Monday, 18 October 2010

Further Adventures in Cheese - Colby!

In our forays into longer-term cheeses, we over at Forging Fromage forged Colby! This is actually the second ripened cheese we have done, but my cheddar is still in its cave (also known as my beer fridge) it'll be ready in November.
The Colby gets pressed and ripened in wax - I didn't have cheesewax so I borrowed the cloth-banding idea from the Cheddar recipe and went with that. It is important that your cheese can breathe, so storing it on a bamboo sushi mat is ideal. When it was ripened I unwrapped it, cleaned the cheese with a cloth soaked in vinegar and water, pat dry and dig in! The taste is certainly more complex than the fresh cheeses we have been making, getting closer to the flavour and texture of Cheddar. A good strong cheese for pasta that also goes nicely on a cracker with a strong chutney.

Glengarry Cheesemaking Co.
Batch size: 12 litres

Expected yield: 1.2 kg

Milk source: Whole milk, raw or pasteurized

Production time: 2 and ¾ hours

Warm milk to 30 degreesC.

Add ¼ tsp of annatto cheese colorant diluted in ¼ cup of cool water to the milk. Mix in well using the top and bottom stir technique.

Add 200 ml prepared mesophilic starter culture or ½ tsp of powdered culture directly into the milk pre-mixed in a little milk from the cheese pot. Mix in well.

Allow the milk to ripen for 1 hour at 30 C, using the warm water bath to ensure constant temperature.

Add 1 tsp of liquid rennet diluted in ¼ cup of cool water mixing well into the milk using the top and bottom stir technique. Maintain temperature at 30C during renneting. The milk should set in 30-45 minutes.

Test the curd for a clean break, then proceed to cut the curd into ½ inch cubes. Stir gently while reducing the curds and at the same time proceed to cook the curds over the next 40 minutes to reach a temperature of 40C. Stir during the entire cooking process to avoid matting of the curds. The curds will reduce in size to the equivalent of half a peanut. Once the final cook temperature has been achieved, hold the curds at this temperature for 15 minutes.

Proceed to "wash" the curds by removing whey until you have reach the levels of the curds. Replace the whey with warm tap water at the same temperature as the whey (40C). Stir the curds gently so that they float freely in the whey/water mixture. Hold them in the diluted whet for another 15 minutes.

Allow the curds to settle to the bottom of the pot and then drain them in a cheesecloth lined colander. Drain for approximately 5 minutes.

Transfer the drained curd to a lined hoop press and press moderately for 1 hr.

Remove the cheese from the press and dress the entire cheese with cheesecloth. Press firmly for 12 hrs or overnight.

Remove the cheese from the press and float it in heavy brine for 24 hrs. Heavy brine consist of 6 cup of coarse salt in 4 litres of boiling water.

Remove the cheese from the brining pail and air dry at room temperature until the cheese rind feels dry.

Coat the cheese with cream wax and transfer it to a ripening area for at least 4 weeks. Hard wax this cheese approximately 2 weeks after production date. This cheese will not get excessively sharp if ripened longer. Ideal ripening conditions are 10-12 C with relative humidity of 75-90%.

This is a wonderful grating and melting cheese and it combines well with other cheeses to create nice blend flavors. It is a very good cheese for beginners to make as it can be eaten soon after production. The flavor is related to the taste of a mild cheddar.