In An Alpine State Of Mind, Or Josef Part 1

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

This is Josef is based on.

This is Josef is based on.

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.

First put aluminium foil balls in the bottom

First put aluminium foil balls in the bottom

Next I place a steamer/canner plate on the balls

Next I place a steamer/canner plate on the balls

I then put my stainless steel pot into the other pot.  I have enough room to pour water between the two pots to fill

I then put my stainless steel pot into the other pot. I have enough room to pour water between the two pots to create the water bath

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.

All you have to do is pierce two milk jug caps and then a yogurt lid with your theremometer.

All you have to do is pierce two milk jug caps and then a yogurt lid with your thermometer.

And Voila! A DIY floating thermometer

And Voila! A DIY 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.

The curd so nice and snug in its cheesecloth blanket

The curd so nice and snug in its cheesecloth blanket

The curd looked great and the appropriate size for the cheese after the 10 minutes.

The curd looked great and the proper size for the cheese after the 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.

During the first press I used 8 KG of weight, plus the board and the can.

During the first press I used 8 KG of weight, plus the board and the can.

After the flip I used an additional 8 Kg of weight.

After the flip I used another 8 Kg of weight.

Now after the second flip I added the still froze brine to the top

Now after the second flip I added the still partly frozen brine to the top

Despite the duct tape, the press is surprisingly stable.

Despite the duct tape, the press is surprisingly stable.

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 has a few lines from the cheesecloth, which I removed for the final pressing.

It has a few lines from the cheesecloth, which I removed for the last pressing.

Then into the brine bath for 12 hours.

Then into the brine bath for 12 hours.

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.

After 12 hours it was time to come out

After 12 hours it was time to come out

On the drying board.

On the drying board.

As you can see there is a pretty good knit on the rind

As you can see there is a pretty good knit on the rind

I have a little lid to keep away any insects that may get in the house.

I have a little lid to keep away any insects that may get in the house, it is summer after all.

It is now in it's resting spot for the next few days.

It is now in it’s resting spot for the next few days.

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!

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10 comments

    1. I know he was one of my biggest fans. Some of his friends told me that he would tell everyone that would listen that I made cheese. I just hope it turns out.

  1. So sorry for your loss. What an amazing-looking cheese! Wow, I dream of making something like that. (I also had to smile at the 5.45am alarm clock I have one of those too!) I’m sure your grandfather would be proud.

    1. Thanks, It has taken me almost 5 years to get to this stage, practice practice practice. I still have issues with softer cheeses :(. You will get there too, your tootin gold looks great.

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