Monday, 19 November 2012

Drunken Cow Cheese - Recipe

Drunken Cow Cheese is now a favourite.  I shared some with friends the other day, and they sung the praises of this delicious cheese.

So how do you make it?

Well let me share a modified recipe from Tim Smith's Making Artisan Cheese.  His Spanish recipe titled Cabra Al Vino calls for goats milk and doesn't specify what type of red wine to bath the pressed cheese in, so let me be a little more specific.  The fancy Italian name for this cheese would be Formaggio Ubriaco (Drunken Cheese).

Drunken Cow Cheese

  • 8 litres (2 gallons) full cream cows milk
  • 1/8th teaspoon Mesophilic direct set culture
  • 1/8th teaspoon Calcium Chloride diluted in 1/4 cup unchlorinated water
  • 1 teaspoon (5ml) liquid rennet diluted in 1/4 cup unchlorinated water
  • 1 Tablespoon cheese salt
  • 6 cups (1.5 L) water, heated to 80°C (175°F)

1.5 L (1.5 quarts) Sweet Red wine (like dark Lambrusco or a darker Crimson Cabernet), enough to cover cheese after pressing


This is a washed curd cheese, which lowers final acidity.

Pour milk in 10 litre stainless steel pot.
Add diluted calcium chloride, stir well.  Heat the cows milk to 32°C (90°F), and stir in diluted starter culture, cover, and ripen for 10 minutes.
Maintaining the target temp of 32°C, add diluted rennet and stir for one minute.  Cover and let set for one hour at target temperature.

Check for a clean break.  Once you have a clean break, cut curds into 1 cm (1/2") cubes.  Stir gently for one minute, then let curds rest for five minutes at target temperature.
With a sterilized measuring cup, draw off one-third of the whey.  Gradually add the heated water, and stir to bring the temperature of the curds up to 33°C (92°F).  This will take around two and a half cups of heated water.  Stir continuously to keep the curds from matting at the bottom of the pot. 
Once you reach the new target temp, let the curds rest for ten minutes, stirring occasionally.
Drain off the whey to the level of the curds using your sterilized cup.  Continue to add the 80°C (175°F) water, stirring constantly until the temperature of the curds reaches 38°C (100°F).  
Maintain the target temperature for fifteen minutes, stirring to prevent matting.  Let the curds sit in the pot for thirty minutes at 38°C (100°F).

Strain off the whey using a cheesecloth.  Pour the curds back into the pot, and mill into 6 mm (1/4") pieces.  Blend in the salt.
Pack the curds into a 900 gm (2lbs) lined mould.  Cover the curds with one corner of the cheese cloth, apply the follower, and press at 10kg (20lbs) for twenty minutes.  Remove cheese from press, and gently unwrap.  Turn cheese over, rewrap, and press at 10kg (20lbs) for twenty hours.  Repeat by turning over again and press at 10kg (20lbs) for twelve hours.

Remove cheese from the press and mould, skewer about 10 holes about half way through the cheese on each end, then bathe the cheese in a sterilized food grade plastic container in the red wine for 24 hours.  Ensure the cheese is completely covered and flip end-over-end at the 12 hour mark.  Remove the cheese, lay on cheese mat (or sushi mats) for about six hours, or until it is dry to touch.  Repeat the wine bath for another 24 hours, topping up with additional wine if necessary, flip again at the 12 hour mark.  Remove, and dry on mats until touch dry.

Store the cheese in your cheese fridge at 11°C (52F) and 80-85% humidity for three months.  If you cannot maintain humidity, wax the cheese before it cracks.
Turn cheese daily for the first two weeks, and wipe down with a brine solution if mould forms on the surface.

As I mentioned in the review for this cheese, it is delicious.  Give it a try, you will not be disappointed!

I love this cheese!


  1. The recipe sounds straight forward enough and it looks to be deliciously creamy. I wonder what it would be like without the wine soak. One small question Gavin, did you use fresh wine for the second 24 hours of soaking or just put it back in the same wine as before? with a top-up as needed.

    1. I just used the same wine for the second bath. I did put a lid over the container at all times to avoid contamination.

  2. I think I'll have a go at this cheese Gavin. I'll do my usual double batch and soak one of the two resulting cheeses in wine and leave the other plain. Then I'll be able to make a comparison. Reading the recipe in detail and writing it out for me to follow I am surprised that so little of the whey is replaced with water - only 6 cups/1.5 litres out of 8 litres of milk. There would be roughly 6 litres of whey so one is replacing only 25%. I wonder how much the Dutch washed curd cheeses replace with water?

    I don't know if my rennet is stronger than yours, but I find 2gms is enough to get a clean break well within 60 minutes. I have often wondered whether en excess of rennet makes for a hard curd and crumbly cheese, as opposed to a soft curd and creamy cheese. Any ideas Gavin?