Friday, September 25, 2009

Epoisses style

Here is a quick update on the Epoisses style cheese I have been trying to make for some weeks. The cheeses in these pictures have been washed with mildly salted water for almost two weeks. On a few cheeses the rind is very fragile. I suspect it might be a little to moist in the environment they are in. The cheeses also show signs of a white mold which I think is Geotrichum candidum. I didn't add this to the milk, it must be present in the refrigerator the cheeses are in. The rind is slightly yellow, no clear real signs yet of the Brevibacterium linens. Maybe when I wash them with Marc de Bourgogne, which I will start in a few days, it will appear.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Ayrshire Blue

The results of the blue cheeses I made over the summer were of mixed success. Some turned out bad because of poor milk quality, another cheese suffered because I was in France for two weeks and one batch just turned out badly for no apparent reason. I have obviously still a lot to learn so what better to do than to make another batch of blue.
This time I started with 10 gallons of Ayrshire milk at 86 F. As cultures I added MM1oo and a little LM057 which helps with the development of cavities where the blue mold will grow. The spots in the milk is the added Penicillium roqueforti. This will create the blue mold. 
After adding adding 7.5 mml of microbial rennet it took 60 minutes to reach the desired consistency and the curd was ready to be cut. I cut it gently for 5 minutes to pea size particles after which I let the curds settle for 5 minutes. Without heating I then stirred the curd for fifty minutes or until the curd had reached the desired texture. After this I let the curds settle for about 10 minutes before I hooped the curd directly from the vat with the cheese forms. I did not drain the whey from the vat before I started the last procedure.
I turned the cheeses after 15 minutes and then every half hour to an hour for the next four hours. The next day I turned them twice. The third day I salted one side and the fourth day I salted the other side before I moved the cheeses to the aging facility. I keep my fingers cross that these will turn into some good blue cheeses


Friday, September 18, 2009

Epoisses style

As mentioned in the previous post, I had made a new batch of lactic cheeses to try to create something resembling Epoisses again. This is my first batch of lactic cheese from Ayrshire milk. All previous batches of lactic cow cheese I made, had been from Holstein milk. 
I used 4.5 gallons of milk at a temperature of 68F, added culture (MM100 and Aroma B) and 2 ml of microbial coagulant. I let this coagulate for about 24 hours before ladling the curd into the molds. After 14 hours of draining I turned the cheeses in the molds and let them drain for another 24 hours before I salted one side. 12 Hours later I released the cheese from the molds and salted the other side. At this time I put the cheeses under the fan for a drying session of about 10 hours. 
After the drying session, it was the morning of the fourth day after starting the making process. The cheeses are starting to smell strongly fermentative and I even noticed some signs of a mildly orange rind. I am very excited and am newly encouraged by these signs that this time I am on the right track. It is time to move them to a cooler and more humid environment before they dry out.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Epoisses style

So far the cheeses I wrote about in the previous post don't show any sign of wanting to turn into a smear rind cheese. I have washed the cheeses for almost two weeks now with mildly salted water. The rind should have starting to turn orange by now as evidence of the presence of the Brevibacterium linens. Nothing of the kind happened but as one can see, the rind has developed  some white mold and there is probably where the problem lies. When I made the cheese, I added Geotrichum candidum to the batch. This now has developed a white bloomy rind which might inhibit the growth of the linens bacteria.  
For now I will stop washing the cheese and start eating it as the cheeses are starting to get runny already as can be seen in the picture below. I made a new batch of lactic cheeses without the G. candidum and will start a new attempt at making the intended cheese. 

Friday, September 11, 2009

Epoisses style

After visiting Epoisses this summer and eating some excellent Epoisses cheese, I found the time ripe to give it another try myself to make an Epoisses inspired cheese. So far the results seem promising. The cheeses are much smaller than the real ones. I used some crotin molds and some molds I made from old yoghurt containers. I washed the cheeses in the top two containers with some mildly salted water. I will wash the cheeses like this for about two weeks, every other day. After that I will wash the cheeses for two weeks with Marc de Burgundy which I brought back from France. 
The cheeses in the in the lower container shall remain unwashed. Consider it the control cheese.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Fromage de France

Some of the regular readers of this blog might have wondered why it has been so silent recently. Well, I was with my family in France. My wife had persuaded me to take a vacation abroad, cheese being the draw. And of course, I couldn't resist. France is still a heaven of cheese and plenty of other delicious food.
We spent the first week with friends in Ain, the foot hills of the Alps. A perfect place from which to make trips into the Haute Savoie in search of cheese. My friend, who grew up here but also lives in Brooklyn, was so kind to make phone calls. She made contact with several local cheese makers. We visited a Reblochon maker and I spent a morning in the mountains watching the making of Tomme Des Bauges. I will write about this in the next few weeks.
After a week we drove north to Burgundy. Here we stayed for three days on a farm in Epoisses. We visited the only producer of raw milk Epoisses in Origny-sur-Seine, some 50 km north east of Epoisses. They make an excellent cheese, but more later.

The cheeses in the pictures came from the cheese shop of Pierre Gay in Annecy. I had heard of this shop in New York as being a good source for cheese and makers. The owner is very nice and he did give me some leads towards cheesemakers in the area. I will give a brief description of the cheeses. 
On top, we find a Saint Felicien in the ramekin, a lactic cow. This one was mild and buttery. The large pink wedge is a Vacherin des Bauges, a bit of a disappointment. Too dry for a vacherin, perhaps not the time of year and according to my friends' father not the right area for good vacherin. Next to that, a trusty Comte, sweet and nutty, flanked by a petit Bornard Chevre and a Seez de Tarentaise. Both nice goat cheeses, the taller tarentaise a harder dryer one, the smaller Bornard soft and lemony. Under this a Romans Fermier, a lactic coagulated raw milk cow cheese. This cheese is made similar as the Saint Felicien but is ripened on rye straw, hence the blue mold on the rind. To the left a Crotin Chavignol, a little dry goat cheese, which to my pleasant surprise was very similar to the cheeses in this post. Moving left we find a Saint Nectaire, soft and earthy, honest without bravoure. And last, a fantastic piece of Blue du Haut Jura, also known as Blue de Gex. According to my friend a real find.