Cheesecombers – Salvaging Cheese Like Nick Adonidas Salvages Logs.

Growing up in Canada in the 70’s and 80’s one of the mainstays on the CBC TV (Canadian Broadcast Television owned by the Canadian Broadcast Corporation) or just the CBC, was “The Beachcombers” and one of my favourite shows.  It was about Log Salvagers on the West Coast of Canada, and the main character was Nick Adonidas (played by the great Bruno Gerussi) who battled another log salvager named Relic.  It was part of my childhood and young adulthood as well.  What does this have to do with cheese?  Well this past weekend I had to salvage a cheese I was making or at least trying to make.  Humbling yes, deterred no!  Oh and here is some classic Canadiana to get you started, after all this is how I started my Sunday nights for almost 20 years.

I am obsessed with perfecting a semi-lactic cheese that I have nicknamed “Little Squirrel”, this one if successful would be version 6 and possibly the last version.  I was using a slightly different recipe this time, it called for 8 litres of milk not my usual 4 litres.  It had a 12 hour ripening/coagulation time (less than usual) and used the same amount of rennet that I would use with 4 litres.  These should have been my warning signs, but I was determined to use this recipe and get things underway no later than 9 AM so I could have them in the moulds before bed that night.

This time I used the trusty roaster vat to maintain the temperature

This time I used the trusty roaster vat to keep up the temperature

I used a lovely mix of Probat 222, Penicillium candidum and Geo 17

I used a lovely mix of Probat 222, Penicillium candidum and Geo 17

Once at temperature I added to the milk, then added the rennet.

Once at temperature I added to the milk, then added the rennet.

After 5 hours it looked like the curd was forming nicely, I was fooled like Nick was by Relic from time to time.

After 5 hours it looked like the curd was forming nicely, I was fooled like Nick was by Relic from time to time.

By 9 PM the curd still had not fully formed, I was worried that I would have wasted time and money on this cheese.  I had a decision to make.

In the end I had it ripen for 24 hours and ended up with curd soup.  I would salvage this cheese

In the end I had it ripen for 24 hours and ended up with curd soup. I knew that I could salvage this cheese

After scooping out the soup into some ply-ban I drained it for 8 hours.

After scooping out the soup into some ply-ban, I drained it for 8 hours.

After loosing about half the curd/soup in the draining process I filled up my crottin moulds with what I had.

After loosing about half the curd soup in the draining process I filled up my crottin moulds with what I had.

After a few hours I was worried I would loose it all

After a few hours I was worried I would lose it all

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It seemed to stop loosing curd, but if you look closely you can see a cheese face of disappointment in the mould.

I flipped the cheese the next morning and then salted the tops.  They seemed to be ok

I flipped the cheese the next morning and they seemed to be ok

Later that day I flipped again and then salted the tops again.

Later that day I flipped again and then salted the tops.

I then made a final flip.  At this point I was about 75% sure they would make it.

I then made a final flip. At this point I was about 75% sure they would make it.

The cheese were too high to stand up, so they were laid on their sides like logs that were salvaged off the beach.

The cheeses were too high to stand up, so they were laid on their sides like logs that were salvaged off the beach.

I salted the sides, and let them sit to let the salt dissolve into the cheese before putting them into safe harbour for ageing.

They are in their own box in my very full cheese fride.

They are in their own box in my full cheese fridge.

Yes I think I have saved/salvaged this cheese, I have learned some valuable things too.  First being that I should have checked multiple sources for this cheese, which by the way was a Charouce recipe, the second was to have patience and not to fiddle with things;  even if it is to take pictures.   Lastly I have to check to see if the CBC has the Beachcombers on DVD.

As always I will have more pictures up on the Facebook page in the next few days.  I will post more once they bloom and definitely when it is time to sample them.

Until next time go make some cheese!

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5 comments

  1. Good for you for having patience and persistence. Even if this version doesn’t work out the way you expected, you’ve learned a lot by going through the process; the more I make cheese the more I learn that that’s the only way to learn how to do it right. Great job!

  2. Well done Ian. Great rescue effort, and it looks like the logs just might make it.

    Also, we used to get Beachcombers here in Australia when I was a kid! It was a great show, and was my first introduction to Canada.

    Gav

    1. Thank You Gavin,

      I hope so, time will tell, but today I am feeling optimistic. I hope to see a bloom in about 5 days.

      After The Beachcombers went off the air in the 90’s they turned the building used for Molly’s Reach into an actual restaurant called….Molly’s Reach, and there have been 2 TV movies…..and now back to the cheese.

      Cheers,

      Ian

      >

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