Last month we lost a member of the Much To Do About Cheese family, someone who had supported me through my decision to start making cheese, you could say he was one of my biggest fans. My family originally comes from the Austria and Hungary, so what better way to honour this person with making an Austrian Cheese. I decided on an Appenzeller, I know the Swiss say that it is theirs considering it is named after the Appenzell region of Switzerland, but the Austrians claim it as one of theirs too. So to keep harmony and neutrality in cheese land, in honour of my Grandfather, I will call this cheese Josef.
Let us begin with the recipe from Debra Amrien-Boyle’s “200 Easy Homemade Cheese Recipes: From Cheddar and Brie to Butter and Yogurt”
I wanted to use 16L of milk so that I could get the full amount listed in the recipe, and knowing that I can only fit 14L in my roaster vat, it was time to go to the big pot. I have been asked to show how I set up my double boiler for cheese making, so I thought I would add it.
Next it was time to put in the thermometer and heat the milk. I have a setup that turns my normal dairy thermometer into a floating thermometer.
After bringing the milk to temperature, adding culture (45 minute ripening time), calcium chloride (I was using store-bought P/H milk), and rennet (45 Minutes from adding to cutting). I cut the curd and began to heat the curd to 48ºC, stirring constantly for what should have been 15 minutes but it took almost 30 minutes to get to temperature. Here is just a few seconds of what I had to do.
The cheese is a washed curd cheese, meaning you replace whey with water that is the same temperature as the whey. I removed 1.5L of whey and then added the water. You had to stir for another 15 minutes then you can let the curd settle. Next I placed a colander/sieve over top of my mould and lined it with cheesecloth. I then carefully scooped out the curds and whey into the colander and let them drain for 10 minutes.
It was time to get the cheese into the mould and into the press. I don’t have any pictures of this part, but I have plenty of the cheese in my new press that I built.
The directions only said to flip once in the press, but I was worried I would not get a decent knit on the rind so I flipped twice. Given how the cheese turned out I am glad I did.
It was midnight when I put it into the brine, so it was time to go to bed. My daughter wakes up at 5:45 AM every morning, so I knew that I wouldn’t have to set an alarm for the flip at 6 AM, and at noon I opened up the brine box and started the 2 to 3 day air drying process.
I am using the top board of my press as the drying board, that way I can cut down on using all our regular cutting boards like I normally do. After a few days of drying then it will go into the cave and be dry salted for a few more days. Then I will start the all important washing of the rind, normally done with a wine/linens/herb mix that is a trade secret. I will try to approximate the wash with a few things I have learned while researching.
I will have more pictures up on the Facebook Page for Much To Do About Cheese, so until next time…
Go make some cheese!