Saturday, July 14, 2012

Stephanie Soleil's Urban Cheddar

Stephanie Soleil in Africa
Home is San Francisco but this girl gets around!

Stephanie Soleil took a trip around the world with her partner, Justin Watt in 2010.  She has posted loads of gorgeous pictures and stories about their trip at her blog - La Vie Soleil.

Justin mentioned that Stephanie makes cheese, and, indeed, she does!  She has posted articles about her Jarlsberg, Crottin 1 and Crottin 2, Camembert, St, Marcellin and Cheddar at her blog and she recently started documenting her cheese activities at her Facebook page - FromageSoleil.

Stephanie was happy to share her first Cheddar adventure with you below:

Urban Cheddar #1
By Stephanie Soleil at La Vie Soleil

So we live in a city and yes, we made our first Farmhouse Cheddaaaaaar! Here’s how it went…

1 – Heat up two gallons of whole milk to 90°F.

2 – Add cultures (mesophilic) and wait 45 minutes. Add rennet and wait 45 minutes.

3 – The milk turns into something that looks very much like yogurt. It’s time to cut the curds!

4 – Cook the curds again in a bath of water (in the sink) and bring the temperature up to 100°F… no more than 2 degrees every 5 minutes, which is supposed to take about 30 minutes but really took us 45. We’re learning.

5 – Hang the curds.

6 – Line the mold with the cheese cloth and press it- increasing the weight and turning the cheese periodically.

This process led us to put together a kick ass cheese press engineered and built by Justin. Tah-dah!!

7 – Take the cheese out of the mold and let it air dry for several days, turning it multiple times a day so moisture doesn’t collect at the bottom for too long.

8 – Wax the cheese and age it for at least 1 month. Ideally you want to wait for more than 6 months. Patience!

After Drying, Well...Waxing

Our first urban Cheddar air dried in our oven (off of course!) for a week, flipping it twice a day. It formed a nice, fairly solid rind and started smelling like real cheese rather than yogurt!

It was ready to get waxed. We melted just under 5 pounds of wax in a purchased-for-this-particular-purpose pot and dipped the cheese in the red liquid. It surprisingly cooled really fast which made the process of turning and dipping the cheese in the wax multiple times reasonably quick.

Here’s a shot right after the first dip. Justin posted some other really cool photos!

Here are a few of Justin's photos:

Since then, we made Cheddar #2 and Gouda #1 is air drying right now. Man, we’re going to have a lot of cheese in a few months!

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