Jarlsberg off the Port Bow Captain! – Part 1

December 2012 was a huge month for making cheese, as I have previously said.  My last Cheese of 2012 and I guess, the first cheese of 2013 capped off a 5 cheese month, and I name thee Jarlsberg.  But as always I will put the disclaimer that this cheese will be in the Jarlsberg style and probably taste similar but not exactly the same, you know the deal with cows, climate etc.  I love Jarlsberg, so do a few people I work with, one of whom is Norwegian and has asked me to make this for some time.  I hope I don’t disappoint him.  Are you sitting comfortably?  Then lets begin.

Jarlsberg is produced by the Norwegian Dairy/Cheese Company TINE.  Here is what it says about Jarlsberg on their site –  Jarlsberg – A Worldwide Success Story

Jarlsberg has grown largely in popularity since its international launch in the 1960s. It’s success lies in the secret recipe used to manufacture the cheese and the people who make it and their pride in always delivering a product with the same consistent high quality and unique taste.

History

In 1956 a research team from the Agricultural University of Norway started experimenting with old cheese recipes from the Laurvig and Jarlsberg counties in the South of Norway. They developed a semihard, medium-fat cheese with holes, successfully combining old cheese-making traditions with modern technologies. The team called the new cheese Jarlsberg® after the county it came from. A new cheese category was born.

The export of Jarlsberg started cautiously in 1961. Today sales of Jarlsberg, globally, has exceeded more than 25.000 tonnes. The various varieties of Jarlsberg account for well over 80% of Tine’s export today, with Jarlsberg being the number one selling brand in its segment of imported cheese in the United States and Canada.

Jarlsberg is found in many markets around the world and used as a delicious ingredient in many recipes.  It is well appreciated by leading chefs for its distinctive sweet and nutty taste. Jarlsberg is available in rinded and rindless varieties and is ideal for cheeseboards and as a topping for salads and hot dishes.”

This was going to be a challenge for me, I had just made an Emmental style cheese at Smoky Valley a few days before, but this is also a washed curd cheese, a hybrid of sorts, a combination of an Emmental and Gouda.  I looked over several recipes, from Mary Karlin’s Book and the Emmental from Gianaclis Caldwell’s book and a few other sources as well.  There are many different directions out there, but the main difference is the cultures that are recommended.  Several recommend using Mesophilic culture to make it, this would make to me would make it a Maasdam (Gouda with eyes).  While others recommended that you use Thermophilc culture.  There were some that suggested using saltpeter to control the propionic acid.  I decided to use a hybrid of a recipe to make this hybrid cheese.  I combined Mary Karlin’s Jarlsberg with Gianaclis Caldwell’s Semi-Hard Cheese with Eyes.  I think I made a pretty good cheese but time will tell.

As usual  I got my supplies and equipment in otrder

As usual I got my supplies and equipment in order

I heated the milk up in the vat added the cultures, ripened for the prescribed time, then added rennet.

I heated the milk up in the vat added the cultures and propionic acid, ripened for the prescribed time, then added rennet.

Best Clean break yet with store bought milk

Best Clean break yet with store bought milk

Now the recipe called for 3 millimetre curd, what could I have that would cut it that small…

A wire whisk of course.

A wire whisk of course.

After the first "cut" it was about the right size

After the first “cut” it was about the right size

I slowly moved around the vat "cutting" the curd with the whisk.

I slowly moved around the vat “cutting” the curd with the whisk.

This is what the curd looked like after I was done.

This is what the curd looked like after I was done.

During this time I was heating distilled water to 70C so that I could begin the washing of the curd.  Part of the problem is how to remove the whey without taking curd with it….

I put a plastic colander in the vat and then using a measuring cup removed 1/3rd of the whey.

I put a plastic colander in the vat and then using a measuring cup removed 1/3rd of the whey.

After you remove the whey you then start to add the hot water back into the vat about 1 cup at a time.  The goal is to raise the temperature of the curd, at the same time cutting the acidity of the cheese.

This is after I added two cups of water.

This is after I added two cups of water.

Now after you have added the water, raising the temperature to around 40C then you have to heat the curd and bring it up to 50C , while stirring at the same time.  This causes the curd to shrink and loose more whey.  You want pea to rice size cur at this point.  Now you let the curd settle and then it is time to drain and hoop the cheese.

The vat is at 50C and the curd is settling.

The vat is at 50C and the curd is settling.

I used the same technique to drain the whey as I did before.  I then put my cheesecloth in the hot whey.  This helps during the pressing.

I used the same technique to drain the whey as I did before. I then put my cheesecloth in the hot whey. This helps during the pressing.

The directions for this time say that you have to gather the curd in the vat with the cheesecloth and then put into a colander and then into your mould.  I could not get the curd into the cloth so I lined the colander with my cheesecloth and dumped vat into it.  I then I put it into the mould and what did you know I had issues getting my press locked down.

Here is the curd all snug in the mould.

Here is the curd all snug in the mould.

There was so much curd that I could not get the press locked in to position.  I had to use the curd's own weight.

There was so much curd that I could not get the press locked in to position. I had to use the curd’s own weight.

Here it is after the first 15 minutes, and the first flip.

Here it is after the first 15 minutes, and the first flip.

I was quite pleased with the knit on the rind at this point.

I was quite pleased with the knit on the rind at this point.

At this time the curds were still quite warm and I wanted to keep them this way.  I put the press in a stainless steel pot, then I put the pot in my sink and put hot water in the sink.  This way the heat from the water would heat the pot and reflect back on the cheese.

My cheese press heater.

My cheese press heater.

Excellent look after the second press.

Excellent look after the second press.

I have had issues with thermophlic cheeses sticking to my cheesecloth, I really need to switch to plyban, so I decided to do the final press….naked!….Before you go hey Ian I thought this was a family friendly site, I mean with no cheesecloth.

Snugged up tight for the final press.  Next time I will put a piece of Cheesecloth under the cheese to help wick the whey away.

Snugged up tight for the final press. Next time I will put a piece of Cheesecloth under the cheese to help wick the whey away.

After a night of pressing here we go it looks like I had some cheese back up.

After a night of pressing here we go it looks like I had some cheese back up.

Yep this is some serious back up, but it could have been worse, I could be pealing chunks of curd from my cheesecloth.

Yep this is some serious back up, but it could have been worse, I could be pealing chunks of curd from my cheesecloth.

I had to cut the follower out of the cheese, not I had to trim the back of the cheese chair down.

I had to cut the follower out of the cheese and I had to trim the back of the cheese chair down.

All trimmed up and don't you worry the trimmings went on a sandwich later.

All trimmed up and don’t you worry the trimmings went on a sandwich later.

So after a brine bath at 2.5 hours per pound it was time to pull young Jarl out and get ready for the cool ageing period, 10 to 14 days in the cave.

Later after the brine it had a nice rind.

Later after the brine it had a nice rind.

There are a few imperfections in the rind, but  I am quite happy

There are a few imperfections in the rind, but I am quite happy

Here is the top, and the part that I expect to puff up first.

Here is the top, and the part that I expect to puff up first.

00-Main ImageAs of the day I write this little Jarl here is starting to puff a little, he has two more days in cold phase, then into a ripening box and he will sit next to my cave at 95% RH for 3 to 4 weeks to let the propionic acid do it’s thing and create CO2 and make him have some nice eyes.  I will write more when the warm phase is done.

In the mean time go make some cheese.

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13 comments

  1. I am seriously drooling. Jarlsberg is one of my favorite cheeses of all time, and yours looks like it’s turning out beautifully. Now I’m hungry.

    1. Thanks, and good luck. I am quite happy with the way this one is turning out. It is starting to poof up and it is still in the cold phase. I move to the warm phase tomorrow. I suspect I probably will have more eyes than commercial Jarlsberg, but its all good.

  2. What a great detailed post, Ian! I really appreciate the time you take to help people like me succeed at making cheese! I also love this cheese and appreciate that you have had enough experience to read the recipes and then develop your own for this climate etc. there are parts I don’t understand – like the puffing up. how and why? Etc but when I make it, I will learn.
    🙂 v

    1. The puffing happens when the CO2 released by the Propionic Acid as the lactose in the cheese breaks down (I liken it to the Propionic eats the lactose and the by product is the CO2) The CO2 causes the cheese to have eyes form. These ones will be smooth and usually circular/oval in shape. Mechanical holes or holes that are in cheeses that were not pressed properly or at lower weights are different and sometimes look just as nice. My 60 Day Havarti has mechanical holes. (http://tinyurl.com/aae5a6s ), they were the result of a lower pressing weight for the size of the mould. If this was not a Jarlsberg or an Emmental style cheese I would be concerned as the swelling could be an indication of some form of contamination

  3. Thanks for a very interesting post and excellent photos. I recently made a couple of washed curd cheeses but I am not sure that I got it right. Time will tell. However I have a couple of questions and also a couple of suggestions.

    1. How long did you wait after cutting the curd before you removed the whey?
    2. Is removing only 1/3 of the whey sufficient to make a significant difference? Could one remove 2/3 or even 90% or would that make the cheese to bland?
    3. How long was it between the time of removing the whey & adding hot water before you strained the curd and put the mass in the press?
    4. How long did you leave it in the press? Overnight? How many times did you flip it?
    5. Is there a reason why you have no holes in your mould?

    suggestions.
    1. I have found a cheese slice (the kind rather like a potato peeler) the best tool for removing the cheese that squeezes round the follower in the press.
    2. I use a piece of nylon window fly screen folded to 4 thicknesses under the mould to allow the whey to drain away.

    1. Hello David,

      First off thanks for the suggestions, I do use a paring knife to separate the follower from the cheese, I will have to pick up some screening and try your other suggestion. Now onto your excellent questions. I went back into my notes on the make for them:

      1. How long did you wait after cutting the curd before you removed the whey?

      It took me about 5 mins to cut the curd, then I let it rest for 10 minutes then I stirred for about 5 minutes, so 15 minutes from the end of the cutting to removing the whey.

      2. Is removing only 1/3 of the whey sufficient to make a significant difference? Could one remove 2/3 or even 90% or would that make the cheese to bland?

      That is a matter of choice in my opinion, all the recipes for a Jarlsberg I could find said to remove 1/3 of the whey (to be honest I probably went over that). I added the water back to the vat 1 cup at a time. Yes you could remove as much whey as you want, I have done 2/3 whey and water on a Gouda that I made and it was very mild in flavour even at the 4 month mark. If you don’t want to remove that much whey at once you could increase the number of washes. i.e. remove whey, add water, remove whey, add water etc. I have done ones like that too, they were very creamy. Time will tell how it this one turns out.

      3. How long was it between the time of removing the whey & adding hot water before you strained the curd and put the mass in the press?

      On this particular cheese I had to not only wash the curd, but being a thermophilic cheese I had to up the temperature even further, so from the start of the wash to the point I could drain/hoop the curd was almost a hour. The curds have to go into the press “wet” so there was not much draining.

      4. How long did you leave it in the press? Overnight? How many times did you flip it?

      There was 3 pressings, The first was just light pressing, basically the weight of the curds, then I flipped the cheese and pressed for an hour at medium pressure. The last was at a heavier pressure. I have a screw-top press so I have to estimate the pressure, but for the heavy pressure, I was constantly tightening the press. The final press was overnight.

      5. Is there a reason why you have no holes in your mould?

      The hoop that I have for that press has no holes because that is how it came from Glengarry. Normally if I use cheesecloth it is not an issue, but for this one it was a bit of an issue. I am slowly working at purchasing proper moulds, to solve the draining problems. I use to use DIY moulds but after speaking to other cheese makers and a few suppliers I have decided to upgrade. Also I have given my brother-in-law plans for a dutch press and hope to have it built in the next few months.

      I hope that answers your questions. If you have any more let me know and I will be happy to answer them or find the answer to them.

      Ian

      1. That was a very prompt response to my questions Ian, so thank you. I’ll have to use the blog post and your answers to write up a recipe. I wish there was some way to add photos to the comments as one photo is worth a 1000 words and can be seen by a wider audience. (You have my email address so if you email me I could send you some photos that way.)

        I have made a few presses for friends and neighbours, basically copied from the net, but using springs so you don’t have to keep tightening the screw. I’ve also made some moulds using a jug. I cut the top and bottom off resulting in a slightly tapered mould with a handle. Then I drilled lots of holes in it.

        Another thing, I use a sort of synthetic cheesecloth that I got from our local fabric store. It is really curtain material (net curtains in UK, sheers in USA). If my ‘cheesecloth’ gets plugged with cheese I soak it in clothes washing detergent – e.g. Tide – overnight . The biological ingredients of the detergent dissolves the cheese.

  4. Incredible read, Ian. I hadn’t read the entire post before. A wealth of generousity from you regarding knowledge, tips, technique. Thank you!!!
    XO
    Valerie

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