Sunday, September 13, 2009

Not provolone, and other cheeses updated

I tried to make provolone yesterday. The pH of the curds just would not get low enough for them to stretch in hot water. I think that perhaps 144˚F was too hot for my culture and it killed it, because the pH was going down quite satisfactorily before the cooking step, when it just stopped.

All is hopefully not lost, however. The initial steps of provolone making are very similar to those of parmesan, so I have turned my cheese into a species of parmesan. An odd species, because I washed a little diluted liquid smoke through the curds before I moulded them, and I intend to rub the cheese with smoked paprika after it's been brined and before I dry it. I used a piece of drainpipe (a scrap from a plumber friend, unused and thoroughly washed) for the mould, and a tin of tomatillos for the follower. It fits perfectly, and I'm going to have to remember to save the can when I open the tomatillos.

Here it is in the brine:

We shall see what it turns out like in a few months.

The ricotta salata I made last week turned out OKish. Nice crumbled in salad, but I thought I'd try baking what was left after rubbing it in black pepper as the man from curdnerds suggested. Here it is; baked ricotta salata:

It makes it a good deal firmer and easier to handle, as well as giving a bit of extra flavour. I made some more ricotta salata with the whey from this week's cheese (having found that my cheese book does indeed have a recipe for it, pretty much what I did last week!), but this time I'm going to hot smoke it. If it can cope with being baked at 150˚C it can cope with the hot smoker.

This time I moulded it in this small plastic straight-sided bucket that I drilled drainage holes in:

That tin of salmon fits it nicely, and the jar of jam is just the right weight for it.

Here is the cheese unmoulded:

Just look at the mould on the first blue cheese!

It's been four weeks since I made it so it was time to give it its first scraping.

There were a few bits that were drying out a bit, so I've adjusted the conditions in its aging place (the vege crisper in the beer fridge) by removing the container of water from the corner and pouring water straight into the bottom of the bin. This cheese sits in the wee cradle I made, and the stilton sits on a sushi mat on a perforated plastic mat, so they are both held well above the water and will not get wet.

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