Two for Taleggio Part I: The First Cheese Making of 2014

I admit it, I was spoiled at Christmas this year, a Cheese Trier, new moulds spruce bark straps the list could go on….but really it doesn’t.  I have a great family that puts up with my cheese making, so much so that when I hinted that I would like a Taleggio mould for Christmas, the kids got me one and they even sprung for the little extras like the divider, two draining plates.  They spoiled me.  So when I spoke to my friend Rick about making cheese, it turned out that he had received a Taleggio mould as well, it was set we now had Two for Taleggio.

I have the best kids in the world, well in my house at least.

I have the best kids in the world, well in my house at least.

So on January 3, armed with our Taleggio Moulds, the same recipe, cultures and our “HomeMaid” whole milk; we met at the newly expanded Cheese Lab at Much To Do About Cheese World Headquarters, also know as my Kitchen/Dining Room to make one of our first cheeses of 2014

I know you have some burning questions, like what is Taleggio?

Taleggio (IPA: [taˈleddʒo]) is a semi-softwashed rindsmear-ripened Italian cheese that is named after Val Taleggio. The cheese has a thin crust and a strong aroma, but its flavour is comparatively mild with an unusual fruity tang.  – Source:  Wikipedia 

Note:  I would like to add that sometimes it has the flavour of cured meats as well.

The other is what the heck is “HomeMaid” whole milk?  No I did not get a cow, I wish, but Rick had read that if you want to make your own whole milk, that for every 4 litres of skim milk you add about 500 ml of whipping cream.  I of course was not paying attention when I bought my milk and ended up buying 1% milk and whipping cream.  But it would all work out in the end.

We set up the two roaster vats, thank you Addie for lending me yours, on the kitchen table and after two blown circuits we set up the vats on opposite sides of the room.

Here is my setup on the table, already heating the milk up to temperature

Here is my setup on the table, already heating the milk up to temperature

Here is Rick next to his set up, again heating milk and talking of cheese.

Here is Rick next to his setup, again heating milk and talking of cheese.

Besides the differences in milk, Rick was using rennet tablets and I used my lamb rennet paste.  We both used MA4001 as the primary culture and PLA as our source for linens.  I know that PLA is not really traditional, but it is what I had and I like it.  I did think I might have sabotaged Rick by putting him by the window, it was -18C out that day.  In the end he reached temperature about 20 minutes after I did.  Like a good host I provided some nibbles, and of course it was cheese.

A little bit of Hertin, Wiessbier, Beemster Vlaskaas and some homemade Caerphilly. I wonder, is eating cheese while making cheese the same as eating a chicken sandwich while collecting eggs?

A bit of Hertin, Wiessbier, Beemster Vlaskaas and some homemade Caerphilly.
I wonder, is eating cheese while making cheese the same as eating a chicken sandwich while collecting eggs?

When the milk reached the right temperature, we added the cultures , then the rennet and went about calculating the flocculation and waiting for the curd to set.

This was the setup for the mould, sitting in wait.

This was the setup for the mould, sitting in wait.

When it was time to check for a clean break, I was surprised and very pleased with the results of my “HomeMaid” whole milk

One of the best clean breaks I have had with store bought milk.

One of the best clean breaks I have had with store-bought milk.

It was time to cut the curd, first into 3 inch cubes, then down in to 1.5 inch cubes.

Curd cut to 3 inch cubes.

Curd cut to 3 inch cubes.

Now cut to 1.5 inch cubes.

Now cut to 1.5 inch cubes.

After giving the curd a gentle stir for a few minutes it was time to load the mould!

I love this part of cheese making.  This is where you get to start to truly see whether your cheese is on track.

I love this part of cheese making. This is where you get to start to truly see whether your cheese is on track.

Here is Rick loading his mould.  His curd was as nice as mine.

Here is Rick loading his mould. His curd was as nice as mine.

I had some extra curd, so I filled a Saint Marcellin  mould with more curd.  I placed the second plate on the top and listen to the whey fall like rain in spring.

Here is the full mould with the top plate on.

Here is the full mould with the top plate on.

You can see that it is already leaving a nice straw like pattern on the cheese.

You can see that it is already leaving a nice straw like pattern on the cheese.

Extra Curd?  No problem use another mould!

Extra Curd? No problem use another mould!

Once we had filled out moulds and started letting them drain, we finally looked at the time.  It was later than we had thought it would be so we packed up Rick’s Cheese and made it ready to go.

Still on a draining rack, surrounded by bottles with hot water in them, we plastic wrapped the mould and then covered with a heavy towel

Still on a draining rack, surrounded by bottles with hot water in them, we plastic wrapped the mould and then covered with a heavy towel

Then I sent Rick packing…just kidding, he started the journey home with his cheese.  It made it safely.

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I covered mine with a towel and waited for the first flip.

There was lots of flipping over the next 6 hours, well not really I only flipped it a couple of time before bed and then more the next day.

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After the brine bath it was on a board to air dry over night and start the washing.

Here they are air drying in their little cages.

Here they are air drying in their little cages.

Then it was into a ripening box and then start the washing of the rind.

Then it was into a ripening box and give it a few days before I started to wash the rind.

The directions say you should wash the cheese every two days, I decided to wash it the same way I washed my Reblochon, with the top one day, flip the next day and wash the new top and sides.  Flip and repeat wash on new top…etc.  This way I am washing every two days, but just not the whole cheese.  I am going to cover the washing in part II, but just as a little tease here is the cheese after washing for 7 days.

7 Days and a hint of linens are showing up to the party.

7 Days and a hint of linens are showing up to the party.

I hope to have some pictures up on the Facebook page in a few days.

Until next time I’ll keep washing cheese, and you should go and make some.

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9 comments

        1. Ideally you would want your temperature about 10 to 14 Celsius depending on the cheese. My wine fridge has a digital thermostat, you can get external controls for regular fridges to manage your temperatures

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