It was high time that I made a new cheese, so over the weekend I dug out all of my cheese books and selected Colby cheese.
This cheese originates from Wisconsin, USA. Colby is a washed curd cheese which lowers the finished acidity of the cheese, so it is not as sharp as a Cheddar.
I used Jonsey’s non-homogenised milk for a stronger curd, negating the requirement for calcium chloride to add back in soluble calcium that is lost after homogenisation. The milk is more expensive, but worthwhile just for the firmer curd structure.
I could tell from the very start that this is going to be a very special cheese.
The one unusual ingredient that this cheese contains is Annatto, which is made from the seeds of Bixa orellana, a shrub native to South America.
Colouring has been added to cheese as a ruse to trick the buyer into thinking that they are getting a product made with premium milk. Before Annatto was used for colouring, cheese makers would use saffron,
turmeric, and marigold petals to achieve the desirable yellowish colour.
It is still used today in most commercial cheese making. The cup in the picture above contains only 5 drops, diluted with non-chlorinated water.
Anyway, all the utensils laid out, ready to go. The rennet has been diluted, and the mesophilic starter culture is in the spoon. Unfortunately for you dear reader, I will be listing the recipe today as I have not tried the final product, and made a few modifications as I progressed through the procedure. For all I know, it could turn out to be tasteless. I doubt it though!
Ben took a happy snap of me in one of my favourite poses. This was during the long stirring part of the process, with over 90 minutes of arm aching excitement. Watching curds shrink is exciting, right?
Here is the final pressed cheese, fresh out of its wrapping and mould. It certainly looks yellower than one of my normal cheeses.
It is now drying in the cheese nook for a day or two, and then will be waxed and aged for 3 months. Looking forward to the taste test!
[cross posted on The Greening of Gavin]