A Madman With A Blue Cheese Box!

Ever since I started to make cheese, I have had friends asking me to make blue cheese.  For years I have answered with screwed up face and a big “NO!”  I have had a few blues over the years and there are only two that I don’t mind, Salt Spring Island Cheese Company’s “Blue Juliette” and the occasional piece of Stilton, but only after a few glasses of wine.   Oh how the times have changed

It was time to fire up the double boiler and make something.

It was time to fire up the double boiler and make something.

Lets be honest right off the bat, I bought the wrong milk.  I bought 1% milk so this will be an interesting cheese right off the bat.  Lesson learned:  read the label!  So I heated said milk up to 28 degrees Celsius and got my supplies ready.

Clockwise from the top: Geo 15, MA4001, P. Roqueforti

Clockwise from the top:
Geo 15, MA4001, P. Roqueforti

I added the culture mix to the milk and let it hydrate for 5 minutes then I stirred the milk to mix in the cultures.  It was interesting to see that the P. Roqueforti did not fully hydrate/mix into the milk.  This was going to be a semi lactic cheese so I guessed that the 24 hour ripening time would take care of it.  It did leave some cool patterns on the milk.

Mould art

Blue Mould Art

specks

I was mesmerized by the blue/green swirls

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I just couldn’t look away.

I covered the bowl with plastic wrap and put it into my small cheese fridge and set it to 18 degrees Celsius.  It was in the low 30’s so it was to hot to let it sit at room temperature.

Covered with plastic wrap and in the cheese fridge

Covered with plastic wrap and in the cheese fridge

24 hours later it was time to scoop the curd into the moulds and start the wonderful trip into blue land.

I used my crottin moulds for  4 cheeses

I used my crottin moulds for 4 cheeses

Saint Marcilin mould for one larger cheese.

Saint Marcellin mould for one larger cheese.

The cheese then drained for 24 hours in the cheese fridge. It was time to un-mould the cheese and salt it.  I decided that it would be easier to use coarse salt this time and salted the cheese.  I was in unknown territory so I used a little more salt than I would use with my “Little Squirrels” and then I put them into a ripening box made from a cupcake holder.

Yes you do need salt in cheese making.  In reality it is not that much

Yes you do need salt in cheese making. In reality it is not that much

The first Blue Cheese Box

The first Blue Cheese Box.

Now I was not happy with the way this box was draining and I found a new box at a big box store so it was time to change the box.

The new Blue (Cheese) Box

The new Blue (Cheese) Box.

After five days there was some signs of blue on some of the cheeses.  Now part of me wanted to go and grab a cloth dipped in brine and wash it but I resisted.

A little bit of blue.

A bit of blue.

Now we are 7 days in and the blue seems to be taking off.  I was worried that the Geo would interfere, but they seem to be working in harmony. Behold the glory of Blue Henge!

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As usual I will have more pictures up on the Facebook Page later in the week.

I am not planing on piercing the cheese, I want the cheese to be a surface ripened cheese.  I think it will allow the blue flavour through and not have it overpowering , but what do I know?  I’m just a Madman with a Blue Cheese Box! 20140423-094429.jpg

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