Castle Blue cheese

This is a lovely creamy blue cheese that is amazingly easy to make, giving you three lovely small camembert sized rounds of creamy blue cheese that are ready to eat from 6 weeks of age. The recipe suggests adding cream but if your milk is already very creamy you may well not need to do this, just use 7 litres of milk. Milk taken towards the end of the lactation season of animals always has a higher fat content which would suit this cheese well. Supermarket bought non-homogenised milk will need the addition of cream.

Recipe

6½ litres whole milk
500ml cream
¼ tsp Flora Danica
1/8th tsp Penicillium roqueforti mold powder
¼ tsp calcium chloride
¼ tsp rennet
Cheese salt

Equipment

Culture measuring spoons
Draining kit
3 camembert moulds (10cm with bottom) or
Hoops and mats if you are more experienced
Skimmer/slotted spoon
Curd knife
7+ litre pot

Method:

  1. Sterilise your equipment including your pot and lid. Not everything will need to be sterilised straight away.  Read the method for timings and sterilise what you need as you go.
  2. Warm milk and cream (or creamy milk) gently and slowly to 320C.
  3. Sprinkle the Flora Danica and Penicillium roqueforti mold over the surface of the milk, put the lid on your pot and wait 5 mins – your culture and mold are re-hydrating.
  4. Using your slotted/skimmer spoon and with an up and down movement very gently draw the culture and mold into the body of the milk taking care not to break the surface of the milk excessively.
  5. Put the lid back on your pot and now leave it for 1½ hrs, maintaining the temp at 320C.
  6. Close to 1½ hrs later dilute the calcium chloride in around 50ml of water. Add to the milk and gently incorporate it using a skimmer spoon for 2 minutes.  Dilute rennet in 50ml of water adding it to the milk and gently incorporating it using a skimmer spoon for 2 minutes.
  7. Put the lid back on your pot and now leave it to ripen for 1 hr at room temperature
  8. Check for a clean break.  If it is not ready leave for another 10 minutes.  If it is ready cut the curds into 2.5cm cubes (again best google this if you do not know how to do this). Let stand for 10 minutes.
  9. Stir the curds very gently for 30 mins. The curds will shrink in size and start to mat.  Let settle for 5 minutes and prepare your draining tray/kit placing your sterilised moulds on the mat.
  10. Remove the whey until you can just see the tops of the curds using a sterilised cup or by gently and carefully tipping the pot.
  11. Use a slotted spoon to place the curds in your moulds. They will start to settle.  Keep filling until all the curd is used up.  Leave to drain for 2hrs.  I cover the whole thing with a sheet of sterilised butter muslin or blue cheese cloth to keep flies and dust out. Flip the cheeses (tip into one hand then transfer to the other and put back in the mould the other way up) and drain for several hours or overnight at room temperature.
  12. In the morning flip again and drain for 2hrs. Remove the cheeses from the moulds one at a time and salt first the top and then the bottom with cheese salt using around ¾ tsp for each cheese.  Place in a ripening container and let ripen at 90% humidity and 100C.
  13.   Turn the cheeses daily for a week wiping up any whey with a paper towel each time.
  14. After 7 days pierce each cheese 6 to 8 times using a sterilised thick knitting needle or skewer through from top to bottom and side to side. Return to the container and continue to ripen.  After around 10 days of ripening blue mold should be visible on the outside of the cheese.
  15. After another 7 days pierce the cheese again in the same way and ripen for another 4 weeks, turning the cheese weekly. A blue-grey molded rind will develop, and the cheese will soften slightly.  The cheese is now ready to eat but can also be wrapped in silver cheese wrapping paper and stored in the fridge at normal fridge temperature for 1 month.  The cheese wrapping paper is perforated allowing the cheese to breath and it also absorbs any excess moisture.  If the cheese is not wrapped it will become too ‘blue’ and the rind too thick.  If your rind develops super quick, you may want to wrap it earlier than waiting just over 6 weeks after first piercing it.

     

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Valençay Style Cheese

This is a pyramid shaped French goats milk cheese that is covered in ash and then white mold ripened. This cheese has a fruity complex flavour when made with well-matched cultures and molds. I have trialled several French white molds (different strains of both Penicillium candidum and Geotrichum candidum) and selected two that match goats’ milk very well to enable you to make a wonderfully fruity and complex Valençay style cheese right here in New Zealand. I also stock two different shaped pyramid moulds, one giving a taller and more slender cheese and the other a squatter and broader shape. The choice is yours. The recipe below makes 8 pyramids. If you want to make 4 just halve the recipe but you will have to use a half drop measure of Geotrichum candidum which requires a little ‘guestimation’ as a drop is the smallest measure of the culture measuring spoons. Less is better than more with this culture. If you use too much the white cheese paste below the ash skin will turn a little runny and soapy rather than staying firm and creamy.

 

Ingredients
8 litres milk
1/2 tsp Flora danica aromatic mesophilic culture
Drop (1/64 th tsp) Geotrichum candidum
Pinch (1/16 th tsp) Penicillium candidum PCC2
¼ tsp calcium chloride
3ml dilute rennet (65 IMCU) – 1/2 + 1/8 th tsp
2 Tbs cheese salt
Ash

Equipment
Culture measuring spoons
Skimmer/slotted spoon
Thermometer – must be accurate
Butter muslin or blue cheese cloth
Small volume measure cylinder
Draining kit or similar
8 pyramid moulds
Ripening container
Narrow slotted spoon
Ash shaker (I use a saltshaker with largish holes) or sieve

 

Method

1. Sterilise all equipment needed for the next 5 method steps below.
2. Warm milk to 22°C, stirring gently and then maintain this temperature.
3. Sprinkle culture and both molds on the surface of the milk. Cover pan and wait 5 minutes for them to rehydrate. Then use a skimmer spoon to gently incorporate them into the milk. Try not to break the surface of the milk.
4. Dilute calcium chloride in around 30 to 50ml of sterile cold water and add to the milk and incorporate it as in step 3 for 1 minute.
5. Rinse dilution vessel in sterile cold water and dilute rennet in 25 to 50ml of sterile cold water and then incorporate it into the milk for 2 minutes.
6. Cover the pot and incubate at room temperature for 18hrs. I choose a quiet draught free spot in the kitchen, place a towel on the floor, add a chopping board, then the pan of milk and wrap everything in 2 blankets. This maintains a constant temperature for the incubation period. At the end of this time you should have a firm curd set and possibly some whey separation around the perimeter of the pan and over the surface of the curd.
7. Sterilise all the equipment that you need for the following method steps.
8. Set up a draining kit and place moulds on the mat.
9. Using your curved narrower slotted spoon take slices of curd and ladle into moulds until all the curd has been evenly distributed. You may have to wait some time between fillings to allow drainage to create space. Cover the filled moulds (I use a blue or cotton cheese cloth) and let drain at room temperature for 48hrs, draining out the collected whey at regular intervals as necessary.
10. Remove cheeses from the moulds and salt them by tipping them one at a time into the palm of your hand and sprinkle all surfaces with salt, around 3/4tsp for each cheese. Place the salted cheeses on kitchen paper.
11. Next dust all surfaces of the cheeses with ash (using a shaker or small sieve). There is no getting away from this – this is a messy job – but the kitchen towel should catch most of the stray ash. You do not want a thick coating but there should be not too much white showing. Place the cheeses on a clean draining kit and stand at room temperature for 24hrs, covered.
12. The next day place the cheeses in a ripening container and ripen at 10°C and 85% humidity for 10 days to 2 weeks. The fast-growing Geotrichum candidum mold will appear first as fuzz spots that spread and cover all the curd at around 4 days. This protects the cheese from unwanted contamination quickly. The ash layer also provides some bacteriological protection. Then the slower growing Penicillium candidum mold appears through the G. candidum and this forms a shorter more consolidated white mat. Wipe up any whey as it appears in the bottom of the ripening container with kitchen paper and periodically shuffle the pyramids a little to prevent the base adhering to the mat (been there done that and lost the bottom of my cheeses!).
13. Wrap your cheeses or store in a container in the fridge at around 4°C and start eating them.

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Whole Milk Ricotta

 

Ricotta means to ‘re-cook’ and is traditionally made by re=heating the left over whey from hard cheese making. Yields tend to be very small. It can also be made from whole milk and as a result has a lot of flavour and a large yield.

Ingredients:

1 litre whole goat’s milk
15mls/Tbs vinegar (see note 1 below)
11g butter (see note 2 below)
1/8 th tsp (dash) baking soda

Equipment
Culture measuring spoons
Skimmer/slotted spoon
Thermometer – must be accurate
Butter muslin or blue cheese cloth
Colander
Small volume measure cylinder

Method

1. Heat the milk to 90°C stirring gently with a slotted spoon to prevent scorching on the bottom of the pan. Do not boil the milk as this will spoil the flavour of the cheese.
2. Take off the heat and add the vinegar. Stir lightly and gently and watch the curds form and the whey separate out. This process is finished once the whey takes on a light translucent green colour. If the whey is still milky check the temperature. Heat gently back up to 90°C and if the whey is still milky heat further up to 96°C but not beyond. Too high a temperature gives a ‘rubbery’ texture.  If still milky a tiny bit more vinegar can be added but be sparing as this can give the finished cheese a sour taste.
3. Stand a colander over a pan/tray and line it with butter muslin or a blue cheese cloth.  With a slotted spoon gently ladle the curds into the colander. Allow to drain for a few minutes but do not allow the curds to get too cool.
4. Tip the curds into a bowl, sprinkle over the baking soda and add the butter/vegetable spread. Mix in with a fork gently but thoroughly. Store in a covered container in the fridge for up to 1 week.

note 1: The flavour of the vinegar comes through in the cheese. I use a good quality brewed white vinegar with no flavour or a good white balsamic. Some use apple cider vinegar but this is a strong flavour.
note 2: For those who have an allergy to butter, vegetable margarine such as Olivani is perfectly acceptable. 

Yield – around 250g/litre
If your ricotta is too sour you have probably added too much acid so next time add less or change the type of acid you are using to one that better suits your palate. For this cheese add a bit more bicarbonate of soda to neutralise the acid.

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Yoghurt

Not all yoghurt contains live bacterial cultures and those that do can be costly so making your own has great health and cost benefits. Once you have prepared your milk there are many ways to incubate it dependent on what equipment you have available. The gold standard is an electric yoghurt maker but the most ingenious piece of equipment that I have heard of is on top of a warming plate of a coffee percolator! The trick is to maintain a constant temperature of around 42°C; not less than 36.5°C and not greater than 52°C. Once made the yoghurt needs to be placed in a fridge overnight to chill it down and firm it up.
You can make yoghurt using an existing batch of fresh, live natural yoghurt that has no flavours, sweeteners, stabilizers or additives. You will need approximately 10% fresh yoghurt by volume. After making around 4
consecutive batches this way you will need to start again with fresh culture as the yoghurt becomes more acidic with each re-make, but much depends on your taste preference of course.

Equipment
Saucepan
Culture measuring spoons (optional)
Skimmer/slotted spoon
Thermometer – must be accurate
Yoghurt maker or some other plan of how to maintain a constant incubation temperature for at least 10 hrs 

 

Method

1. Warm milk slowly to 80°C stirring gently on occasions. Once reached hold this temperature for 5 mins.
2. Place the pot in a sink full of very cold or ice water and stir the milk gently to cool it quickly until it reaches 46°C.
3. Remove the pot from the water, sprinkle a few grains of culture on the surface and let stand for 5 minutes to re-hydrate and then gently incorporate it into the milk with a slotted spoon. If using goats’ milk, you will need considerably more culture to get a thick set, at least 1/8 th tsp. If using fresh natural yoghurt as an inoculant let it get to room temperature before adding it to the milk.
4. Incubate for 10 to 12 hrs
5. Place in a fridge over night to chill down and firm up.

A quick word on coconut yoghurt: I make this using coconut cream and the one that I have found gives the best result is the Karo brand in a tetra pak. Surprisingly, it has less additives that tinned Karo coconut cream. I simply warm the cream to 46°C, inoculate it with culture in the same was as step 3 above and then follow steps 4 and 5.
Too easy!

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Labneh Cheese Balls

 

This is a great way to ‘preserve’ fresh yoghurt.
Ingredients:

900g of thick set yoghurt
1 tsp cheese salt
500ml of olive oil
Optional – Flavour coatings such as fresh herbs like oregano, thyme, or a mix, chilli flakes, za’atar
Equipment

Butter muslin or blue cheese cloth
Colander
Storage Jar
Teaspoon

Method

  1. Line a sterilised colander with either butter muslin or a blue cheese cloth that you have also sterilised.
  2. Spoon your yoghurt into the lined colander and leave it to drain and thicken.
  3. Transfer to a sterilised bowl and refrigerate. You have made yoghurt cheese. It will keep like this for a week, and you can eat it at this stage if you wish.
  4. Once chilled, place generous tablespoonfuls of yoghurt cheese in clean hands and gently roll.
  5. Place the balls on a plate and dry at room temperature overnight or for several hours.
  6. Place the cheese balls in a sterilised jar, add flavour ingredients if you wish to the jar and cover with oil of your choice, seal and refrigerate.
  7. These balls are delicious eaten as they are, or you can coat them with a flavouring if you wish. Up to a day before serving: Bring the jar to room temperature to ensure the storage oil is liquid, lift the balls out and roll them in flavourings. An easy trick is to add a flavouring to a shallow bowl, place a few balls on top and roll carefully. They will be covered in seconds. If not eating immediately return them to the fridge on a clean plate. Bring back to room temperature before serving.

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Feta Style Cheese

This recipe makes 750g to 1.25kgs of feta cheese, depending on what type of milk you use. I store my feta in brine for a year or more so I prefer to make large amounts less frequently, but you can up or down scale this recipe to suit your needs and the amount of milk you have of course. Your choice of mesophilic culture will affect the texture of the cheese with R704 giving a more chalky crumbly texture akin to a Greek style feta and Flora danica giving a more creamy texture akin to a Danish style feta.

Traditionally feta has always been made with goat or sheep milk or a mixture of the two. I make my feta using goats’ milk and I keep it simple and just use the mesophilic culture Flora Danica, relying on the flavour of my milk to create my cheese.

If you are using cow’s milk you may want to pack more flavour into your cheese with the addition of a small amount of lipase and/or also use the thermophilic culture TCC-3. If using lipase calf, lamb, or kid goat lipase can be used with calf giving the mildest flavour and kid goat the strongest flavour addition with lamb somewhere in the middle. You do not have to match milk type to lipase type. Experiment with milk types, culture types and lipase types to see what suits your taste buds.

A comment on storing your feta in a brine solution or oil: You will notice after time that the outside of your feta starts to soften, and the brine solution or oil starts to cloud. This is because the pH of the brine solution or oil has risen above 5.0. There is no need to worry about measuring the pH, just add 1 to 2 Tbs of white vinegar and possibly a bit of calcium chloride and your cheese will stop disintegrating on you!

 

Recipe

6 litres of milk
mesophilic culture (1/8 th tsp of Flora Danica or 1/16 th tsp R704)
1/4 tsp rennet (280 IMCU)
Optional -1/16 th or 1/32 tsp lipase
Optional – 1/8 th tsp of thermophilic culture TCC-3
For storage – a 10% brine solution made with cheese salt (e.g. 200g salt to 2 litres of water) or oil
(that you can flavour).

Equipment

Culture measuring spoons
Thermometer – must be accurate
Draining kit
Steriliser
1 large feta or 2 small feta baskets
Small volume measure cylinder – around 100ml
Skimmer/slotted spoon
Butter muslin or blue cheese cloth
Curd knife
Colander
6+ litre pot
Airtight storage container such as a ‘clip it’ box

Method

1. Sterilise your equipment. Read the method for timings and sterilise what you need as you go.
2. Warm milk gently and slowly to 30°C.
3. Sprinkle culture/s (and lipase if you are using it) over the surface of the milk, put the lid on your pot and wait 5 mins for everything to re-hydrate.
4. Using your slotted/skimmer spoon and with an up and down movement very gently draw the culture into the body of the milk taking care not to break the surface of the milk excessively.
5. Put the lid back on your pot and now leave it for 1 hr, maintaining the temp at 30°C.
6. Dilute the rennet in around 50ml of water. Add to the milk and gently incorporate it using a skimmer spoon for 2 minutes.
7. Put the lid back on your pot and now leave it to ripen for 30 mins, maintaining the temperature at 30°C.
8. Sterilise your moulds, slotted spoon, colander and muslin cloth of choice.
9. Check for a clean break.  If it is not ready leave for another 10 minutes.  When it is ready cut the curds into 2cm cubes. Let stand for 5 minutes to firm up.
10. Stir the curds very gently for 20 mins. The curds will firm up and shrink in size. Let them settle for 5 minutes.
11. Tip off some of the whey so that you can just see the curds. Line a colander with your muslin cloth, stand this in a large roasting pan or similar and then ladle the curds into the cloth. Let stand for 5 mins to drain.
12. Fill the feta baskets with curds and allow to drain and firm over 10 mins.
13. Flip the cheese in the basket (tip into one hand, transfer to the other hand and place face down back in the basket) and leave to drain for 15 mins. Flip a further 3 times every 15 mins.
14. Let drain at room temperature for 18 to 24hrs without further flipping. Make sure the cheese is covered.
15. Storage time. Either:

a. Make up your 10% brine solution and place the cheese in this, cover and let stand at room temperature for 3 to 4 days. This helps the flavour develop. Check periodically for a drop in pH (see comment on storing your feta above) and correct as necessary with white vinegar. Next transfer to a fridge for storage. The flavour will develop over time and it is up to you when you start to eat it. You may have to weigh down the cheese to keep it submerged. I use old heavy cutlery that I get from recycle stores – make sure you sterilise it first though. You can use a cheese conditioning box and place the mat on top of the cheese and then weight this mat down with your sterilised cutlery.
b. Cube your feta and place in sterilised jars that you then fill with oil along with a flavouring if you wish.

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Fresh Cheese

 

This recipe makes 4 fresh cheeses using cow’s milk

Equipment

Draining kit
4 mini moulds
Skimmer spoon
Culture measuring spoons
Thermometer
>2 litre pan and lid
Small measuring cylinder
Food cover or muslin cloth – to fit over draining kit

Ingredients

2 litres of non-homogenised cow’s milk
1/16 th tsp (pinch) of mesophilic culture – recommend Flora danica
3mls of dilute rennet (65 IMCU) = 1/2tsp + dash
1 tsp cheese salt (1/4tsp for each cheese)
Coatings – dried or fresh herbs, cracked pepper, nuts, runny honey etc

Method

1. Prepare an incubation space. I choose a quiet space in my kitchen away from foot traffic, direct sunlight
and draughts and place a folded towel down followed by a chopping board and have I have 2 blankets
ready to use later.
2. Sterilise your equipment. Read the method for timings and sterilise what you need as you go.
3. Warm milk gently and slowly to 30 0 C.
4. Sprinkle the culture over the surface of the milk, put the lid on your pot and wait 5 mins for the culture
to rehydrate.
5. Using your slotted/skimmer spoon and with an up and down movement very gently draw the culture
into the body of the milk taking care not to break the surface of the milk excessively.
6. Mix the rennet in 15ml of cool sterile water. Add to the milk and gently incorporate it in using a
skimmer spoon for 2 mins. Put lid back on pan.
7. Place the pan on your pre-prepared incubation mat. Wrap the pan up in blankets/towels and leave for
24hrs.
8. 24hrs later sterilise your moulds and a narrow shaped slotted spoon.
9. Space moulds on top of your draining kit. I do not sterilise my draining kit as the cheese curds do not
come into direct contact with it, but this is your choice.
10. Scoop the ‘set’ curd into moulds firstly by gently scooping with the mould just once into your pan. There
after use a narrow slotted spoon to evenly space the rest of the curds in the moulds. You may have to
wait a few minutes to allow the curds to drain a little before adding more. Continue until all the curds
are used up. Now drain at room temperature for 24hrs under a food cover or muslin cloth. Check the
level of the whey in the draining trays periodically and empty as necessary.
11. 24hrs later flip the curds in the moulds by tipping out onto your hand and placing back in the mould face
down. Leave to drain at room temperature for another 24hrs under a food cover.
12. 24hrs later unmould the cheeses and sprinkle approximately 1/4tsp of cheese salt over each cheese.
The salt adds flavour and suppresses unwanted mold growth. Now you can also add additional
coatings/flavourings of your choice if you wish such as cracked pepper or herbs.
13. Refrigerate the cheeses for 24hrs to firm up. Store in the refrigerator for up to 10 days. More flavour
will develop over time and if you have added a flavour coating this will meld more into the cheese over
time too.
14. Enjoy with a smile – you have just made your own yummy cheese

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Camembert and Brie Style Cheese

Brie vs. Camembert? Similar in many ways but different. Here are the traditional differences:
Milk for Brie is warmed to 31°C before inoculation whilst for Camembert it is warmed to 29°C.
Brie cheeses are usually 30 to 35cm across and 2.5cm thick, while Camembert cheeses are 10cm in diameter and slightly thicker. The final size of the cheese, determined by the mould the cheese is shaped in, does affect the ripening process. This style of mold-ripened cheese ripens from the outside in, so a smaller Camembert ripens in around 4 weeks, compared with 5 weeks for a Brie. That said, both will become more pungent and softer with continued aging. The larger surface area of mold crust and shallower depth of curd of a Brie result in a runnier and stronger flavoured cheese. It is good for a home cheese maker to know what influences the character of a cheese but at the end of the
day I suggest we are not looking to replicate a traditional recipe but create something that suits our own personal situation and tastes great so here’s to being creative!

“To use or not to use” Geotrichum candidum? Whilst not totally necessary it has some advantages. It prevents ’slip skin’ which is when the white mould rind does not adhere to the curd, and you get a kind of floating skin or ‘pocket effect’. It also helps avoid contamination with unwanted molds before the Penicillium candidum has a chance to grow because it has a very rapid growth rate and covers your cheese curd quickly in 3 to 4 days, forming a protective barrier which the more finely felted slower growing Penicillium candidum then grows through. It also imparts some delicate floral undertones to your cheese flavour. It is best used in a ratio of 1:4, meaning 1 part G. candidum to 4 parts P. candidum (e.g. 1/32 nd tsp G candidum to 1/8 th tsp P. candidum). Too much G. candidum results in a very runny soapy liquid layer beneath your white mold rind that is rather unpleasant. However, feel free to experiment as I note that many recipes call for the use of larger quantities of G. candidum, this comment is just based on my personal experience and experimentation with the strain of Geotrichum candidum that I stock.

 

  1. Sterilise your equipment including your pot and lid. Not everything will need to be sterilised straight away.  Read the method for timings and sterilise what you need as you go.
  2. Warm milk gently and slowly to either 290C or 31 0C (see comment on Brie vs. Camembert).
  3. Sprinkle the Flora Danica and molds over the surface of the milk, put the lid on your pot and wait 5 minutes – your culture and molds are re-hydrating.
  4. Using your slotted/skimmer spoon and with an up and down movement very gently draw the culture and molds into the body of the milk taking care not to break the surface of the milk excessively, for around 2 mins.
  5. Dilute the calcium chloride in around 50ml of water. Add to the milk and gently incorporate it using a skimmer spoon for 2 minutes.  Dilute rennet in 50ml of water adding it to the milk and gently incorporating it in using a skimmer spoon for 2 minutes.
  6. Put the lid back on your pot and now leave it to ripen for 11/2 hrs maintain the temperature that you heated the milk up to.
  7. Check for a clean break, leave for another 10 minutes if the curd is fragile but if ready cut the curds into 2.5cm cubes. Then let stand for 5 minutes to firm up the curds.
  8. Lift and move the curds gently for 5 to 10 mins. The curds will shrink in size a little and the sides will become a little more rounded.  Leave the curds to settle for 5 minutes and prepare your draining tray/kit placing your sterilised moulds on the mat.
  9. Remove whey from your pan until you can just see the top of your curds. I do this by tipping my pan gently and carefully and pouring but you may prefer to remove whey with a sterilised cup.
  10. Use a slotted spoon to place the curds in your moulds. They will start to settle.  Keep filling until all the curd is used up.  Leave to drain for 2hrs.  I cover the whole thing with a sheet of butter muslin, that I have sterilised in boiling water, or a blue cheese cloth, to keep flies and dust out.  Flip the cheeses (tip into one hand then transfer to the other and put back in the mould the other way up) and drain for another two hours and then repeat once more.  Cover and let drain at room temperature overnight.
  11. In the morning flip again and drain for 2hrs. By this time they should have had nearly 24hrs of draining.  Remove the cheeses from the moulds one at a time and salt first the top and then the bottom and sides with cheese salt using around ½ tsp for each cheese.  Place in a ripening container and let ripen at 90% humidity and 100C to 130C.   Turn the cheeses daily for a week wiping up any whey with a paper towel each time.
  12. If you have used G. candidum, you will see a puffy fuzzy white mold starting to appear around day 3 to 4 days. If you have only used P. candidum you will see a fine white mold appearing after around 7 days. 
  13. Continue to turn the cheeses daily and at around day 12 they should be fully covered in white mold. Now wrap the cheeses in cheese-ripening paper (white cheese wraps) and return to your ripening area.  Within 1 week or so the cheese will begin to soften.  It will be ready in around 2 to 3 weeks from now.  It can then be stored in a fridge (<40C) for up to 6 weeks, depending on how ripe you like it.

Ingredients
8 litres whole milk
¼ tsp Flora Danica
1/8 tsp Penicillium candidum mold powder
1/32 tsp Geotrichum candidum mold powder (optional)
¼ tsp calcium chloride
¼ tsp rennet (280 IMCU)
4 tsp cheese salt

Equipment
Culture measuring spoons
Draining kit
3 camembert moulds (10cm dia rounds with bottom) or
Hoops and mats if you are more experienced
Skimmer/slotted spoon
Curd knife
8+ litre pot

Method

  1. Sterilise your equipment including your pot and lid. Not everything will need to be sterilised straight away.  Read the method for timings and sterilise what you need as you go.
  2. Warm milk gently and slowly to either 290C or 31 0C (see comment on Brie vs. Camembert).
  3. Sprinkle the Flora Danica and molds over the surface of the milk, put the lid on your pot and wait 5 minutes – your culture and molds are re-hydrating.
  4. Using your slotted/skimmer spoon and with an up and down movement very gently draw the culture and molds into the body of the milk taking care not to break the surface of the milk excessively, for around 2 mins.
  5. Dilute the calcium chloride in around 50ml of water. Add to the milk and gently incorporate it using a skimmer spoon for 2 minutes.  Dilute rennet in 50ml of water adding it to the milk and gently incorporating it in using a skimmer spoon for 2 minutes.
  6. Put the lid back on your pot and now leave it to ripen for 1 1/2 hrs maintain the temperature that you heated the milk up to.
  7. Check for a clean break, leave for another 10 minutes if the curd is fragile but if ready cut the curds into 2.5cm cubes. Then let stand for 5 minutes to firm up the curds.
  8. Lift and move the curds gently for 5 to 10 mins. The curds will shrink in size a little and the sides will become a little more rounded.  Leave the curds to settle for 5 minutes and prepare your draining tray/kit placing your sterilised moulds on the mat.
  9. Remove whey from your pan until you can just see the top of your curds. I do this by tipping my pan gently and carefully and pouring but you may prefer to remove whey with a sterilised cup.
  10. Use a slotted spoon to place the curds in your moulds. They will start to settle.  Keep filling until all the curd is used up.  Leave to drain for 2hrs.  I cover the whole thing with a sheet of butter muslin, that I have sterilised in boiling water, or a blue cheese cloth, to keep flies and dust out.  Flip the cheeses (tip into one hand then transfer to the other and put back in the mould the other way up) and drain for another two hours and then repeat once more.  Cover and let drain at room temperature overnight.
  11. In the morning flip again and drain for 2hrs. By this time they should have had nearly 24hrs of draining.  Remove the cheeses from the moulds one at a time and salt first the top and then the bottom and sides with cheese salt using around ½ tsp for each cheese.  Place in a ripening container and let ripen at 90% humidity and 100C to 130C.   Turn the cheeses daily for a week wiping up any whey with a paper towel each time.
  12. If you have used G. candidum, you will see a puffy fuzzy white mold starting to appear around day 3 to 4 days. If you have only used P. candidum you will see a fine white mold appearing after around 7 days. 
  13. Continue to turn the cheeses daily and at around day 12 they should be fully covered in white mold. Now wrap the cheeses in cheese-ripening paper (white cheese wraps) and return to your ripening area.  Within 1 week or so the cheese will begin to soften.  It will be ready in around 2 to 3 weeks from now.  It can then be stored in a fridge (<40C) for up to 6 weeks, depending on how ripe you like it.

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Recipe for Halloumi cheese

Halloumi is a cheese that originates from Greece, and in particular the island of Cyprus. It is traditionally and best made from sheep milk or a mix of sheep and goat milk, but it can be made from cows’ milk too. It is the quintessential grilling cheese, indeed in its raw state it is firm and rubbery, so it is not meant to be eaten uncooked. It can withstand high grilling temperatures without melting, the outside will brown, and the inside will become soft.

 

Ingredients
5 litres whole milk
¼ tsp calcium chloride
2 ml (240 IMCU) veg or 1.8 ml (280 IMCU) calf rennet
cheese salt

Equipment
Culture measuring spoons
Skimmer/slotted spoon
Curd knife
Thermometer – must be accurate
Small volume measure cylinder
Butter muslin or blue cheese cloth
Mould and press/weights

Method
1. Sterilise all your equipment
2. Heat milk to 32°C
3. Add pre-diluted calcium chloride and incorporate for 2 minutes
4. Add pre-diluted rennet and incorporate for 2 minutes
5. Maintain the temperature at 32°C and incubate for 45 minutes
6. Check for a clean break and cut the curds into 2.5cm cubes. Let stand for 5 minutes.
7. Slowly increase the temperature of the curds to 40°C, stirring/agitating slowly and gently so that the curds do not mat. It should take you around 40 minutes to raise the temperature by 8°C, which is 1°C every 5 minutes.
8. Leave to settle for 5 to 10 minutes.
9. Ladle the curds into a cloth lined mould and reserve the whey in your pot for later use.
10. Press at medium pressure for at least 30 minutes, if you have the time 3 to 4 hours will give a better result.
11. Remove the curd from the mould and cut into pieces around 2.5cm thick/10cm square pieces.
12. Heat the reserved whey to 88°C and place the curd in pieces in the hot whey. At first, they will sink and then as they cook, they start to rise, floating on the surface when they are sufficiently cooked. Lift out the cooked cheese, place on a mat, and leave it to cool for around 15 minutes.
13. Once cool sprinkle the surface of each cheese with 1/4tsp salt.
14. The next step is optional – place a few mint leaves on one edge and fold the cheese in half to enclose the mint.
15. Leave the cheese to drain and fully cool on a mat.
16. Place the cheese in a container and cover it with a 10 to 12% brine solution (500ml of water and ¼ cup (50ml) of cheese salt. Seal the container and store in the refrigerator for up to 6 months.

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