KING BLUE STILTON........

Recipes and techniques for soft cheese.

cheese mats

Postby jenny_haddow » Wed Apr 05, 2006 1:53 pm

Rik,

Once my cheeses are out of the moulds do they have to continue standing on a cheese mat throughout maturation?

Jen
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Postby Rik vonTrense » Wed Apr 05, 2006 5:58 pm

Well I do Jen because I actually use ex jellied eel bowls that the bulk eels come in and I use them upside down. You will get some condensation so it is better not to get the cheese ends wet.

But after you take them out as long as you can invert them daily without touching them then that's okay not to have them on a mat......

I buy mine by the metre and cut it to sizes that I need.

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Postby jenny_haddow » Wed Apr 05, 2006 6:36 pm

Thanks Rik, that sounds logical.

Cheers

Jen
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Postby jenny_haddow » Fri Apr 07, 2006 10:06 pm

Hi Rik

Cheeses looking good and smelling beautiful. This is going to be an exercise in patience I can see that.

Ref the doner thread, I have a vertical rotisserie that is virtually identical to the machine advertised on the link posted. It cooks the best chicken and boned and rolled joints. It would cook donor meat, no probs. I paid �30 odd quid for it, and I am trying to remember where I bought it. Its made by a company called Hometek, and comes with a variety of spikes and holders for cooking different meat. May be worth a look.

Cheers

Jen
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Postby Rik vonTrense » Sat Apr 08, 2006 5:25 am

Cheers Jen will have a search......we have a George Foreman rotisserie which does all sorts of things but it is a horizontal one.

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Postby jenny_haddow » Mon Apr 10, 2006 9:36 am

The neufchatel is great. I added cream to it but no herbs etc. the old man doesn't like stuff that's 'mucked about', but I will do this again when we entertain, and do some variations. It has a lot of possibilities.

I've got my two stiltons in the garage, both looking good and beginning to change colour a little.

Cheers

Jen
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Postby Rik vonTrense » Mon Apr 17, 2006 7:53 pm

Well your cheese should be showing signs of blueing if the culture you used from your blue cheese was active.

Before I packed up cheesemaking I was experimenting and there is a nice shape you can have your cheeses in and this saves you buying extra moulds and draining mats etc etc.

In the household goods side of Tesco there are some "Plastic white collanders" the price is �1.97.

These are half round but with slits down the sides instead of holes for drainage and they also stand up by themselves having a bottom rim. They have a handle and grip the opposite side

If you fill these with your cut curds and stand them aside to let them drain you will find they hold the curds of a two gallon make just right and when they have drained for a couple of hours take another collander and invert the cheese into this......after a couple of inverts you will find you have a nice shaped cheese which is like a flying saucer with steaks down the sides. after about four days they can be safely removed from the collanders and they will keep their shape but you still turn them every day
and they will soon develop mold on the outside and as soon as they do you can needle them right through.

For needling I cut the ends off of knitting needles about six inches long
and superglued these an inch apart in a small 4" piece of 1x1 with a handle like a fork and I use this for piercing the cheeses as you can do four holes at a time.

I have half a dozen of these collanders and even for about �12 it works out a lot cheaper than moulds and draining mats.



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Postby jenny_haddow » Tue Apr 18, 2006 8:50 am

Hi Rik,

Yes indeed, my cheeses have turned glorious shades of blue and seem to be forming a Stilton-like crust. On my cheese log I've earmarked the first week in May to pierce them, but given their current development I wonder if I should do it now? Thanks for the collander tip, that's a good idea, what do you use as a follower?

I made some more Neuchatel for this weekend, and made up four portions flavoured thus:- chives, black pepper and garlic, lemon pepper, and chilli flakes with cumin. This last one was quite something. We had a gathering of the clan this weekend - my other half is one of eight kids, who all have families so you can imagine the throng. Anyway, the soft cheese disappeared, I mounted machine gun posts around the stilton, sausages all gone, and thank goodeness my bacon wasn't ready or I wouldn't have got a taste!

All great fun, I love feeding the five thousand.

Cheers

Jen
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Postby Rik vonTrense » Tue Apr 18, 2006 9:19 am

Hi Jen......glad to hear your cheese is blooming,,,if you have a nice colouring on the outside you can needle at any time you feel like it.....all you want to do is to allow the air in and the blue spoors into the centre of the cheese.

In different localities stiltons behave differently and I am fortunate with my environment. They should be ready from six weeks but the longer you keep them the better the flavour up to 16 weeks.

As far as followers with the collander shape you do not need them as they will drain themselves.

After draining off the whey when you have cut the curds spread the cut curds on a large tray and sprinkle your salt on them then place them in the collander to drain as the salt leeches out a certain amount of whey if you turn into another collander every couple of hours trhey will soon take on the rounded shape top and bottom.

When draining the whey by the other method then the initial drain off is done by tipping the curds into a cheesecloth lined collander and then hanging this to drip for a while then you tie in a "Stilton bundle" that is taking three corners of the cheesecloth and winding the fourth around these to bind them together. The stilton bundle is then placed between two cutting boards with a sutable weight on top to remove any surplus whey.

The curd block is then crumbled into the mould being mixed with the salt as you go....then you have to put on a follower and a weight to expell any surplus whey.

But the two collander method does give a softer sheese but it is all a matter of trial; and error until you find that which suits you best......and then stick to that method.


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Postby welsh wizard » Tue Apr 18, 2006 12:58 pm

Hi RvT

I am about to embark on your Stilton recipe which via the correspondence between you and Jenny looks very interesting indeed and i am sure will taste so good it will all be gone in a flash and I will be left wishing I made some more from the start. Anyhow I had a read through the varous postings (at speed unfortunatly) and noted you used a 4" drain pipe in the past. Would this give you a more of a cheese shape (truckle?) to the finished product or is it not viable for such a newbie such as myself?

If I can get the bits in this part of the world I am going to start on Saturday - Cheers and well done for the info it all looks spot on.

WW
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Postby jenny_haddow » Tue Apr 18, 2006 2:54 pm

I've just set off a new stilton using the collander method, and pierced my previous two successfully. I've got another on the go that I moulded in a large, family sized tin which contained fruit cocktail (I searched Morrisons for the largest tin I could find). This has worked really well, the size is spot on for the gallon recipe, its a perfect cylinder and the two ends wrapped in clingfilm make a perfect follower.

Wohoki, I've got four cheeses on the go at the moment, apart from the ingredients, I've not had to buy any thing else apart from a big tin of fruit. I've cut plastic bottles to size to get cylinders and used various odds and ends to make the cheese mats. I wove some bamboo skewers to make one of the mats, four skewers x four skewers!

When I start teaching at the end of the month, I might treat myself to some pukka gear, but I must say the cheese looks and smells divine even with my Heath Robinson efforts. The recipe and advice from Rik works a treat.

Cheers
Jen
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Postby Rik vonTrense » Tue Apr 18, 2006 4:08 pm

Hi WW & Jen......

First off yes I did use 4" drain pipe and black at that....unfortunately not food grade poly but it didn't seem to matter.......

As long as your mould is open both ends and allows the cheese to slide from one end to the other when inverted then it's okay.

When making a truckle make sure that you extract as much whey as possible because it will go pot bellied like a raised pie if you don't....for some reason I have had them go like an elephants foot........but once the crust is through the cheese inside is just as good..

Some people eat the crust but I never have.

It is worth buying a small piece of roquefort cheese just to get the genuine culture you can keep it if you portion it up and freeze it. If you want to buy cultures before Franco stocks them from Ascott then get the MA400 and get the culture that goes straight into the milk it does not need incubating before addding to the milk. You need very little of these cultures and they can be kept sealed in the freezer.....most times it is just a few grains on the tip of a teaspoon....but read the instructions first.

You can use calcuium chloride to improve the milk it makes it stronger so you get more curds and you can also add a pint of cream for a creamier cheese.

Be warned if you buy Vegeren always check the date on the bottom of the box as I frequently find them out of date.

Well done Jen you have the makings of a proper cheesehead.

If you get a culture called penicillium candidum this is the culture that makes the edible crust on Brie and Camembert and a lot of other cheeses
if you want to get into the French district cheeses which are all easy to make once you have mastered the making of the curds and cheddaring.

But be warned....like bread making....there is a lot of conflicting advice given on cheese making what some say are taboo others say is a must.

One word of warning ....do not handle your fresh cheeses with your bare hands otherwise you will tend to get black mucor mold but this can be removed with a vinegar rag dipped in white vinegar in fact that removes any unwanted pathogens on your cheese.

I will have you all making limburgers before long...........


.

Happy cheesing
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Postby jenny_haddow » Tue Apr 18, 2006 5:41 pm

Sorry WW and Wohoki, I got my w's mixed up.

Limburger would be interesting. My dad was once requested to go home early from work because he bought a piece in his lunch hour which filled the workplace with some ripe odours which his co-worker took exception too. He was quite happy to comply and remove it from the premises!

I've been using disposable gloves to turn my cheeses, once the crust is formed do I need to continue glove up?

Cheers

Jen
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Postby Rik vonTrense » Tue Apr 18, 2006 6:43 pm

Once it has a crust this is the cheeses own protection so no need for gloves but handle with care.

I purposely omitted the operation of buttering because I think with a newbie cheeser they need to get the blue into the cheese as quickly as possible so I omitted to tell you to fill the cracks in the cheese after it comes out of the mould.

Commercial makers save some of the curd from the original make and keep it in the fridge......when the cheese is struck from the mould and ready to go into the maturing cave it is "Buttered"........taking a stainless steel butter knife the spare curds are spread like butter on the outside of the cheese so that all the cracks are filled and the cheese looks nice and smooth.

It is only a dressing and not absolutely necessary unless you are going to sell the cheese then it makes the crust slightly thinner.

Needless to say it is not done on a round collander cheese.


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Postby Rik vonTrense » Tue Apr 18, 2006 7:02 pm

Another item that should be addressed is ECOLI.

Don't be frightened of the word as ecoli is everywhere it is only when we encourage the growth of the little beggars that they become dangerous.

So the normal wash for sterilising all of your equipment is one part domestic bleach to forty parts water...so a dessertspoon in a pint of water is sufficient and all equipment must be washed with this or sprayed with it and allowed to dry.....do not rinse it off because there is ecoli in our tap water.


.When Franco starts his website I will deal with ecoli in depth and especially the strain 0157. but it does get very technical.
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