Saturday, January 18, 2014

Glass House Blue Cheese by Andy Cumberland

Glass House Blue at 4 weeks
Andy Cumberland has so many fingers in the "back to basics" pie that we can't keep track of them all- aquaponics, composting, sausage making, bread baking and cheese making, of course.  Check out his wide assortment of YouTube videos - http://www.youtube.com/user/2Stupid2Duck.

Of course, we're most interested in his cheese making skills, as he seems to be an endless source of new, creative recipes.  (Six months ago, we posted his recipe for Purple Onion Feta.)  He shares all kinds of information and recipes at his own "Group" for cheese makers which he created on the website, Brisbane Local Food.

Recently, Andy posted a video about making a blue cheese recipe he has perfected.*  He named his cheese after the Glass House Mountains in Queensland, Australia, north of Brisbane, where he lives.  He then sent us the written recipe below. 

(All the pictures in this article were taken by Andy who, in addition to everything else, sells his photography and teaches photography classes (click here)).

Glass House Mountains in the distance

Mount Coonowrin



Glass House Blue
By Andy Cumberland

Glass House Blue is “picante” due to the short aging period.  It’s quite mild and I’d say, “smooth or gentle” rather than sweet.  It will not over-whelm the palate which, unfortunately, a lot of blues tend to do to those not inducted into the stronger cheeses.   The texture is softer towards the centre, which I adore.

I know the photos show a huge amount of blue/green P. Roqueforti, but all that surface mould dies off in a few days when I wrap it in aluminium foil.  A mature cheese lover would age it for another month or three.  Maybe I’ll do that some time in the future, but right now my wife and I love the gentle taste too much.

The closest commercial cheese I can think of that is similar is called Blue Costello (which is, I think, a world wide one).  The taste is very similar but it's texture is even softer, which, unfortunately, tends toward the “gooey” when left to sit.

Glass House Blue at 2 weeks


Ingredients:

·  4 litres of milk (or 2 gallons-ish)

·  1/4 tsp mesophilic culture

·  1/16 tsp penicillium roqueforti culture

·  1/4 tsp calcium chloride + 1/4 tsp liquid rennet diluted in 1 /4 cup non-chlorinated water

·  1 tsp or so of Kosher salt or cheese salt








Close-up at 4 weeks

Method:

·  Slowly warm the milk to 30C (86F)

·  Add both cultures.  Let sit for a few minutes and then stir in well.

·  Let sit for 1 hour (stir every so often).

·  Add the diluted calcium chloride and rennet. Stir well.

·  Let sit for 1 hour (or longer to get a clean break).

·  Cut the curd to about 1 cm (1/2 inch).

·  Stir well and let settle.

·  Take out excess whey until the curd is slightly exposed and then stir again.

·  Drain curd in a lined colander for 5 minutes.

·  Place curd into moulds.

·  Flip every 3 or 4 hours for 12 hours.  (Depending on your day/night timing, make sure you flip it once – 4 is the ideal.)

·  Rub with salt – make sure you cover every surface – top, bottom and sides.

·  Stab it all the way through with a metal skewer – 4 times vertically and 4 horizontally.

·  Let dry for a day at room temperature.

·  Place into a refrigerator at around 15C (60F).

·  I age to appearance.  It takes a few weeks (3 – 4) before the blue mould shows for me.  It tends to develop quickly after that.  Once I have a really good mould coverage, I wrap it in aluminum foil (to retard the surface mould) and leave it for another week or two.

·  To serve, remove from fridge 30 minutes prior.  When you cut it, the cheese should be soft-ish in the centre.  If not, try to get the chance to age the rest of the block for another week or so. (Good luck with that, the tasters tend to be very impatient!)

*Andy posted this You Tube video about his cheese: 

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