caprino method
An alternative method is the Italian one: Use high flow Caprino molds (I have hundreds in stock here by the way if anyone want). Ladle gently directly into these moulds. They are fine enough to capture the curd but have such high drain hole volume that they quickly drain the whey and compress the cheese to its final size. These moulds are usually tall and you ladle all the way up. the next morning they are ¼ full with nice solid cheese. It's less fussy (like anything Italian cuisine Vs. French...) but this cheese has a slightly different character.
Title: Re: Valençay style cheese and a few questions
Post by: iratherfly on February 21, 2012, 02:45:37 AM
OOh, Missy why didn't you write me on Facebook? I would have responded sooner. Did you pre-drain? What sort of mould did you use?

Here's my current star... While I mainly do original cheeses, this French tradition is just fun to make. Aged 17 days. My new cave rocks. Not crazy tangy and very mushroomy. I am shocked because this is winter goat's milk.

Meet Rouelle:
Title: Re: Valençay style cheese and a few questions
Post by: anutcanfly on February 21, 2012, 11:06:09 AM
Awesome! What a fun looking cheese! 
Title: Re: Valençay style cheese and a few questions
Post by: iratherfly on February 21, 2012, 12:48:07 PM
Thank you! ::) it is!
Title: Re: Valençay style cheese and a few questions
Post by: HB on February 22, 2012, 01:27:49 PM
Opened the first ones today. They made it to two weeks better than the last batch. The taste was pretty similar. They taste younger than the last ones did at this point, which is what I was aiming for. Looking forward to seeing how these ones age. I think at least another week to be really good. Have to remember to go even easier on the ash.

Title: Re: Valençay style cheese and a few questions
Post by: Missy Greene on February 25, 2012, 10:47:34 AM
 Hi IRF, Just back form skiing  for 3 days ...Humbolt Fog is doing well, it has been in the 50 degree room for  14 days now, had a little gooier mold on bottom when I flipped , so cracked the top...just looking now to  see from other  recipes  if it is time to put in  fridge. I know this will not have the nice ash line in it as  it was so soft when I was trying to flip it in the moulds  it..went with what I had anyway, just to try and get the basic process of making the cheese.   Will keep posting progress. Your Rouelle looks awesome, you are so prolific!Missy
Title: Re: Valençay style cheese and a few questions
Post by: Oberhasli on February 25, 2012, 11:15:52 AM
Iratherfly,

Do you have a recipe for that rouelle cheese? If you have it the recipe, maybe you could start a new thread so this one doesn't get hijacked.   That cheese looks very nice.

HB,

Your cheeses look very nice as well.  I usually make a big mess using ash, your cheeses look perfectly delicious.

Bonnie
Title: Re: Valençay style cheese and a few questions
Post by: HB on February 27, 2012, 06:22:06 PM
They are starting to get to my preferred point of aging. The outside edges are becoming creamier, but are also much less liquified than the last batch. The taste is getting much creamier and complex. I am looking forward to seeing how far I can age some of these. I anticipate much longer than last time.
Title: Re: Valençay style cheese and a few questions
Post by: DeejayDebi on February 27, 2012, 09:24:34 PM
Looking really good there HB!

Can you say CHEESE!
Title: Re: Valençay style cheese and a few questions
Post by: iratherfly on March 05, 2012, 03:44:22 PM
Oberhasli - It's a work in progress and I am not sure yet if I am making this into a commercial recipe or not, but you can make Rouelle at the exact same method you use for any of those Loire Valley style semi-lactic goat's cheeses and adjust it to your liking (for example, acidify it more if you want more tang). Just the shape is a bit different. This one is quite large, about 350g. Like all of those cheeses, it's all about the quality of milk and the diligent aging.

HB - the texture looks really good. This is what I would expect a Valençay to be. Soft and just on the edge of crumbly. Not too moist but not dry either, no slip skin or soft/gooey area under the rind. Fantastic.  My only comment is ...still too much ash. A little goes a long way. Really nice though!
Title: Re: Valençay style cheese and a few questions
Post by: iain on June 15, 2012, 05:14:27 PM
Go easy on the ash. Ash should be very light so that it doesn't feel gritty in your mouth, doesn't paint your friend's teeth and doen't spread all over that beautiful white pâté when you cut the cheese.  One of the best ways to do that is to mix the ash with the salt at the rate of 1 part ash to 5 parts salt. this will give you the dust that you need, good even coverage but too thin to smear.

1 to 5 ratio by weight or volume?
Title: Re: Valençay style cheese and a few questions
Post by: iratherfly on June 25, 2012, 08:07:05 PM
Weight. This is not written in stone, adjust as you like it, but remember your ratio so that you can calculate the weight of the salt to control the cheese flavor.

Example: Cheese weight is 100g. You want to salt it at 2.5%. If you just salt it, you would use 2.5g salt. If you salt it with 5:1 salt/ash, then you would need 3g of the mixture as it would contain 0.5g ash and 2.5g salt (in other words, 5 parts of 0.5g salt and 1 part of 0.5g ash).
Title: Re: Valençay style cheese and a few questions
Post by: Tiarella on September 25, 2012, 07:09:13 PM
I just started a Valencay make using the recipe from the Beverage People since I couldn't seem to find one here.  (maybe it's just the search function and there's one that I somehow missed)  Here's my make so far:

15 quarts of raw goat's milk from my Nigerian Dwarf goats, 4 quarts of which were used fresh/warm from the morning's milking.
Heated over heat diffuser on gas stove (low setting) and brought to 87.3 F  (target was 86)
added:
heaping 1/4 tsp. of M4001
1/4 tsp of LBC80
1/4 tsp of PCVB
1/4 tsp of Geo 13
1/8 tsp of Thermo Type B
Let rehydrate and then stirred in.  The recipe calls for adding the rennet after 3 minutes which surprised me because I thought I'd want to let the culture hang out for a while before renneting.  BUT....I followed directions and added a shy 1/2 tsp of my liquid double strength rennet (diluted in water of course).  I figured this from the recipe's calling for 1/8 tsp for 2 quarts and with me having 15 quarts and double strength rennet it seemed to make sense.  I was a little concerned that with raw milk it might be too much rennet and I think I'm correct about that unfortunately. 

The recipe says to wait 12-18 hours at 72 F but by 7:30 it looks like this already.  (see photo below)  It's drawn away from the sides of the pot, has a layer of whey over the top and generally seems pretty coagulated.  I'll go wash up and check texture......be right back......         .....back to report that it's quite firm, has cracks in the top and generally seems ready to go.  When I tried it I found it pretty bland.  I think I remember someone talking about flavor as a signpost to readiness so I'll read back on this thread.

I'd LOVE some suggestions about what to do now?  I had planned on giving it the 18 hours and draining it in the morning.   8 am would be 18 hours.  I am NOT getting up in the middle of the night to bag this cheese.......I do enough of that during kidding and lambing season and guard my sleep at other times of year.  Should I drain this as late as possible before I go to bed?  That won't be very late since I didn't sleep much last night but with the cheese this mature  perhaps that won't matter.  I had planned on putting some in one of Yoav's synthetic cheesecloth bags for a pre-drain and some in the loose weave basket type molds I have. 

ANOTHER question for all of you.....I spent time today collecting leaves to hopefully make this a little bit like a Yarg cheese.  I'm going to have quite a few cheeses out of this batch so thought I'd try some nettle, some scented  cranesbill . and some red amaranth leaves.  I do also have some huge redbud (Cercis canadensis) leaves that are heart shaped and would cover a whole cheese practically.  When and how do I do this with this cheese?  I'm scrolling through as many threads as possible on this forum but the cheese is a-making and I'm not sure I'll have found all the info in time. 

Thanks in advance!  I love this forum.  People are so creative, so dedicated and so helpful.
Title: Re: Valençay style cheese and a few questions
Post by: iratherfly on September 26, 2012, 02:12:06 AM
LBC80 and Thermo B???? Are these guys just trying to get you to go through expensive cultures for no reason? Why on earth would they list these? Nothing to do with this cheese whatsoever. 1/8 tsp for 2 quarts is WAY too much for lactic cheese and 87°F is totally improper for it. Lactic cheeses acidify and coagulate entirely in room temperature (68°F to 77°F, depends on the cheese and season).

There are a million easy recipes for Valençay, and yes, it is best to acidify the milk for a few hours before adding the rennet.
Try Peter Dixon's recipe: http://www.dairyfoodsconsulting.com/recipes_lactic.shtml (http://www.dairyfoodsconsulting.com/recipes_lactic.shtml) Easy, straightforward and cheap. You will get the correct texture and tangy flavor.

Also, if you are using raw milk, you want to preserve its goodness so let it speak for itself and use low amount of starter culture, and very minimal mix of strains. You don't want the culture to out-compete the good natural things that are alive in your milk already. 

Wanna give it a do-over? I'll help. I hope I wasn't too discouraging...

By the way, if you ever can't find a good recipe for something - just post it here. Someone probably has it and will happily share.
Title: Re: Valençay style cheese and a few questions
Post by: Tiarella on September 26, 2012, 07:21:30 AM
Hi Yoav,  No, you weren't too discouraging!  I wouldn't have created all that I have if I discouraged easily.  I should have made it clear that the culture additions were my own choices and that some of the milk was 4 days old and I was thinking that it might be good to have a strong introduction of cultures.

I have tried Peter Dixon's recipes before. (not for this cheese) and he sometimes leaves things out or doesn't make it easy to figure amounts because it's all for 100 gallon batches.  I did look for a recipe on the forum to no avail and then tried google search to see if that helped. 

Sure, I'll try again but I'll have to wait until I have 3 gallons of milk.....that's 3 days since I only milk mornings.  Speaking of which I need to go milk now......but I'll look at Peter's recipe and ask questions if I have any so that I'll be ready.

Thanks!
Title: Re: Valençay style cheese and a few questions
Post by: Tiarella on September 28, 2012, 06:27:52 PM
Hellio iratherfly/Yoav!  I'm ready to take you up on your offer to help me make another try at Valencay!   :D

I followed your link to Peter Dixon's recipe and have a bunch of questions after reading it.  Normally I'd have to make all choices myself but since obviously as a beginner I'm likely to make some wrong choices I thought I'd ask you what choices you'd advise.

You said in your post that you'd help me with a remake of the Valencay if I wanted to try again and yup, I want to try again.  So, I've looked at Peter Dixon's recipe and these are my questions.  I'll post these on the forum too in case you'd prefer to answer there so others can read too.  Here's a link to Peter Dixon's recipe so interested folks can check it out and comment also.  http://www.dairyfoodsconsulting.com/recipes_lactic.shtml (http://www.dairyfoodsconsulting.com/recipes_lactic.shtml)

First, a few facts of the make:
Milk: I'll be using 12 or 13 quarts raw goats milk 1-3 days old.  ( usually 13 qts. but 12 might be easier for figuring out amounts)  The last 4 quarts won't have been cooled at all unless you advise that. 

Now for the questions:

1) Which cultures should I use?  I'll list my options of what I have here:  Chooszit:  MM100, MA4001, MA4002, MT1 LYO, TA61,
PC-VB, Geo-13, PLA, LBC 80, PC SAM
Abiasa: Thermophile Type B
Yes, I know not all are options but I just cut and pasted my whole stash list.

2) Do I have to pasteurize my milk like he says?  I've never done that and would prefer not to if possible. I'm not selling the cheese at all.

How many hours of aging after culturing do you suggest given that the milk is raw.  Peter Dixon's range is 15-48 hours.

Given all this, how much culture do you suggest for raw goat's milk?

And how much of my vegetable double strength rennet should I add once the culture has had it's time?

What type of mold should I use?  Don't have the traditional pyramid ones but have a number of basket type ones  (some from you) including some ricotta molds that are pretty small and may fit the  proportions closer than the bigger basket ones I have.  P.S. what do you charge for those pyramid ones?  Perhaps I and others will be inspired to buy some from you if you post the price here now.

Should I pre-drain in that lovely synthetic cheesecloth bag I got from you?  For how long?  I pre-drained this last batch too long and then it didn't go well into the molds......it was already dryish because of the rennet amount.  I still have to salt and ash it.  I was too sick to do anything but milk the last 3 days.

Hope you can answer before I have to make this cheese but perhaps others will have great suggestions too.  All are welcome.  I'm "singling" iratherfly out because he offered.   ;)

Just because I know I always like it when there's photos, I'll attach one of my mold inventory.  I do also have the two long cylindrical molds you sent in the last order.....those aren't in the photo.
Title: Re: Valençay style cheese and a few questions
Post by: Tiarella on September 29, 2012, 03:18:27 PM
Since that last batch was sort of a mystery as far as whether it'll turn out I decided to play with leaf wrapping.  Now, part of the mystery is that I got a bad case of flu and didn't do anything for these little Valencay puppies for days.....they sat at room temperature for several days and grew some white and ivory mold.  IN fact, they were still in their molds......     Finally, yesterday I got them out of their molds, ashed/salted them and wrapped some scented cranesbill leaves around 1 and some nettle leaves around another.  I had picked and frozen the leaves as per some other thread.  They stuck quite nicely to the cheeses and I hope they turn into nice cheeses, perhaps Yarg-like?  I'll attach photos.  They are now in containers in my cheese fridge. 

Oh, and another disaster potential is that right before I got sick I took my brie make  (about 6 cheeses) out of my cheese fridge because their containers were too moist.  I put them on my work bench with lids of mini-containers ajar and there they sat for about 5 days.  Sigh.  I saw them only today and I think they'll have some slipskin.  They didn't smell that great to my nose but it's sense of smell is still impacted from being sick.  I put their lids back on, put them back in the fridge and brought one up the kitchen to cut open.  It looks pretty good.....yes, a bit of slip skin but not bad. The inner paste looks good and I look forward to trying it in the future.  Any advice on any of this is heartily appreciated.

Oh, and about the photos, I don't normally have cheeses hanging out near platters and baskets of ripe fruit and vegetables.  That was just for the ashing and photo ops.
Title: Re: Valençay style cheese and a few questions
Post by: bbracken677 on September 29, 2012, 06:42:21 PM
BTW Tiarella, you take great photos! I visited your blog/website yesterday and I have to say that I was impressed by the composition of your photos. Very well done!
Title: Re: Valençay style cheese and a few questions
Post by: Tiarella on September 29, 2012, 08:53:15 PM
Thank you, BBracken!  I hope you looked at the older posts that show the barn we built last summer.  It's got some sweet design aspects.  The most recent set of blog posts was to show the farm to a group of folks that my partner (Joseph) does social justice work with.  They work all year towards putting on a healthy living conference for underprivileged youth.  They'd only seen Joseph at meetings and me at fundraisers/celebrations so we invited them and their families to come to a potluck dinner.  Since we are WAY out in the boondocks I wanted to put photos up to entice them.  I wrote all those captions thinking they'd share the photos with their children.  I think I'll rework those posts now that the party is over and choose more adult wording for captions.

I LOVE taking photos and am blessed to be surrounded with beauty........we started with solid woods and cleared and built our place here.  It's a sweet place although far from towns.  It's about a half mile walk to get to a neighbor.  Anyway.....it's fun to share photos of animals, gardens and stuff like that.  Glad you enjoyed it.  Wish some forum members lived around here to use the extra milk when I'm too busy to make cheese!
Title: Re: Valençay style cheese and a few questions
Post by: iratherfly on October 01, 2012, 02:03:39 AM
Sorry for taking so long to respond to you, looks like I am too late ...but here are the pointers anyway. Looks like you managed without them. The only comment I have is that you seem to be using way too much ash. Try to rub some of it off before the rind shows up. It will be uncomfortable to bite and you don't want to leave your friend with black teeth  >:D

My best advice is to mix 5 parts salt to 1 part ash and then use it for salting. This will give you proper dusting. It's a very light dusting that you need; kind of like sprinkling confectioners' sugar on a tart for decoration. leave lots of air and white in between.

Okay, I am responding to the questions you sent me earlier:

For raw milk:
DO NOT pasteurize milk if you think that your milk is good and this is for your private consumption. (you said it's 3 days old - I hope you store it very cold. I store my raw milk at 34°F if I have to).  Pasteurizing milk will need more cultures to get it going and give it flavor

As far as hours go, culture it until it reaches 4.5-4.7pH, or until you see that the whey level is about 3/4" above the curd mass and your curd mass has separated from the sides of the pot (possible cracks on top of the curd mass are also a sign that you have reached good acidity but they don't always show up).

Pre-drain it in the bag for 6 hours or so.

If you don't have the pyramid mould than perhaps this isn't really a Valençay? You can use a round mould and make a Selles-sur-Cher, or make Crottin, or even a log-like cheese (a "mini" Sainte Maure?). If you are using Ricotta baskets than don't use cheesecloth as you will make a Caprino (Italian style goat cheese). You will lose more yield but the ricotta moulds in this case are used instead of the cheesecloth bag.
Title: Re: Valençay style cheese and a few questions
Post by: Tiarella on October 01, 2012, 07:11:56 AM
Thank you so much for all the suggestions.   :D. I did follow your 5parts salt to 1 part ash but it sounds like you can see that I've used too much.  I was going by photos I saw somewhere.......I'll do less next time.

I did a remake before you had a chance to reply and here's what I used.....
3 gallons raw milk
1/8 tsp MM100
1/8 tsp PCVB
1/8 tsp GEO 13

A little less than 1/8 tsp dble str veg rennet. (that was figured directly from Peter Dixon's recipe.  (2 ml single strength for 6 gallons comes to .5 ml for dble str rennet for 3 gallons.  .5 ml = 1/8 tsp

Curd still formed faster than expected......raw being the wild card difference from Peter's recipe.  Still reeling from flu I didn't get to it until some hours after optimal and decided it was firm enough that I wouldn't pre drain.  Cut the curd. (it was too thick to make ladling seem like the best bet- thicker than yogurt) and filled molds, refilling as the curd level sank.  Put on racks over trays in a room with no yeasty things like fruit. 

Will likely unmold today and do a MUCH lighter ash/salting and maybe try some more leaf wrapping.  Still wish I knew more about this part........

Need more molds......even just 3 gallons of the Dwarf Nigerian goat milk I use has such a high level of solids that I created 10 cheeses from this batch.......off to the barn now.
Title: Re: Valençay style cheese and a few questions
Post by: iratherfly on October 02, 2012, 02:37:43 AM
You did good with quantities, just watch out for premature rind growth because if the ash and the high quantity of geo/pc.  If you drained it prematurely than you may have developed insifficient acidity. The acidity is important because A). It gives the cheese that citrucy tang you are looking for in Valençay and Crottin and B). it delays the development of the rind so you don't get slipping skin, toad skin or ammonia buildup.  The yeasts/geo are less active in high acidity AND they also have a longer road to recover acidity so it takes them a few more days.

As for the salt mixture - just salt by weight. Remember that 20% of each g of this mixture is ash so raise your mixture by 20% to make up for it.

You used Caprino and Ricotta moulds - there is no need to use cheesecloth pre-draining with those. This is the Italian style of goat cheese. They drain a lot faster but the texture and acidity are somewhat different.  Am I recognizing the two Caprino moulds I sent you from that cheese photo?  That's exactly what they are for! no-cheesecloth goat cheeses. This will turn out nice!
Title: Re: Valençay style cheese and a few questions
Post by: Tiarella on October 02, 2012, 06:45:09 AM
Hi Yoav!  Ummmm, there's two batches of this Valencay-like make so maybe we're both confused.  The one with the more appropriate amounts of culture and rennet  (I did actually use 10 drops of rennet just as you suggest even though I made it before your suggestion came through) hasn't yet been salted/ashed.  I guess I'll have to weigh each cheese to figure amounts.  sigh.  oh and yup, I used those Caprino molds you sent me; thank you!  And no, I didn't use cheesecloth on any of the molds in either batch.

you write:  The yeasts/geo are less active in high acidity AND they also have a longer road to recover acidity so it takes them a few more days.

I'm not sure what you mean by that. It was in reference to if I drained it prematurely.  I think I drained it late if anything.....both batches. This batch is still dripping in the molds so I haven't yet unmolded it to salt/ash it.  I had hoped you'd look at the photos and be a cheese wizard and tell me when to unmold.   ;)

I guess I'll unmold today.  Still feeling the effects of the flu and have a lot to do today so if they're still dripping I may wait.
Thanks for all the support!!!
Title: Re: Valençay style cheese and a few questions
Post by: Tiarella on October 03, 2012, 07:19:31 AM
Please speak up anyone with experience with this type of cheese and/or with cheese wrapping.  Here's one I wrapped with leaves and it's got some bloom for sure but this batch feels heavy and hard......will that change as they ripen?  They feel pretty dense. This is my first batch with not the perfect make but I'm hoping some come out somewhat edible.  This batch was pre-drained in a bag, left too long in the molds perhaps because of me being sick and then this........

note, each is kept off the bottom of the box by sitting on a bottle lid that is under the mesh.
Title: Re: Valençay style cheese and a few questions
Post by: bbracken677 on October 03, 2012, 07:55:55 AM
I just remembered something....isn't ash pretty basic pH wise?

Great pictures, by the way....the cheese with the leaf wrap/coat looks really interesting!
Title: Re: Valençay style cheese and a few questions
Post by: Tiarella on October 03, 2012, 10:10:21 AM
HI BBracken!  Yeah, ash is base and iratherfly gave a great explanation of it's impact but I'm not sure which thread it was on.  I think it's to slow down the development of rind or something like that so that the rind fuzzies have a better chance to grow. Of course, he said it much differently and it made sense when he said it.  If I find that bit I'll repost it here.....might even be further up in this thread......not sure.  I'm just learning this type of cheese (although I've done Brie quite a few times) and I was surprised at how the tops of the cheeses already had the ivory fuzzies before they came out of the molds!  Hope that's okay.

Not sure if you can see in the whole batch photo but there's another one with leaves, nettle leaves, and that's more traditional.....sort of; I mean, not for a Valencay but Yarg's use nettles, not sure what other cheeses do.

I was thinking the other day......there are so many variables to making a batch of cheese it's a wonder than any two batches turn out similar.  In a moment of despair I considered just giving each batch of cheese it's own name to avoid confusion or disappointment in the person who eats it.  ;D
Title: Re: Valençay style cheese and a few questions
Post by: iratherfly on October 06, 2012, 10:25:58 PM
The short version of it is that ash neutralizes surface acidity. Once that happen, yeasts and fungi (such as Geo and PC) grow faster because the neutral situation is easier for them.
Title: Re: Valençay style cheese and a few questions
Post by: Tiarella on October 07, 2012, 06:53:14 AM
Thanks for making that clear, iratherfly.   :)  Much better than my try at that!  I think I am going to have to make a mixture with less ash than the 1 part ash to 5 parts salt that you recommend.  The ash I have is so fine that it makes it all so black even when I'm just putting a little bit of salt on the cheeses.  But I hope you saw the thread I started in this topic area about the leaf wrapping.  They seem to be doing well but they are SO dense feeling......is this natural and okay for these cheeses?  They feel heavy as if perhaps I fed the goats lead or rocks!  Will the cheese lighten in weight?  What do you expect for this last batch, the ones with more proper cultures and rennet amounts?  How long an aging?  They are in my wine fridge at 54F degrees. 

Hope you are enjoying the start of autumn down there in the city!
Title: Re: Valençay style cheese and a few questions
Post by: iratherfly on October 07, 2012, 03:50:24 PM
Gloomy day here... eh, autumn!  I should go out and seek foliage!

They are heavy because they are watery. Let them dry longer!  the leaves are preventing it.

Usually the leaves used for wrapping are treated - dried, boiled, soaked in brandy for a couple of weeks, etc. Usually they are also a bit more robust so they can withstand such treatment: Leaves of chestnuts, maple, grape vines, etc. are thicker.

The rind needs some air if you want PC to develop. Otherwise you will get lots of geo going. That would be  nice, gooey and even a bit stinky but it should then be applied on smaller cheeses so the geo can affect the entire cheese and you won't get un-aged center while the area just under the leaves turns liquid. I also wouldn't put leaves and ash together. Either/or.  Think of Banon or Cabecou Feuille
Title: Re: Valençay style cheese and a few questions
Post by: Tiarella on October 07, 2012, 06:17:12 PM
Hmmmm.  thanks for replying iratherfly!  The Yarg that enticed me has ash and leaves and it has more leaves it seemed than I have put on.  I did let them drain a long time but perhaps not long enough......they seem to be doing well otherwise.  I think I'm mostly seeing PC, not Geo but I am such a beginner that how should I know?  It seems very white and I think I read somewhere that Geo is more ivory?  Or do I have it backwards? The one with the Scented Cranesbill on it has more coverage than the one with nettles.  There are only two out of 8 with leaves.....the rest are plain.  I'll have to look up the Banon and Cabecou Feuille you mention.......     I am going to try some thicker leaves but those will totally obscure the cheese it seems like and won't be like that Yarg I saw that had the white fuzz and the leaf patterns on it.  How long do you think I should try aging these?  Or rather, what should I look for or hope for?   I can cut open the ones without leaves for test trials. 

And, if you want to get out of the city and see foliage you can always stop in here.  We have foliage all around us.  Can't look out of a single window without seeing trees so it's hard to miss!   :D  Seriously......if you want a place to visit or to pass through on your way north you can consider our house. 
Title: Re: Valençay style cheese and a few questions
Post by: iratherfly on October 09, 2012, 01:45:24 AM
Really? I remember the Cornish Yarg to have nettle leaves in a very nice pattern but I don't remember any ash. I do remember green that looks like it came of the leaved all over it.  In any case, this is a different type of cheese. It's really a type of cheddar and not a lactic cheese, and the wrap is strictly a decoration and not of function, which is also why they can use nettle leaves that are both small and very thin.  But, there may be several versions - I really don't know much about that cheese. My point was only that the wrapping serves as a protector in these small leaf-wrapped lactic cheeses so that the cheese doesn't dry out and the geo can develop and sort of melt them down in a matter of 10-14 days. The flora from the leaves has a purpose in the wrapping too, so there is not much point in drying and neutralizing the rind with ash only to lock it again with moisture. It also looks a bit messy if this is a tiny cheese in a large lea as it will smudge ash all over the leaf because of the locked in moisture.  (I assume so, but never tried).

You are right, the white fuzz of dry stuff is PC. Geo has a few shades but mostly appears initially as creamy velvety or slimy/slick texture. Late-blooming geo that grows on dry surfaces usually looks like a white powder and it is common in tommes, cheddars, washed rinds, etc. You don't see it much in lactic cheeses.

I say, make smaller wheels (30-50g) and age them in leaves for 10 days in the cave and 10 days in the fridge. It will be spectacular.

Cabecou Feuille:
Before...
(http://thecheeseblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/09/cabecou-feuille.jpg)
and after...
(http://thecheeseblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/09/cabecou-feuille-open.jpg)

Banon:
(http://www.fromagerie-martin.com/photos/banonfermier_23057.jpg)

Mothais sur Feuille (as the name suggests, it's "on a leaf", not really wrapped all the way with one)
(http://www.intervalexport.com/phototheque/sevrebellemothais.jpg)

And now for something completely different: Sakura is a rare award-winning cheese from Japan. It is flavored with cherry blossoms and available in March only:
(http://www.zetton.co.jp/news/entryimg/sakura_cheese.jpg)

The Italian do that too...
(http://24thstreetcheese.com/wp-content/gallery/cheese/caprino-bleu-di-riforano.jpg)

And so did I (grape leaves) about 2 years ago:
(http://cheeseforum.org/forum/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=2005.0;attach=8970;image)

And this one, with sesame leaves (too thin in hindsight) :
(http://cheeseforum.org/forum/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=2005.0;attach=8746;image)

OK, I think you get the idea...

Perhaps the wife and I will take a drive up to your neck of the woods? We'll make some cheese?
Title: Re: Valençay style cheese and a few questions
Post by: Tiarella on October 09, 2012, 06:54:44 AM
Wow!  very beautiful and inspiring!  Hmmm, I'm going to have to learn more about the Yarg because it looked like it had ash but maybe because of the photo only.  I have some large heart-shaped leaves that perhaps will do well for wrapping.  They are very substantial so I don't know if I have to bend them and soak in brandy first or freeze, or boil to soften.  I think they would be nice when the leave is unwrapped to show the cheese sitting on a heart-shaped leaf platter.  I also wonder about a new cheese that is wrapped with the unripe seed head of Echinacea imbedded a bit in the top center.  The seeds are bitter and I wonder if it might make a very special taste sensation just where it touches.  I have so much plant material here the possibilities feel endless and enticing.

Sure,  you guys should come up.  bring a cooler and any mold you might want to use that I don't have.....especially in case you are driving home with curds still in the molds ( if it is a long draining cheese)....we'll have to find timing that works when our guest room is available (most of the time) and we are not booked with appointments.  (easy to find that time too). Hope you will not be overwhelmed by the number of possibilities with plant material.  I have limited milk. (1 gallon per day approx) but we can find other milk too. 

I think with what I am doing with leaves I need some more small molds unless I can use ricotta basket molds.  Perhaps you can suggest some molds I could buy from you?  Something suitable for small lactic acid cheeses.  Can you please email me options and prices?  Off to milk now.....brrrrrrrr, it's starting to get cold here.  First fire in the stove of the season.  Too cloudy for our normal solar gain.