Monday, December 29, 2008

Smear rind cheese

Some more smear rind cheeses, this time a little larger. These were made November 10 from jersey milk. The wheel above has been washed regularly while the wheel below has been washed only occasionally. It has more yeast growth on the rind.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Smear rind cheese

These cheeses I made on November 19, intending to be small smear rind semi soft cheeses. The wheels vary from two and a half to three and a half inch and are rennet coagulated. They were all from the same batch but in the afinage I separated them in two. The wheels below have developed a smear rind, the Brevibacterium linen is clearly recognizable by the orange color. I have smeared the rind with my fingers before turning them every two days, hereby spreading the B. linen, making sure they are well established.
The cheeses in the top picture, though from the some batch and inoculated with the same cultures and yeasts, have been left alone apart from the two day turning cycle. "Wild" moulds and yeasts have established themselves on these wheels. The blue Penicilliums seem to have the upper hand. I am curious what the final outcome will be.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Chaource Style

This cheese I made on November 19 in the Chaource style. It was made after a recipe by Margaret Morris which called for an 8 hour ripening of the milk at room temperature after adding the culture. After this, it asked for two drops of rennet to be added before letting it coagulate for 8 hours.
After the 8 hours of ripening of the milk with the culture, my batch was already so far coagulated that it was impossible to add the rennet without breaking the curd. I consequently let the milk sit for the other 8 hours as asked for in the recipe (but without the rennet) and I ended up with a beautiful curd.
It turned out into a wonderful cheese, grassy and a little nutty.
Too bad I oversalted them. This is easy to do with the lactic type cheeses. Patrick Rance complains about this repeatedly in "The French Cheese Book", and not only regarding the lactic type.
So after reading this, I thought I was well aware of this and was in the good intention not to let this happen to me. "Better under- then oversalting" I thought. But now I see, it is more difficult than anticipated. I spoke to an artisinal cheesemaker recently who told me she would never let anybody else than herself salt her cheeses, especially the camemberts.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Some lactic type ripening

Here are some recent batches of lactic type cheese ripening in a refrigerator. The refrigerator is thermostatically controlled with the temperature set at 5oF (10C) degrees and the humidity keeps around 90 %. The upper batch was made December 7, the lower left November 4 and the right November 19. All were inoculated with Penicillium candidum strain SAM3.

Monday, December 22, 2008


I have finally made my first Alpine style cheese. Made out of 10 gallon of milk, it is the largest wheel I have made so far. It is a little more than 10 inch in diameter and around 3 inch tall.
I used milk from my regular jersey farmer, who is now feeding the cows on dry hay only. Some of the cows are dried off and are awaiting refreshing come January. He will then start to feed silage to the cows to boost milk production and the time to make Gouda and Alpines will be over. The milk will then have gas forming bacteria such as Clostridia tyrobutyricum in it and the cheese will develop off-tastes and might even blow up.
I hope I will have time to collect some more milk to make some more Alpine style cheeses before silage feeding starts. With the holidays coming up soon, I might just have the chance.

Sunday, December 21, 2008


As the farmer of the jersey cows is currently feeding his cows on dry hay only, I decided this is a good time to try some more Gouda. My first attempt of this cheese was not a great success due to the fermented food the cows had been fed. It has been more than a week now and I haven't seen any evidence of gas formation in the cheeses. I keep my fingers cross, because I made an Alpine style cheese yesterday and it can suffer the same damage.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Smear rind cheese

Her is a batch of small cheeses made after a tallegio recipe as a base . For those interested, I will list the cultures I put into the milk: TA 050 (Streptococcus thermophilus), Geotricum candidum 17, Corynebacteria (LR), Debaryomyces hansenii (a yeast) and a micrococci (MVA).
I am trying to develop these into small smear rind cheeses and as seen on the last picture, they are starting to turn orange, evidence of the Brevibacterium linen.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Cheese cave in Brooklyn

Here is a look in the cheese cave. I had to install a little heater because recently the temperature started to drop below the viable range for aging cheeses. The heater I installed was advertised as a pump house heater to keep the frost out. It is thermostatically controlled and low in amperage. I keep the room now at around 50F (10C) degrees. The humidity is always high, in the upper nineties.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Bloomy rind 2

These are the bloomy rind cheeses I made on November 4 and wrote about then. They have been aging well and, although there are many in the picture above, they have almost all been consumed. I am keeping a few to let them age for 60 days. This is the minimum time a cheese made of raw milk needs to age to be legal for sale. Although I am not selling cheese, I am just curious to the stage of the cheese at that age. I will report back around January 4th about this.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Recent tomme

Just a picture of a tomme I made recently. It is one out of a batch of three. This one was molded in a basket, hence the pattern on the cheese.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Lactic type cheese

Recently, I have started to make lactic type cheeses as well. The bloomy rind cheeses fall in this category. Basically, in lactic type cheeses the curd is set by the lactic acid produced by the culture. Depending on various influences, this can take up to as much as 48 hours. Although I do use a small amount of rennet in combination with the lactic acid, it is still considered a lactic type cheese. I usually aim for a 24 hour setting time. The resulting curd is of a grainier texture than rennet set curd due to the higher acidity. Some lactic type cheeses are Chaource, Saint Marcellin, various crottins and a lot of soft goat cheeses.
Rennet type cheeses are set by the addition of rennet to the milk. Because of the usually higher temperature of the milk and larger amount of rennet used, the milk is set within an hour, depending on the type of cheese being made.

The first photograph shows a stockpot with milk floating in a bath of water. Both milk and water are at 72F (22C). The water acts as a warming jacket, preventing the milk to cool off.
In the next picture the curd has set and is pulling away from the wall. This means it is starting to loose whey and is ready for hooping.
Because of the amount of time it takes for the milk to coagulate, fat particles rise to the top. In the third picture, you can see me spooning off the cream. I'll use it as sour cream.
The following two pictures show the hooping process, this is the ladling of the curd into the molds.
The last image shows the draining of the curd. I used two draining trays because I had made two different types of cheese. I did not want the whey to mix to prevent culture exchange. Because of limited space, I stacked the trays.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Bloomy rind 2

Made on November 4, my second attempt at a bloomy rind cheese seems to age better then the first. That one, shown in the last picture, had a strong bitter taste and was very runny. It was probably not drained enough and the surface of the cheeses too wet when I put them to age. It might also have had too much starter. On top at it all, I had put them in the cave where the humidity is 100% and over. This also might have contributed to the wetness of the paste and the development of a bitter taste.
Therefore I have put the new batch in a refrigerator where I can control the temperature and the humidity is between 85 and 95 %.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


This morning I went to get some milk at the Holstein farm. Usually I get there just at the end of milking time and have a little chat with the farmer. Although I was there at the regular time, the farmer had finished milking. After I had filled up my jugs from the bulk tank, I went to look for the farmer in the barn.
It was cold in upstate New York, so the cows were inside. I did not see the farmer but my eyes fell on a curious site. Near the entrance I saw one cow lying down. A glob was coming from it's behind. I walked towards it and soon realized that the cow was calving. Having heard a lot about possible complications during calving and noticing no movement of the calf which was half sticking out, I went to look for the farmer. I went to the house. He wasn't there, but his wife was. She mentioned he was expecting the cow to calf but had thought it wouldn't be so soon. He had gone up the hill to hunt for some deer.
We went back to the barn where the calf was almost entirely extracted from the cow. Just a quarter of it's hind legs were still inside. The farmer's wife grabbed the front legs and pulled the calf. It came out without any problem and it was soon clear that the calf and the mother were fine. She pulled the calf around the other cows toward the front of the mother. There she laid it on some hay and, what seemed like, massaged the heart a little and gave it some encouraging talk to get up. The mother, who seemed exhausted, licked the newborn and ate the umbilical cord. To the delight of the farmer's wife, the newborn was a heifer.
Writing this back in Brooklyn while making cheese from the milk of the fellow cows, I can't but help thinking while living in the city how fortunate I am, I can experience this. It makes me very happy.

Monday, November 17, 2008

"Blue" cheese (Taleggio)

This cheese I made last Monday (Nov 10). I basically used the same recipe as the Taleggio style recently I made recently, but I cooked this batch longer and slightly higher to extract more whey from the curd in the vat. I cooked it for half an hour at 90 F (32C). I aim for a soft but not runny cheese.
The blue on the cheese is from oxidation of the copper draining tray. Needles to say that the draining whey is highly active as a oxidant due to the acidity.
I figure it won't harm the cheese. Copper is widely used in the food industry, among it the cheese industry. Most vats in the alps are traditionally made of copper and many a cheese maker believes it adds to the character of the cheese.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Taleggio style washed rind cheese

Last night I tried one of the little cheeses from this recent batch. I had brought it out as part of a course before diner with our cheese loving friends. It was very well received, after the goat de Savoie the runner up on the plate. At 26 days, it is mild, creamy and a little nutty. It melts on the tongue.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Jersey cows milk

I have recently found a farmer upstate with Jersey cows. Should make some nice cheese, high in milk fat as seen seen below.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Goat de Savoie

Here are some tommes I made over the summer. The one above and just below were made on August 27 of raw cows milk. It heas a nice clean taste as well as a nice clean rind.
The cheese in the third picture was made on September 1st from raw goats milk. It has a wonderful complex goat cheese taste. Grassy, nutty and earthy, like a tomme de Savoie but made of goats milk.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Monday, November 10, 2008

Taleggio style washed rind cheese

A few weeks ago I made a batch of Taleggio style washed rind cheeses from 10 gallons raw cows milk. In addition to the lactic acid starter culture, I added Geotrichum candidum, corynebacteria and micrococci. After coagulation of the milk I cut the curd into one to two inch cubes. After a few minutes rest, I filled one cheesecloth lined open end form and three small soft cheese molds. The fourth picture shows the resulting cheeses.

Thinking the curd was to soft, I cut it again with a whisk into hazelnut size pieces. I let it rest again and filled the remaining forms with this. I drained the curd without pressing in the molds, some for 24 hours or more. After surface salting and some air dying, I moved them to the cave, where they are now.
The cheese right below, I secured with some wood. I was that it would sag and perhaps run off the board.