A Rebel Reblochon – Changing things up by accident.

First and foremost, I want to apologize for the lack of content this past month or so.  In order to work with Smoky Valley Artisan Cheese, I had to make a tough decision about my other employment.  So after 20 years as a Reserve Officer with the Canadian Forces (working with the Canadian Cadet Organization) I decided to “retire”.  It is not as simple as just deciding to quit and never show up again.  It has been quite time-consuming as I had commitments that I had to fulfil.  I have one more day in uniform and then things will even out.  Thank you to those that have still been coming by and checking out the site.  I am starting to get back on track so the whey will flow.

The Rebel Reblochon

I love Reblochon, I love the gooey paste, I love the rind, I love the smell, the taste.  But what is a Reblochon

Reblochon  is a French cheese from the Alps region of Haute-Savoieand has been granted the AOC title. Reblochon was first produced in the Thônes and Arly valleys, in the Aravis massif. Thônes remains the centre of Reblochon production; the cheeses are still made in the local cooperatives …

Reblochon is a soft washed-rind and smear-ripened cheese traditionally made from raw cow’s milk. The cow breeds best for producing the milk needed for this cheese are the Abondance, Tarentaise and theMontbéliarde. This cheese measures 14 cm across and 3–4 cm thick, has a soft centre with a washed rind and weighs an average of 450g. As proof of its being well-aged in an airy cellar, the rind of this cheese is covered with a fine white mould. The optimal period to savour this cheese is between May and September after it has been aged six to eight weeks. It is also excellent from March to December.

Reblochon has a nutty taste that remains in mouth after its soft and uniform centre has been enjoyed. ”                                        – Wikipedia

When I was a teenager I tried Reblochon in France and my undeveloped pallet though the smell far out weighed the taste.  What did I know I was 13.  Later I tried it and finally understood the complex flavour that it has and learned to appreciate it.  So after almost a year of making everything but a Reblochon I figured it was time to get to it.

Like every cheese I make I  often read several recipes to get a handle on the cheese.

Like every cheese I make I often read several recipes to get a handle on the cheese.

So research done, I had the AOC recipe from a friend and a few other ones too, it was time to get milk.  Raw Milk being illegal for sale here in Canada I settled for some nice low heat cream line pasteurised milk from an Alberta Dairy, it was worth the $20 for 8 litres as you will see from the results.  So I fired up the Roaster Vat (yes I am working on a how to post for it) and got down to business .

Getting all my tools out and arranged

Getting all my tools out and arranged

I stared to arrange my cultures and other additives

I stared to arrange my cultures and other additives

Now traditionally the linens would be in a PLA mix, I did not have any, nor did I have the specific yeast that is  in PLA, so  a true Reblochon it is not.  A Rebel Reblochon!

Getting every thing organized is key.

Getting every thing organized is key.

It was time to heat the milk in my vat.

It was time to heat the milk in my vat.

After adding the culture and waiting a specific time, I really need to get a pH metre as this cheese is acid “sensitive” then I added the rennet and used a 2.5 flocculation factor.  This cheese gets a short time for curd set.  I then cut the curd into 2 cm cubes.

I think I got some decent curd and a great set.

I think I got some decent curd and a great set.

Little close up of the curd

Little close up of the curd

After letting the curd rest for 5 min you cut the curd even smaller to about 7 mm, with a whisk.  You do it slowly and then you can stir it for 15 to 45 mins to release the whey.  You want the curd to be springy but not “skinned” up like other cheese curd is.

Letting the curd settle before draining some whey and hooping the curd.

Letting the curd settle before draining some whey and hooping the curd.

You want to get the curd into the moulds fast, you want it with whey as well.  I used a ladle and alternated between moulds and even topped up the curd after it had gone down.  I still had a bit of curd left over in the vat.

The curd in my Reblochon Moulds

The curd in my Reblochon Moulds

But what to do with the remaining curd?  Out came the Crottin Moulds and I filled them.  Reblochon gets pressed with 3 lbs, I only had 2 1/2 lb weights, and has a pretty ridged flipping schedule.  I used the same flipping schedule for the ones in the Crottin Moulds.

My lovely Rebels Pressing and Draining.

My lovely Rebels Pressing and Draining.

After the pressing a flipping, the cheese is traditionally placed in a “yeasting room” that is 16 C and at 95 % RH while still in the moulds, but not being pressed.   I turned on the little humidifier I have in the cave and turned up the temperature.  I moved my Asiago and the rest of my cheddar to the regular fridge for the time being.  I put them in to the cave and went to have a good night sleep.

The next day I un-moulded the cheese and put them back into the cave, this time in a ripening box, without the lid on.

I also salted the cheese using a natural sea salt that I think gives a great flavour to cheese.

I also salted the cheese using a natural sea salt that I think gives a great flavour to cheese.

The brown flecks are "trace minerals" in the salt.  This is a non-iodized salt.

The brown flecks are “trace minerals” in the salt. This is a non-iodized salt.

So after a few hours I checked and noticed the little ones were sagging.

So after a few hours I checked and noticed the little ones were sagging.

I am quite happy with how things are turning out.  The smaller ones I expected to sag a little as they were only drained for the same amount of time that the pressed ones were.  They are now in their own ripening box.

I removed the "Little Squirrel" I had in this box and put the Junior Rebs in, after cleaning the box of course.

I removed the “Little Squirrel” I had in this box and put the Junior Rebs in, after cleaning the box of course.

I am on day two of this cheese, around day 4 I should get the tell-tale signs of the “Geo slime” which is more desirable than it sounds, that indicates that the Geotricum is doing its business.  And then it will be time to wash the cheese with ARN brine and one will be washed with Midnight Sun Expresso Stout from Yukon Brewery.

Until then they are tucked inside the cave with my little humidifier to keep them company.

Until then they are tucked inside the cave with my little humidifier to keep them company.

I will post about the Rebels when the washing starts or shortly there afterwards.

As always I have more pictures on Much To Do About Cheese’s Facebook Page

Go and make some cheese!

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9 comments

  1. Lovely post, Ian! I still don’t have the courage to make a PROPER washed/smeared rind cheese. Will probably try it in August! Oh and Calcium Chloride’s chemical formula is actually CaCl2 😛

  2. Thanks Addie, There is something therapeutic about washing cheese, crazy right? I can understand why the Trappist Monks used it as a work cycle. I am hoping to start the wash this Wednesday/Thursday. I am glad my wife if not pregnant this time, as the last time she was pregnant with our daughter and she thought I was hiding a dead body in the basement. She was very sensitive to smell last time.

  3. Hi,

    are you using Redmond’s Realsalt? That’s what we use and it looks the same. I actually ended up ordering the salt that is recommended in ‘Mastering Artisan Cheesemaking’ because I’m not quite sure how the minerals will affect the cheese and it’s a tiny bit cheaper, so why not?

    1. Yes it is Redmond’s RealSalt, I have used it prior to this on my semi-lactic cheeses. I like the flavour it gave. So far so good, and it starts conversations

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