I have taken a little hiatus from cheesemaking, just because I have been busy with other things! I like to make cheese a lot in the winter, just because I have more time. During the spring and summer, the garden keeps me pretty busy! But, I still try to keep my cheese quota up .. I like to keep a certain “stock” of cheese that is aging that we can enjoy!
This was my first time making blue cheese – it really was a lot of fun! Here we go!
Blue Cheese – Stilton Style
Recipe from the book Home Cheesemaking by Ricki Carroll
2 gallons whole milk
2 cups cream
1 packet direct set mesophilic starter
1/4 tsp liquid rennet, dissolved in 1/4 cup distilled water
2 tbsp cheese salt
In a large pot, over a double boiler, pour in both gallons of milk, as well as the cream. Heat to 86 degrees F.
Turn off the heat, and add in the mold. Yes, it really is blue!
Add in the starter as well, and mix together. Let this sit for 30 minutes.
After 30 minutes, add in the rennet, diluted in water. Stir well for about 1 minute to make sure this is mixed in the milk. Cover and let this sit for 1 1/2 hours.
Now the fun begins! Transfer all the curds to a cheesecloth lined colander.
I put a colander over a large bowl, and lined the colander with cheesecloth. It filled the colander up all the way! But that is good, because lots of curds = lots of cheese!
Let the curds drain for 30 minutes. At this point, the curds had drained enough I could tie up the cheesecloth to let it drain some more. You can tie it to whatever you have handy, I let mine hang from the water faucet.
You want to let this drain enough so the curds aren’t so wet, and slightly firm. I actually let mine drain a few hours.
As you can see, there was a lot of whey that drained off!
These are the curds after draining. You can see the volume has been reduced, and it is kind of chunky.
Blue cheese is not pressed in a cheese press – it is just pressed with a little extra weight, which is what scared me about making this cheese! How can I know it will stay together and not just crumble??? I have 2 cheese mats (the wooden mat in the above picture), so I sandwiched the cheese (inside the cheesecloth) with the wooden cheese mats.
I added a cutting board on top, and an 8 pound weight.
Leave this to work its magic overnight, or 8-10 hours.
After this time, remove the cheese from the cheesecloth, and empty into a bowl. Add the salt, break into pieces, and mix to combine the salt.
Sterilize the cheese mold and cheese mats in boiling water. I just use a large pot. You want the equipment you are going to use to be as clean as possible!
Now, the cheese will be placed in the mold. Line the mold with cheesecloth, and spoon in the cheese. Place a cheese mat on the surface you will be using to press the cheese (I use a sink). Place the mold on the cheese mat, and another cheese mat on top. Basically, you are making a cheese mat sandwich with the mold in the middle.
Every 15 minutes, you need to flip the cheese, so the mat that is on the bottom is now on top. Basically, you are pressing the cheese with just the weight of the cheese. I just flipped it whenever I thought of it throughout the day. The book says you only need to do this for 2 hours.
Let it sit overnight, and the next day, remove it from the mold, and remove the cheesecloth.
It was really crumbly, but I kind of expected this because the cheese really just pressed under its own weight – no additional weight was used. So, I actually put it in the cheese press under about 30 pounds of pressure for the course of the day. But let me tell you, I tasted one of those crumbles, and it really did taste like blue cheese!! So tasty!
The cheese is supposed to age for 4 months at 50-55 degrees F and 90% humidity. Right now, we are about 2 months in. I check on it every week or so, and flip it. Since this is not a waxed cheese, if I see any mold or slimy stuff, I just wipe it off with a towel soaked in vinegar.
So there you go! Blue cheese! Who wants to try it with me??