Monterey Jack cheese hails from the Monterey area in California. It was brought over by the Spanish via Mexico and was originally known as Queso del Pais and was made by the Mexican Franciscan friars during the 18th century.
An American entrepreneur named David Jack realised its commercial value and started selling it all over California. The cheese came to be known as “Monterey Jack’s” or “Jack’s Monterey,” eventually acquiring the name Monterey Jack.
Monterey Jack Cheese
Makes about 1 kg (2.2 pounds) of cheese
- 10 L (10 qt) Full Cream Cow’s Milk, preferably pasteurised/unhomogenised.
- 1/8th Teaspoon (Dash) Mesophilic Culture (MO30)
- 2.5 ml (½ tsp) Calcium Chloride in ¼ cup water
- 2.5 ml (½ tsp) Liquid Rennet in ¼ cup water
- 18% Saturated Brine solution made with cheese salt
- Cheese Wax (optional)
- Cheese Press
- 165 mm Cheese basket
- Cheese drying mat or Bamboo mat
- Loose weave cheese cloth
- Dairy Thermometer
- Stainless Steel Stirring Spoon
- Mini measuring spoons (for cultures)
- Sterilise your utensils and leave to air dry
- Using a double boiler, heat the milk to 32°C (90°F).
- Add the starter culture, mix well for a minute, cover and allow milk to ripen for 45 minutes.
- Whilst keeping the temperature at 32°C/90°F, add the diluted rennet and stir for one minute. Cover and let sit for 45-50 minutes.
Cutting the Curd
- Check for a clean break and cut the curds into 1.25 cm (½ inch) cubes.
- Rest for 10 minutes to allow curds to heal.
- Return to a low heat and gradually raise the temp to 38°C (100°F), stirring gently and continuously, during the period of 40 minutes.
- Once the target temperature is reached, maintain for 30 minutes and continue stirring. Let the curds rest for 30 minutes.
Pressing and Brining
- Line a 165 mm cheese mould with cheesecloth and fill with the curds. Cover the curds with the corner of the cheese cloth, top with a follower, and press at 13 kg (30 lb) for 1 hour.
- Remove the cheese from the press, and slowly and carefully unwrap it. Turn the cheese over, rewrap it in the cloth and press at 13 kg (30 lb) for 6 hours.
- Repeat the unwrapping and turning process, this time pressing at 13 kg (30 lb) for 6 hours.
- Remove the cheese from the press, and take it out of the mould and unwrap the cheese cloth.
- Place the cheese into the brine for 12 hours, turning at 6 hours to ensure coverage.
Air Drying and Waxing
- Then place on a cheese mat and board and let air dry at room temperature until it is dry to touch (usually 2-5 days). Turn twice daily to allow for even drying.
- Wax the cheese and allow it to age for one to three months in a humid cheese cave at 10-12ºC (50-54ºF) at 80-85% humidity. Don’t forget to turn weekly, to allow for even distribution of the fats and flavour.
You can pick up supplies for Monterey Jack cheese at our shop https://www.littlegreenworkshops.com.au.
I recommend the Hard Cheese Kit for newbie curd nerds as it contains most things you need to make this cheese.