Friday, February 26, 2010

60 days

Last Monday my latest batch of epoisses style cheese reached 60 days. This is the minimum time required by federal law that cheeses made from unpasteurized milk have to be aged before they can be sold. Although I am not selling any cheese because they are not produced in a licensed facility, I am in the process of setting up a small creamery. I am toying with the idea of producing a raw milk epoisses style cheese when I have the plant set up. As far as I know there is no such cheese available on the American market. All the imported epoisses are produced from pasteurized milk and I don't know of any domestic produced cheese in this style.
This batch of epoisses held up remarkably well up to the the 60 days mark. I had moved the cheeses from aging cave at around 45 days, wrapped them and put them in a refrigerator at about 42 degree F. After 60 days they weren't ammoniated at all and when properly stored I think they can easily last for at least another two weeks before becoming too ripe.
The cheeses have been very well received. Below a response from a cheesemonger who tried the epoisses:
"I thoroughly enjoyed the epoisses. It had a nice mustiness and a wonderful dense tang with an almost whiskey sweetness at the finish. It was an accomplished bit of cheesemaking."

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Alpine Cheese

For a while I have been fascinated by the traditional Alpine style hoop. For the longest time I had no idea how they work and I am still unclear about the proper procedure. I watched several videos online and looked at many images but couldn't really figure it out. Recently I saw some clearer images of the actual hoop in a cheese making supply catalog from Switzerland. This inspired me to try to make a hoop myself and try to figure out how it works. Ad here is the first result. I put one to the test while making an Alpine style cheese. I had also built a small screw type press for it.
It worked alright, I just have to get the hang of it. It would probably be easier if the hoop was much larger like the real ones, 20 to 30 inch in diameter I think. But as a press it did everything it had to do. It pressed the curd and released all the whey.
The cheesecloth I used was perhaps a little too rough. I had bought some linen hoping to create a rind similar to large comtes. But for such a small cheese, the rind ended up being a bit too coarse.