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Small batch hard cheesemaking  RSS feed

 
pollinator
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I just heard about Ibores cheese in a local homesteading group. They were rubbing the rind of this cheese with olive oil and smoked paprika. Sounds good. The smaller size makes it seem like a great option for small homestead hard cheesemaking. This cheese is traditionally made from specific types of goats that have very creamy milk.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ibores_cheese

"The cheeses are flat cylindrical and measure 5-9 cm (2-3.5 inches) high and 11-15 cm (4-6 inches) across. They weigh from 600-1200 g (1-2 lbs).[1][2]"

"The milk is coagulated by a natural or some other authorised method when the milk is from 28-32°C and takes from 60–90 minutes. The curd is then cut to grains of 5-10 mm and allowed to drain. The curd is then placed in moulds and subjected to a pressure of 1-2k/cm2 for 3-8 hours. After this the cheeses are salted, either dry salt rubbed onto the outside of the cheese or the cheese is immersed in a brine bath for a maximum of 24 hours. The cheeses are then allowed to mature for a minimum of 60 days. For the cheese to be labelled ‘artesanal’ it must have matured for at least 100 days. "

I imagine the rubbing with paprika and olive oil would happen after the cheese has had a chance to air-dry for a couple of days, and that this would change the kind of fungi that grow on the rind as well as adding flavour and colour.

I've had good results making Tomme in small batches (5-6 litres), and I've made other hard cheeses with that amount of milk but usually prefer to use 8 litres.
 
gardener
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Oh that sound's good !   Are you able to try to make some ? I wonder if you could use any goat milk?
 
Kate Downham
pollinator
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I will definitely be trying it once I finish setting up my nursery paddock to separate the goat kids at night (I only get enough milk for drinking, yoghurt and chévre at the moment). I might experiment to see how it ages over the summer, as this is something I've been struggling with for hard cheeses.
 
pollinator
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Back in the 1950's when our goats were in peak production we tried making cheeses and coating them with butter so they would not get too dry but it did not work.  By two months they were so hard and dry the only way we could use them was to cut them in thin slices on a band saw and use the sawdust and crumbled slices as parmason. It may be better to coat them with bees wax if you want it to retain moisture.
 
thomas rubino
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Hi Kate;
How are you aging your hard cheeses now ?  Open to the air , cheesecloth and wax, vacuum packed ?
 And where are you aging your hard cheese ?  Fridge , root cellar, natural cave ?

 
Kate Downham
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In the next few years I want to build a cheese cave/root cellar (or one of each) out of stone, cob, or strawbales, or a mix of the 3, I'd build it into the side of a steep hill, out of the sun, and probably have a sod roof, hopefully this should be enough. There's an organic dairy farm near me that have a stone cheese cave set into the hill, and all they've needed is to have a small window up the top, and maybe a small vent low in the door to allow airflow, if this works for them commercially then hopefully it will work for me on a small scale. They tell me that they don't really start hard cheeses in the hottest part of summer either though, so that might just be the best time for feta and halloumi.

In the short term, I have an unheated laundry with a tiled floor, this absorbs cold overnight, and doesn't get heated by sunlight or wood heat during the day, except in summer when sun gets in for a short time in the late afternoon. Last summer some cheese I made was really too hot for good aging, and the fat began to separate and move to the outside of the cheese, but it ended up tasting OK in the end, just harder and drier, and not quite as awesome as cheeses that had aged well, but still tasty.

In this laundry I have an old meat safe, which is made of metal with lots of holes in it, and I've put my cheeses in there to keep insects away from them. I make cheeses with a natural rind, with salt rubbed on them every so often. I might try moving the meat safe to under the house where it doesn't get any sun at all once I'm making hard cheeses again.

I've made waxed cheeses in the past, some of them have turned out really well, but I think they're probably more sensitive to heat than natural rind cheeses, and not as flexible about when you can eat them - dry natural rinds will just keep aging if you need to leave them for another month or two, where as there seemed to be a point with the waxed ones where they got over-aged and had nasty flavours.

Other places I've successfully aged cheeses have been under a house on the cold side (it needed protecting from rodents and bugs to do this though), and also in a switched off fridge on a porch that didn't get any direct sun. Both of these were good, but I think it's best to have some airflow, so the old meat safe works well as a small-scale solution. Anyone good at building things could probably make one out of flywire and wood, or they can often be found second hand.
 
Hans Quistorff
pollinator
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The Wikipedia article in the first post mentions the "goat taste" We never had that from our Saanen or Nubian goats but ocasionaly from togganberg and one alpine line. They had an enzyme in their milk that would cause that taste after the milk cooled for 6 hours but you would not tast it when freshly milked.
THE BEST CHEESE I EVER MADE
While trading dairy goats I was able to observe an elderly Scandinavian simmering his whey down to make whey cheese. A remarkable amount of butter fat is lost with the whey as well as the natural salts and sugars that are in the milk therefore the curd is quite bland.  So I developed the practice of draining the whey into a 16 inch fry pan and simmering it down until the water was gone and the sugar would start to caramelize.  I would then mix the reduced whey back into the fresh curd and put it into layer cake pans which when stacked upside down the bottom of one pan would press into the one above.
I wanted to try making brie so I inoculated the top of one pan and left it in the milk refrigerator for the rind to develop when it did I intended to turn it out on a rack and let the rind develop on the sides and bottom but family started sampling and it disappeared.
 
Kate Downham
pollinator
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I've always wanted to try whey cheese, but the recipes say I'd have to stand around stirring it for hours. Your method in the frying pan sounds good, as does adding it back into the curd.
 
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