This version of a Swiss cheese is quite easy to make. I have had good results so far, and have made it about 4 times now. This cheese has a fantastic nutty flavour, and each time I make it, I end up with different hole sizes. So what makes the holes? Well, Wikipedia states;
I didn't take any pictures during any of the making sessions, but be assured the procedure is not that dissimilar from other hard cheeses I have made. The only real difference is that you add the Propioni Shermanii to the milk at the same time as the Mesophilic culture and let it ripen for the specified time. Add Rennet, cut the curd, stir for a long, long time, then press.
Once pressed, you have to leave it in the cheese cave for a week, turning it daily, then remove and keep it at room temperature (21°-24°C) for two to three weeks. This is to let the eyes develop and the cheese swells at the top, bottom and the sides begin to bulge. This is unlike any other cheese I have made. You also have to turn and wipe with a brine solution daily to help the rind form. It even smells like Swiss cheese now after a week. Here is a photo of a week old cheese. Note the swelling sides.
After the eye formation is complete it gets returned back to the cheese cave for another three months for final ripening and is turned three times a week and wiped in the brine solution at the same time. This cheese is not normally waxed. I was looking forward to the day that I cracked open this cheese.
Well, the four months were up after a long wait. When we cracked open the wheel and this is what we found.
There was a 3cm split on the top and it was a little infected with Penicillin Roquefort, however the Propioni Shermanii culture did its work. Well, some of the work in most part of the cheese. I believe that even though I gave the wheel a wash of brine a couple of times a week as per the recipe, after I let the eyes form, the rind is far too thick. I think that because the cheese was not waxed, as stated in the recipe, it just hardened too much.
Since this time I have waxed it after about three weeks of eye development. It makes for a more moist cheese however the eyes do not form as big.
Now, how did it taste I hear you ask. Well, it tasted like a Swiss type cheese like you can buy in the supermarket, however there was an obvious difference due to the Penicillin Roquefort culture. It was very nice, and both Kim and Pam (Kim's Mum) agreed that it was a very tasty cheese. The rind had a very strong flavour and as you can see more eyes formed closer to the rind than in the centre. Here is it sliced on a platter.
The quarter I served up was very holey indeed. Easy to cut and great flavour with a plain cracker. I really liked the extra flavour in the blue vein part!
When made commercially this cheese is made in 60-80 kg wheels, which aids the uniformity of the eye formation. Apparently, from what I have read, the bigger the Emmentaler, the larger and more frequent the eyes.
Now last week, I cracked open a wheel of Emmental that I made in February this year. This is what it looked like.
After I took the wax off, I was pleased to note that it still had a nice yellow rind. As you can see I used Jersey Milk, which was about 4.2% butterfat.
It sliced well, and if you look closely, it has many hundreds of tiny holes. I don't think that I put in enough Propioni Shermanii, or it may have been too hot in Summer when it was resting at room temperature during hole formation.
Anyway, it still tasted nutty and smooth. This is a fantastic cheese for anyone who has a little patience, and I recommend it after you have a few other cheeses under your cheesemaking belt!
This cheese definitely sounds like a candidate for a video tutorial. Maybe next Friday. What do you think?