Monday, 26 September 2011

Pyrénées Cheese with Green Peppercorns

Time for another cheese tutorial.  I first made this cheese a few years back, and I love its sharp and peppery flavour.

This is a cows milk variety of Ossau-Iraty (normally made from sheeps milk) which is quite acceptable, and originates from south west France. 


8 litres full cream milk, at least 3.4% fat
1 quarter teaspoon direct set Mesophilic starter culture
2.5 ml Rennet mixed with 60 ml unclorinated water
2.5 ml Calcium Chloride mixed with 60 ml unclorinated water
1 Tablespoon of cheese salt (non-ionised salt)
1 Tablespoon of green peppercorns
1 half cup of water


  1. As usual I set up all the utensils and ingredients before I begin, then I sterilise everything in water in the 8 litre pot for 15 minutes.
  2. Boil, then simmer the peppercorns in the water for 15 minutes.  Strain the peppercorns, retain the water.
  3. Heat the milk to 32C (90F).  Add the pepper water, then add the starter culture, stir, maintain the target temp for 45 minutes.  Add the diluted calcium chloride and stir for 1 minutes.
  4. Add the rennet to the milk, stir top to bottom for 1 minute.  Cover and set aside for 45 minutes.
  5. Test for a clean break, then using a curd knife, cut the curd into 1 cm cubes (half an inch).
  6. Gently raise the temperature to 38C (100F).  This should take about 30 minutes.  Gently stir whilst raising the temp.
  7. Once target temp is reached, cover for 5 minutes, then pour into a colander lined with cheesecloth.  Tie up the curds into a ball and let them hang from a long spoon resting on the edges of a large pot to drain for one hour.
  8. After an hour the ball will be firm and moist, but not hard.
  9. Mill the curds into thumbnail sized pieces them mix through the salt and the peppercorns with your fingers.  Transfer to the 1kg mould, fold the cloth over and put the follower on top.  Press lightly, about 2.5 kg (5lb) for 30 minutes.  Remove, turn over and repress at 5kg (10lb) for 15 minutes.  Turn again and repress at 10kg (20lb) for 12 hours.  Remove, turn, and repress for a last time at 10kg for 12 hours.
  10. Remove cheese from the mould and cloth, and let air dry on a wooden board.  This may take from 3 to 5 days.  Be sure to turn the cheese a few times a day so that it dries evenly.
  11. Once your cheese has developed a rind, ripen at 13C (55F), and 80-85% humidity, from 4 to 6 months.  
I prefer to wax the cheese once the rind has developed, because from experience, this cheese dries out too quickly.  Try it at 4 months as it is very tasty at this stage, however it gets sharper with age.

Part One

Part Two

Bon appétit!


  1. Do you use a muslin fabric for draining and for molding of the cheese or is it an open weave cheesecloth?

  2. Hi SCK, it is more of an open weave cheesecloth, which is double layered. Muslin is mainly used for soft cheese to prevent loss of the curd.