We're still working with soft cheeses so no need for a press yet, but you might want to start thinking about getting one or making one as next month we'll be starting with some basic hard cheeses. You will need some cheese molds (forms) though.
This month, however, we're going to be working with acid, rennet, cultures and mold! Yes, you heard that right. Mold. Mold is what makes brie such a wonderful gift from heaven. It's what makes blue cheese blue. Molds help the cheese develop more flavor and can also act as an inhibitor of undesirable mold. Some molds, like the ones for brie and camembert are surface molds while molds for blue cheese work within. They effect the color, smell, taste and texture of the cheese.
Feel free to experiment. Cheesemaking.com has some recipes for the more common cheeses like brie and blue cheese. Also Home Cheese Making: Recipes for 75 Delicious Cheeses has quite a few recipes you can check out.
I made Bucheron which is basically a camembert made with goat cheese and aged for an extra long time. The form is also different as it's more of a cylinder rather than your typical camembert or brie shape. This cheese doesn't have the soft gooey insides that the other two are known to have and the flavor is much stronger. I'm also planning on trying out brie.
This recipe was going to take 3 days to make so I made sure to do it
on a weekend I was going to be home for. It required 2 gallons of goat
milk which was going to take us quite awhile to stockpile. To stockpile
raw milk we simply froze quart jars of it as we collected it until we
got all we needed.
I had 4 small molds for making chevre, which
ended up being enough. Five molds probably would have been more ideal
though because I was really having to cram the curds into the four to
make them fit. I also needed cheese mats, and a food grade plastic box
to allow the cheese to retain moisture and keep the cultures from
contaminating the wine fridge.
The first thing I had to do to make
it was pasteurize the milk since it's a soft cheese and isn't aged long
enough. I really hate pasteurizing milk just because it can take so
long but if I wanted to make this cheese I was going to have to.
This recipe required a Mesophilic
DVI MA starter culture, Penicillum candidum and Geotrichum candidum,
rennet and a brine solution.
Once the milk was down to 86 deg F I
simply added the cultures, stirring until well blended. I then added the
rennet stirring up and down. I left it overnight to firm up.
cutting the curds I scooped them into the molds filling them. The molds
only took about 2/3s of the curds. I let the curds sit for just over 4
hours and then refilled the molds, packing the rest of the curds in. I
allowed them to sit overnight to completely drain. The next morning I
removed the curds from the molds and brined them for 10 minutes.
brine was made up of 2 pounds of noniodized salt mixed into 1 gallon of
water. Heat up the water until it's nearly boiling and mix in the salt
until it's dissolved. When it cools some of the salt may precipitate
out. You know the salt content is right when the cheese floats. If the
cheese sinks there's not enough salt. This is good to know because you
keep the brine to reuse - adding water and salt when needed. Over time
it will develop it's own character from whey and cultures that are
slowly added with each batch of cheese. Some cheesemakers have had the
same brine for decades.