It has been a long time since I had a cheese post. This one has been four months in the making because that is how long my blue cheese took to be ready.
This was by far the most complex cheese I’d ever made. I’d tried a cut curd cheese before, but it was not successful. This time it went better, despite a suspect recipe (I think they shorted it a whole gallon of milk).
So this time I made, drum roll please, blue cheese!
I went through the steps – heating milk, adding in of bacteria and mold and assorted enzymes, letting it set, cutting curds, letting it set, draining the curds and putting it in a form, letting it set. Do you sense a trend here?
Finally, after two and a half days of work, my cheese was ready to christen my cheese fridge. Here is what it looked like going in.
I needed to flip it every day and keep the humidity up. My little fridge needed to hold at 55 degrees with 90% humidity. Here is where my second problem developed. My fridge is in the garage, and it was winter when I started all of this. My garage was colder than 55, and fridges don’t have a heating element, so my mold was colder than it liked to start.
Once things warmed up, though, it was quite happy. Here is how it looked at 30 days.
That one month mark is when the excitement occurs. I scrapped off all the mold (some recipes say to do so, others don’t mention it). Here is my naked cheese.
Then I stabbed it … a lot. That is how veins are created. It allows oxygen into the cheese to activate the mold that was in the milk from the beginning. The more stabbing, the stronger the cheese.
The fridge was then turned down to 40 degrees. The recipe didn’t say the humidity level. It was hard to keep the humidity very high with the temperature that low since the compressor dries out the air. My cheese did end up drying out over the next three months. It looked sad, and I was a bit afraid when it came time to try it.
Here is the finished product.
It is a dry cheese, but the flavor is wonderful. Strong, but not too strong to eat on its own. It was worth the four month wait.
Next weekend I start my next batch of blue cheese, trying to work out some of the kinks in the process. Wish me luck.