Sunday, September 27, 2009

Sage Leicester and an update on the others

This week's cheese is sage Leicester. Don't know if there is officially any such cheese, but there is sage Derby and the only difference I can see between Derby and Leicester is the yellow colouring in the Leicester. I wanted to experiment with my annatto powder, so I made sage Leicester!

I picked some sage leaves from the garden and chopped them up small before boiling for 10 minutes or so. Most of the water evaporated in that time and I ended up with this:

Which I added to my curds at milling time. Here is the finished sage Leicester just out of the mould, sitting in front of last week's cumin seed Gouda. It doesn't look all that yellow to me, but it will get yellower as it ages.

The Gouda is still drying and being washed daily in brine.

I'm about to have a small rant here, so skip to the next photo if you want.

I am absolutely appalled at the quality of the editing done on the two cheese recipe books I have bought from Amazon. They're Making Artisan Cheese: Fifty Fine Cheeses That You Can Make in Your Own Kitchen and Home Cheese Making: Recipes for 75 Delicious Cheeses, published by different people and written by different people. They would both be really good books (they're the best you can get) except that you can't trust them - and it's the editing at fault. I'll abbreviate them "Fifty" and "75".

Fifty has the titles missing on two of the cheese recipe pages - you have to look at the picture legends or short descriptions to see what the recipe is for. It has a description of a red rinded cheese on a picture of cottage cheese. The recipe for white Stilton says it is a young fresh cheese - and then tells you to age it for 4 months which is the same as for blue Stilton - which is certainly not young and fresh tasting. The recipe for Edam says it is similar to Gouda but you don't wash it - then has instructions in the recipe for washing it. It also has a recipe for an aged cheese that has no salt at all - now is that an error or does the cheese really have no salt in it? I can't imagine a saltless cheese - I don't think it'd keep very well and I hate to think what it'd taste like - I mean you even have a little salt in cheese you use in desserts!

The other one, 75, had me cooking provolone to 144˚F - after which its pH would not get any lower. Subsequent research tells me that is too hot for the culture, and I've killed it. The same recipe has you putting the cheese in water, then removing it from brine - again, research tells me it needs to be cooled in water, then soaked in brine. But I have no idea for how long. In the recipe for gorgonzola, where you make two batches of curd then mix them, it confuses "half as much" with "twice as much". I had to read it several times before I could work that out.

All of these things are editing faults. You don't need to know anything at all about cheesemaking to be able to see the mistakes. It's not even as though they're some obscure grammatical errors - they're blatantly obvious. Who edits these things? Do they rely on a computer spell-checker or something?

Rant over.

The ricotta salata from two weeks ago went into the hot smoker yesterday and came out looking like this:

It's quite tasty, I plan on eating it crumbled over my lunchtime salads this week. Here it is cut in half:

I've removed the ageing cheeses from the beer fridge (too cold, at no more than 44˚C at the moment), and am keeping them in the guest bathroom (Americans - this is a room with a bath in it, not a toilet) where the temperature is a nice cool 50˚C or so. These ones, (clockwise from top left, parmesan, bandaged cheddar, caraway Gouda, "not provolone") are sitting inside a non-functioning mini fridge:

And these ones (very out of focus roquefort type and Stilton type) are still in the vege crisper from the beer fridge, but with an oven tray lid on it to keep the humidity up:

The Stilton type is really too crumbly, I think I put too much cream in it. However, we'll see how it turns out.

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