Thursday, January 28, 2010

cheesy updates

1/28/10 cheese update:

Bleu is getting covered with mold nicely (I think).

Brie is starting to get spots of little white fuzzies.

And here is my manchego style cheese just out of the brine. It has a nice rind starting. I'll rub with oil in a week or maybe a little less - once the rind is drier.


I made a manchego style cheese last night (1/27/10)... and learned a few things.

1. Costco milk is probably the culprit for poor curd break - don't buy that stuff anymore for making cheese.

2. It's tough making cheese after work during the week - I will end up staying up 'til midnight or later, even starting at 6pm. Not too bad, except that waking up at 5am isn't too much fun the next day.

3. Pressing cheese needs a contraption. I saw one guy's blog where he created a simple one out of 2x4 and pipe. I think I'll go that route, adding my dumbell weights - simple, cheap, and easy.

4. I think I'll age this one in the wine room at a warmer temp than the other cheeses which will be in the beer fridge.

That is all for now. I need to enter my manchego schedule into my calendar so I don't forget any steps... speaking of which, the bleu needs turning and the brie's are starting to get fuzzy. Cool.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

cheese schedules

Still trying to figure out how to manage the schedules... here's a start to summarize my cheeses in one page.

After a month or so, scrape mold and smear
Repeat every 3-4 weeks
After 3 months, scrape and wrap in foil
Age 2 more months, turning weekly
(times could be longer because it's in a colder fridge)

Dry for 1 week (in wine room)
About 1 week, when white mold appears, turn over
After 2 weeks or so, wrap
Age 3 months or so

Monday, January 25, 2010

Beer update - brown ale clones

Bottled the newcastle clone on Sunday and brewed a moose drool clone. The newcastle tasted pretty good. This was the first time I brewed (albeit still with extract) with freshly crushed grains (using a rolling pin). I think that makes a lot of difference, so now I'm looking to get a mill... and planning easier ways to go all-grain (brew in a bag?).

General cheesy thoughts

The bleu is definitely progressing... a nice blue hue is forming all over. I should check the mold out tonight and possibly rotate it.

I think I'll try a manchego-style cheese next! Maybe tuesday night. I'm definitely getting hooked on this cheese thing.

First Brie Cheese

This Saturday (Jan. 23) I made three little brie's! I think they'll be a lot easier than the bleu, but maybe more of a crapshoot whether they turn out or not.

The curds didn't form as I expected or had seen in the past - more like a ricotta break. So I added more rennett and cooked a little more (with temps ending up higher than I wanted again). Still no good break, so I probably overcooked them (again making it drier than ideal?). Overall, as you can see in the photo, they did come out of the moulds okay (speaking of which, I made moulds from cut-up 2-liter soda bottles and they worked pretty well). I tasted them this morning and it was more of a chevre consistency - sort of reflects the ricotta-type "curd" break. Recipe for all three included 1 gallon of whole milk plus a quart of whipping cream. Maybe the whipping cream is what did it? Both were just pasteurized (not ultra).

First Bleu Cheese

Born on Wednesday (Jan. 6), maturing in April to July! It's probably a stretch for my second-ever cheese, but it's really not that hard, is it? It does seem to take some time, but now that I understand it better, I think I can shorten the time and adjust the steps to fit my schedule. I just hope I don't get scared when the mold work starts happening...

I oversalted - forgot that I had cut the recipe in half, but still used the same amount of salt. Plus, the temps were a couple degrees warmer (92 or so, instead of 90). Maybe it will just be a little drier than ideal.