Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Drunken Cow Cheese

A cheese soaked in wine.  What a novel idea?

I believe that it was first tried in Spain.  The soft goats cheese that was traditional was prone to going mouldy, and they wanted a way to prevent the mould from spoiling the cheese and to be able to keep it longer before eating it.  Wine was the perfect solution, because by soaking the cheese in this weak acidic and alcoholic drink prevented mould from taking hold on the rind.  That's the history behind it anyway.  The process was soon used in Italy where they predominantly used cow's milk and called it Formaggio Ubriaco (Drunken Cheese).


This is my first attempt at this cheese so I will not be posting the recipe until I know how it turns out.  You will have to wait three months until it matures for the taste test post.  It is only the second type of washed curd cheese I have made other than Gouda.

The recipe I used was from Tim Smith's Making Artisan Cheese, and was Cabra al Vino (which is Spanish for Goats Wine), except I have used cow's milk, changed the recipe somewhat, and the type of wine.

I opted for a sweet red instead of the normal dry red used for this cheese.  I used a Crimson Cabernet by Banrock Station, which is a light fruity red, hoping that it will impart a certain sweetness to the cheese.


The cheese soaks in the wine for 24 hours initially, then a 6 hour air drying, then another 24 hours in the wine bath.


When it is removed, and dried for another 24 hours, it looks like this.  It has a lovely purple colour.


It was not suggested in the recipe, but I pieced the cheese about 14 times as I would with a blue, to let some of the wine infuse into the core of the round.  I am hoping for a marbling effect, but time will tell.

It is being stored at 12C @ 80% humidity, for three months.  I have to turn it daily for the first two weeks, and if mould forms (which I am hoping it won't), I have to wipe it with a brine solution.  I have found from experience that my wine fridge does not stay humid enough, so I may end up waxing it at the four week mark to ensure that it keeps moist.

Fingers crossed it will be a very nice cheese.  It smells delicious already, but I have always been partial to a nice drop of red wine!

Has anyone tasted this type of cheese before?  I have to admit that I have not, so it is a big experiment for me.

9 comments:

  1. I have made this cheese using Debra Amrein-Boyes' recipe. I really like it. I have not made it with 100% goat milk (a bit too expensive), but I have made it using up to 50% goat milk. We like this cheese a lot. The best performer in terms of wine (of course, among those I have used) was Protocolo Red. My favorite was the one where I used 50% goat milk, but my husband preferred a less goat-y version (25% goat). Good luck!

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    1. Thanks for sharing Simon. Sounds like a nice variant.

      Gav

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  2. Hi Gavin,
    Thanks for a great blog. I recently did a course on camembert and although we were asked to bring our own un-homogenised milk we were lucky enough to be supplied with real milk from a local dairy. I had an absolute ball at the course and came home not only with a camembert but ricotta, mascarpone and quark (quarg) too. I was interested to read that you use homogenised milk with the addition of calcium chloride in your cheesemaking. Is there a set ratio of calcium chloride to milk that you use? And do you recommend a milk with a certain butterfat percentage? As much as I would like to use milk from a dairy it would be a lot more convenient just to grab it from the supermarket.
    Cheers Kate

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    1. Hi Kate,

      I use half a teaspoon of CaCl per 8 litres of homogenised milk. The richer the milk the better. If you can get milk with a butter fat over 3.8%, then you will get a great cheese.

      Gav

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    2. Thanks Gav. Shall have a go with my triple cream brie that I have been waiting to try.

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  3. Oh wow, it looks fantastic. I can't wait to see the end result.

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    1. I too am excited. Still turning it every day so far for the first two weeks.

      Gav

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  4. I have tasted a similar cheese in Ireland, and absolutely loved it, From what i could work out the curds were be soaked in wine before being pressed,the cheese was beautifully marbled, i tried soaking some curds in a good irish whisky, turned out to be a beautiful cheese. Leah

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  5. Hi Gavin.
    I made a French farm cheese last year, which I put in red grape skins, after that was made ​​wine from them. The cheeses were in the wine shells in 2 months. It did not go well, the shells got moldy and the cheese was almost dissolved inside the shells.
    It was my first attempt and I was sorry it went so bad, so I have not tried it again, but might feel like it's pretty exciting with the combination of wine-and cheese.
    Excuse my english, I'm from Denmark.
    I have a great passion for making cheese. I hold courses in the manufacture of cheese and Danes love to learn how to make your own cheese.
    Regards to all cheesemakers on this lovely blog... Aase

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