Monday, November 2, 2009

Stirred-Curd Cheddar, and a Whey Ricotta

I made a cheddar on Sunday from my gallon of raw milk- my fourth cheddar, and second stirred-curd cheddar.  I also made a whey ricotta from the leftover whey- it yielded about a cup of a dry-textured, incredibly delicious ricotta.  I'm using Ricki Carroll's recipes here.

Stirred-curd cheddar is not a true cheddar.  To cook these curds, they are stirred for a half-hour over low heat (100 F). Traditional cheddars require the curds being sliced into strips and air-dried, and I haven't figured out the set-up yet. I'm working my way up to it.

(Sunday's cheddar in its second pressing)

I'm keeping a cheese journal- very important for reproducibility, and to figure out what I did right or wrong when after the cheese is ready to eat, which is usually a couple of months from the make date.  

Here's the blow-by-blow of Sunday's cheese:

Stirred-Curd Cheddar, 11/01/09
11:30- Direct-set mesophilic starter added  @ 96F, not 90F as in recipe.  Pot removed from double boiler and covered.
12:15- Rennet added @ 94F; stirred in up-and-down motion for 4 minutes.
12:50- Curds cut.  Pot covered, placed back on DB.
1:05- Heat turned on to lowest setting.  Curds allowed to rest with lid on; temp slowly raised to 100F.
1:40- Began 30-minute stirring of curds- water in DB is 110F.
2:10- Stop stirring- curds considerably smaller.
2:25- Curds drained, whey retained for ricotta.  1 tbsp kosher salt added to curds.  Pot covered on DB, with heat on low to keep curds at 100F.  Stirred with hands every 5 minutes.  Heat turned on and off with every third stir.
3:25- Curds resemble a very large curd cottage cheese sans cream.  They are pebbly and a little grainy.
3:30- Curds spooned into cheesecloth-lined mold and put under press with 10 lbs.
4:05- Cheese removed from mold, turned over and re-wrapped, returned to mold.  20 lbs.  Cheese was turned about a half-hour later than recipe instructions.
9:15- Cheese removed from mold, re-wrapped and turned a final time, returned to mold.  30 lbs.

After the last pressing, the cheese is removed from the mold in 24 hours, then air-dried for a few days at room temperature.  Then, it gets waxed- in my case, with beeswax.


(Whey Ricotta)

Whey Ricotta, from a little more than 1/2 gallon of leftover whey-
Brought whey to a near-boil.  Added two glugs of cider vinegar; whey precipitated immediately.  Added a little salt after draining and cooling.  Dry, crumbly texture.


d. moll, said...

The inside scoop on cheese making!

Sara said...

Very cool. I'm still struggling with mozzarella (though I haven't tried in a while, to be fair). I remembered reading the instructions for ricotta--I think it's so cool that you can make it out of leftover whey. What a great "reuse/recycle!"

chaiselongue said...

This is so exciting! I've made fresh cheese, like ricotta, but never tried making hard cheese.

Friend of the Animals said...

See to me, that is just too much work....

But I bet the results are wonderful!

The Bunns said...

I'm with FOTA .. why heck, we just hop over to Samish Bay cheese or Golden Glen Creamry.

Iknow, I know .... not the same ... but hey - we got lots bunnies to tend to.

ilex said...

It's a lot of work, it's true. But cheesemaking speaks to me in a way that very little else has.

Mariah said...

Wow! good for you. I have to admire your cheese mold/press setup. I have made mozarella before, but that's it. I'm more of a "just wing it" kind of cook, so the exacting processes of food science can be bit tough for me. Glad to see you are back!

Rabbits' Guy said...

Growing your own fruits and vegetables and making bread, cheese, and wine .... ahhhhhhhhhh

Paula said...

I had to stop reading after the second or third sentence. If I could get a milk share I wouldn't know what to do with it. You get to make cheese!