"Gavin, I'm having trouble with my cheesemaking. This evening I cracked open a wheel of Jack that I had made on 11/11/11. It was better than the last two, but still pretty crumbly and sharp with what seemed to me to be a hint of iodine. I seem to have a lot of trouble regulating the temp while cooking the curds. It goes for a while with no temperature change and then jumps up too high. I am cooking them in a pot on a gas burner. Do you have any suggestions that might help? Thanks"Well the answer is quite simple. Use a double boiler. Here is a photo of my set up, and how it helps me regulate the temperature of the milk during the cheese making process. (click to enlarge)
I learnt this trick on the very first cheese making course I went on. Due to the fact that there is no direct flame on the main pot, it heats up quite evenly. All I do is fill the smaller pot about a third full of tap water, and keep an eye on the thermometer. It heats up quite slowly, however when you reach the target temp, turning off the heat does not cause the milk to keep rising in temperature. It just seams to sit around the target. I also leave the milk on the double boiler (heat off) when I am waiting for the culture to develop, and waiting for the rennet to set. With the lid on the main pot, the heat from the water alone keeps the milk at the target temperature which makes it very simple to control. It may drop a few degrees over the period of an hour, but no real harm is done.
As for your Monterey Jack, here is a variant, Pepper Jack one I carved into quite a while ago.
The recipe that I used was from the Tim Smith book, "Making Artisan Cheese". I believe that the cheese is meant to be a little crumbly, as that is the way it has turned out for me every time I have made it. It does have a sharp taste, however certainly no iodine smell. It just smells cheesy!
Hope this helps.