This past Christmas I was given some cheese making supplies, and in my stocking I found these peculiar things that looked like paint stirring sticks. They weren’t, I was relieved I thought my wife was hinting at a reno project, they were spruce straps used for wrapping cheeses such as Vacherin or Mont d’or. Well March has rolled in like a lamb and I figured it was time for me to use them. So armed with 14 litres of “HomeMaid” and extra fat whole milk, my trusty Reblochon and basket mould it was time to spring into cheese action.
I decided that I would use the Reblochon recipe I have, but wash the rinds with a Amber Ale by Alley Cat Brewery, from right here in Edmonton. With this goal in mind it was time to start.I have used this Reblochon recipe a few times with good results, so I was not going to mess with it, except for the fat content in the milk. The make was to plan, except my yield was higher than I expected. I had to quickly sterilize a few more moulds.
One of the key steps with this recipe is you need to transfer the curd to the moulds with the whey. I chose not to use cheesecloth this time, to allow for the curd to drain better, and to get more in the mould. I had to improvise with the pressing of the cheese, I usually use a couple of 2.5 lb weights but this was not an option for the other moulds.
After 4 hours of pressing the weights were removed and the cheese was moved to the basement in a ripening box to sit for 16 hours, this allowed the pH in the cheese to drop and gave me time to take a break. The next morning it was time to heat up the spruce and wrap some cheese.
It was time to start applying the straps to the cheese, I used a nice twine to give it a rustic look, that and I could not pierce the wood with the cheap toothpicks I had.
It did not take long for the salt to melt into the cheese and when I checked later that night they were swimming in whey. I put them on cutting boards that my wife was not using and they seemed to drain better.
So with the cheeses flipped and the boards wiped down it was time to put them back into the basement.
When the Geotricum starts to bloom in a few days I will start to was the rinds. I will be following the same wash cycle I used for Reblochon. Day one wash top, day two flip wash new top and sides, repeat. Of course I won’t be washing the sides but the top that is not touching the wood will be.
I will try to all the pictures of the make up on the Facebook page in a few days. I am trying to play catchup on a few things. So until next time go and make some cheese and have fun doing it.