As you know, I am not shy in trying new cheese making recipes. Blue cheese is no exception.
I have Stilton down to a tee, but as for other blues you could call me a baby curd nerd. I have tried a few, but with little success.
So over the weekend, I tried another blue cheese recipe that I modified slightly to increase the yield. I won't post it yet, because all did not go according to plan.
It was all going fine and dandy until I took the blue (that I named Le Petit Bleu) out of the hoops early this morning. This is what I came home to this afternoon.
Instead of blue cheese, I had created blue pancakes! So what to do? Well I posted my disaster on my facebook page and someone came to the rescue with a brilliant suggestion. Debra Allard from podcast episode 12 fame, suggested I mill the pancakes into thumbnail sized pieces, add 2.5% salt which I topped up with a teaspoon of salt.
Then using my tallest hoop, added the curds and will be turning, turning, turning, each hour until it forms a top and bottom.
I have turned it once since this photo was taken and the bottom has formed nicely. Debra suggested that I keep it in the hoop turning often for the next 4 days until the blue mould starts to form, then put in my ripening box wrapped in foil into the cheese fridge at 10C. She recommends unwrapping and piercing the holes at day 15 and 30. The recipe said should be ripe in 90 days.
I have videoed the entire process, so have kept the footage aside for now in the hope it all works out.
I think I might just be able to rescue this blue cheese yet!
Addendum: If you are wondering why there haven't been any podcasts of late, I lost my voice again and am slowly recovering!
This cheese, Queso Fresco, stems from Spain and Latin American roots. Translated it means Fresh Cheese. This cheese shouldn't be confused with Queso Blanco, which is essentially Ricotta Salata. Queso Fresco uses rennet, whereas Queso Blanco only uses lemon juice to coagulate the milk.
It is a quick farmhouse cheese that can be made a variety of ways. It involves a little bit of mesophilic culture, a little liquid rennet, and some salt. Not too much to making it really, but well worth the effort.
Here is the recipe that I adapted for a lower yield as most of the recipes that I found asked for 8 litres (2 gallons) of milk, which I believe was too much.
4 litres of full cream milk
1/16th of a teaspoon of Mesolphillic direct set culture (MO30)
1/8th of a teaspoon of liquid rennet diluted in 30ml (2 Tbspn) of unchlorinated water
1 Tablespoon of Cheese Salt
1/8th teaspoon of Calcium Chloride diluted in 30ml (2 Tbspn) of unchlorinated water, if using pasteurised/homogenised milk.
Add milk to pot, heat to 32°C (90°F). Add the
Add the culture and mix the milk well.
Add the diluted rennet and stir for 1 minute only. Cover.
Allow milk to set for 45-60 minutes, or until you get a clean break.
Cut the curd into 1/2 cm (1/4 inch) cubes.
During the next 20 minutes, slowly increase the temperature to 35°C (95°F), stirring gently to keep the curds from matting.
Cover and let the curds rest for 5 minutes.
Drain off the whey by hand, return the curds to the pot.
Add the salt and gently mix by hand. Cover and allow curds to rest at 35°C (95°F) for 30 minutes.
Line your mould with cheesecloth and fill with curds
Fold one corner of the cheesecloth over the mould and top with a follower. Press at 16kg (35lbs) for six hours.
Remove from press and mould.
Your Queso Fresco can be eaten straight away or can be stored in a covered plastic container in the kitchen fridge for up to 2 weeks.
This delightly simple cheese is a fresh, tasty alternative to soft cheeses, and can be made and eaten in the same day. We found that our batch had an amazing flavour for a cheese that was so young.
Great in salads instead of feta, even better grated over burritos, tacos, and enchiladas! Just remember that this cheese doesn't melt, so it's not so good in toasted cheese unless you mix in some cheddar.
All the ingredients can be found in one of our Soft Cheese making kits, which you can find over at Little Green Workshops.
There is a video tutorial in the works for this cheese, which will be published in the next few days.