Sunday, September 6, 2009

Stilton & Ricotta Salata

This week I'm making Stilton - or as close to it as I can get. You start with full cream milk, and add more cream before adding mesophilic starter and some P. roqueforti. After the milk has ripened you add a fairly small amount of rennet and let it set for quite a long time - 90 minutes the book said, but I left mine a little longer. You then, instead of cutting the curds, spoon it out of the pot and into a cloth-lined colander, where you let it sit in its whey for another hour and a half.

After that you gather the corners of cloth and hang it up to drip, and when it stops you wrap it up and stick some weights on top of it to squeeze out more whey overnight.

This is all actually very similar to the Neufchâtel, except for the P. roqueforti. You use a bit more rennet so the curd does actually set, but apart from that it's pretty much the same.

But because you have used more rennet and have a more solid curd, the next steps are different. You break up the lump of curd into ~ 1 inch pieces and mix them with salt, then put the curds into a mould sandwich (board, sushi mat, mould with curds, sushi mat, board) which gets flipped every 15 mins or so for a couple of hours before you leave it to set.

My curds wouldn't all fit into my biggest mould, so the leftovers went into a smaller hoop. I'm going to experiment with them, and coat them in P. candidum in a few days, and see what sort of blue/white cheese I end up with.

I'm trying to make ricotta salata with this week's whey. I have no idea what I'm doing really - I looked around on the net and found a few descriptions of the stuff (it's a cheese I've never seen, much less tasted), and this person's instructions, which he made up himself as well.

I moulded my salted ricotta in this heart mould for 3 hours …

… before tipping it out and salting the outside. I'm not wrapping it in gladwrap, I think I'll just leave it draining on the sushi mat and applying salt regularly.

We'll see what happens.

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