Saturday, 25 August 2012

Vintage Farmhouse Cheddar

Farmhouse Cheddar is a really simple hard cheese to make.  The recipe that I use can be found at my farmhouse cheddar post that includes a video tutorial.

Anyway, I had this round hiding in the back of the cheese fridge, which I made under a year ago.

It was made on 16th September 2011, so technically it is 11 months old, which I class as Vintage for a cheddar.  Some may categorise it as Sharp.  It looked like there was a slight seepage at some stage, however I found the wax intact so it must have come from a cheese stored above it as some stage of its maturation.  There was no excess whey present under the wax when I removed it, however the surface was just touch dry.

As with all Farmhouse Cheddars, it was semi-moist, and slightly crumbly.  Easy to cut, with a mild yellowing of the cheese.

The taste was outstanding.  Sharp like a true vintage cheddar, with the peppercorns adding to its boldness.

Normally I do not leave my cheddar this long to mature, but as I made two rounds with the same batch of milk, it was easy to leave one mature for longer.

All in all, a fantastic cheese that improves with aging.  I will certainly be making a double batch of this one in the near future so I can eat one at the three month stage, and leave the other to acquire vintage status!

Monday, 20 August 2012

Drunken Cow Update

It has been 17 days since I made my first Drunken Cow cheese, and I have been turning it every day.

Two days ago, it had shrunk so much that it cracked, top and bottom, so as this cheese has to mature for a full three months, I had no choice but to wax it.

Here is the top.  You will notice that the wine penetrated about 5mm (1/4") into the rind of the cheese, and deep into the holes that I pierced.

This is the bottom.  There is minimal mould build up, and it was easily washed off with a brine solution.

You can see how much it has shrunk by comparing the Drunken cow, now a deep purple after being cleaned prior to waxing, to a Caerphilly that I made on Saturday night.  The Drunken cow has lost about a quarter of its volume.

So here is the waxed cheese, all sealed and ready to continue its maturity at around 11C (51F).  We will crack it open on 3rd November 2012.

By the way, this cheese still smells divine.  It has a deep, sweet red wine aroma.  Both Kim and I cannot wait to sample it.

[Cross posted on The Greening of Gavin]

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.