Thursday, August 9, 2012

Parmasean cheese

This is the chronicle of my second attempt at parmasean cheese.  The first is hanging in my daughters basement at this time.  We won't know if it turned out right until May so I am keeping my fingers crossed.  To this date I have made: Mozzarella (It turned out awesome as string cheese but did not melt, still working on that issue), cheddar (one try, it is hanging in the basement), parmasean, Ricotta and Chevre (this one is great for cheeseballs).  I always thought making cheese would be "hard".  I would not classify it as hard but instead I would classify it as tedious.  I apologize for forgetting to take pictures of a few of the steps.  It does take special equipment that won't be found in the common kitchen.  The cultures, rennet, etc. can be bought at many cheesemaking outlets.  I like the website They have lots of step by step pictures and LOTS of recipes.  All of my cheese is made with Goat milk from my girls.  Since Goats milk is high in Lipase naturally I do not add it to the recipe.

First we have to skim the milk, pasrmasean uses skim milk, NOT whole milk.  I save the cream for whipped cream, icecream and butter.  I have an antique cream seperator that works beautifully.  Eventually I will remember to document the process, but for now you warm the milk and then crank it thru.  The cream drizzles out the top spout and the skim milk comes out the bottom.  It is an old sears model that was made sometime between 1902 and 1940.  I cleaned it up and oiled it and works as good as the day it came from the catalog.

First we gather our supplies
A sterilized spoon for stiring, a thermometer abd the package of Thermophillic culture.

 Then we sterilize the pot.  Do this by placing some water in the pot and bringing it to a boil.  Then pour out the water and leave the lid on until you are ready to pour in the milk.

Then we put 2 gallons of our skim milk in a thick bottomed pot.  We heat it to 90 degrees.

Sprinkle the culture on the top, stir it in and then put the lid on and let it sit for about an hour.
Then you get the Rennet out of the fridge
Add the reccomended amount of yours to set up 2 gallons.  Mine is 1/8th of a teaspoon to 1/4 cup cool water.  Then drizzle it into the milk.  Hopefully it is still at about 90 degrees.  Stir it well for about 2 minutes then put on the cover and let it sit again for about 45 minutes.

After 45 minutes test it for a "clean break" To do this insert your clean bare finger into the curd and pull up with your finger tip.  The curd should seperate cleanly and not be mushy.  Also you will see greenish whey around the edges of the pot.

 If it does not break clean then let it sit undisturbed a few more minutes.

When it is set then using a long knife cut into small cubes about 1/4th of an inch.  It is really hard to do the cross wise cuts and I always end up scooping up a handfull and continuing to cut it that way.  We are not suposed to crush the curd squares only cut them.
Once we get them all cut up then we have to "cook the curd" by raising the temperature VERY slowly (2 degrees every 5 minutes) to 100 degrees.  I turn my electric stove all the way down and that is close to right.  Stir it frequently to keep the curds from clumping.  Then contiue to raise the temp to 124 degrees a little faster.  I put my stove on 1 for this step.
When it is to 124 degrees it is done.  The curds should be little and hard.  When you bite one (they have no taste, so it is not "yucky") they squeak on your teeth.

(Sorry here is where I forgot the pictures.)
Pour the whey off without pouring out any curds.  (You can make ricotta from this or the dogs love it)
Then scoop the curds into a cheesecloth lined press.  Press it lightly for 15 minutes then take out the wheel and turn it over (you will have to peel off the cheesecloth and replace it so that the cloth is now over what was the top.  Put it back into the press with a little more pressure for 30 minutes.  Then repeat the process of turning it over.  Do this agian increasing the pressure each time and this time let it sit for about 2 hours.  The last time you put the press at about 20lbs of pressure and let it sit for 12 hours. 
When it is done then take out your wheel and peel off the cheesecloth. 

Make a "saturated" salt brine.  In otherwords more salt than the water can absorb.  About 3 cups of Non-iodized salt to 2 quarts of water.
Put your wheel into the brine and let it float for 24 hours

After the 24 hours is over take out, pat it dry and mark the date on it.  I used a crayola washable nontoxic marker.
Let it sit in a cool dark place for 10 months, like a basement.  You will have to turn it over every few days if it is on a shelf.  My daughter made a net to hang it so that it gets air all the way around.

So in May I will see if it turns out good

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