Tilsit is a semi-hard cheese made from cows milk that develops a rind with the aid of Brevibacterium linens (the aroma producing bacteria) during the ripening phase. It can be made from either raw milk or pasteurised milk. It is washed with a brine solution during maturation to encourage the light red smear on the rind.
This recipe is the traditional one that originates from East Prussia and not the Swiss version of the same name.
- 10 Litres (10 quarts) whole milk (about 3.8% fat)
- Heaped 1/8 teaspoon (dash) Thermophilic Culture (MOT92)
- 1/32 teaspoon (Smidgen) Brevibacterium Linens
- 2.5ml (½ tsp) liquid rennet IMCU 190, diluted in ¼ cup non-chlorinated water.
- 2.5ml (½ tsp) Calcium Chloride, diluted in ¼ cup non-chlorinated water.
- Cool saturated brine solution (18%).
- Simple Brine for washing rind
- Cheese drying mat or Bamboo mat
- Dairy Thermometer
- Stainless Steel Stirring Spoon
- Mini measuring spoons (for cultures)
- 165mm cheese mould with follower
- Ripening box
- Sanitise all equipment.
- Warm your milk to 35°C (95°F), stirring gently whilst bringing up to temperature. Turn off the heat.
- Sprinkle culture and B. Linens over the surface of the milk and allow to rehydrate for 5 minutes. Stir thoroughly in an up and down motion without breaking the surface of the milk. Cover and allow to ripen for 30 minutes at the target temperature.
- Add the Calcium Chloride solution and mix well.
- Add the rennet solution to the milk and mix thoroughly using the same up and down motion for no more than 1 minute. Cover and allow to set for 50 minutes.
- Check for a clean break. If necessary, leave for another 10 minutes then check again.
CUTTING AND Stirring THE CURD
- Cut the curds into 1.25 cm (½ inch) cubes. When the curd is cut, cover and allow to heal for 5 minutes.
- Slowly increase the heat to 43°C (110°F) over 40 minutes, stirring to prevent matting. Cover and stand for 10 minutes.
DRAINING AND PRESSING
- Using a ladle, ladle the curds in the unlined 165mm mould. Place the follower on top. Place the mould back into the pot to keep the curds warm.
- Flip the mould every 15 minutes for the first hour. Don’t remove the cheese from the mould during the first hour.
- After the first hour, flip the cheese out of the mould, then replace back into the mould, every 2 hours for 6 hours. This will help firm up the cheese and form a smooth rind.
- Leave the cheese in the pot overnight.
BRINING and Air Drying
- Next morning, remove cheese from the mould. Place in the saturated brine solution for 12 hours, turning over once at 6 hours.
- Remove from the brine and place on a cheese mat in a ripening box. Place the lid on diagonally so the cheese can still breath at room temperature for 1 day. Turn once during the 24 hours.
AFFINAGE (AKA MATURING)
- After air drying, you will find the cheese a little bit tacky. Ripen at 13°C (55°F) and 90% humidity, turning daily for even ripening during the first week.
- After the first week, begin to wash the rind twice weekly with a simple brine solution (1 cup cooled boiled water + 2 teaspoons salt).
- You will notice that this cheese starts to yellow then turn slightly orange as you continue to mature it. Keep washed twice weekly for 2 months for a mild flavour and up to 6 months for a stronger flavour.
This cheese is simply amazing! Well worth the wait.
You can pick up supplies for Tilsit cheese at our shop https://www.littlegreenworkshops.com.au. I recommend the Italian Cheese Kit with the addition of Brevibacterium Linens, as it contains most cultures, supplies, and equipment you’ll need to make this cheese.