My Cheese Press was made from a couple of pieces of spare wood, plus I purchased one threaded rod, a couple of wing nuts and washers and two compression springs – all for less than $30. After manufacture, I calibrated the press with the wife’s bathroom scale and it can press from 0.5 – 10 Kg of cheese at 0 to 50 Kg of pressure. Also I stole a baking tray to serve as dripping tray (I hope the wife does not read this, as I had to drill a hole in the tray)
If you have not tasted Fricco before, it is definitely worth the while to spend the time and make Montasio for your next Fricco experience
Today I made some Montasio Cheese, but broke all the rules. Traditionally it is made from cow milk (Rule 1 – I used goat milk). Also the milk is normally collected from two milkings, i.e. morning and evening (Rule 2 – I got milk from my goat farm from a single milking). In Gorizia a region of Friuli Venezia Giulia in Italy milk is collected from three different bovine races i.e. Friesian, Swiss Brown and Pezzata Rossa (Rule 3 – Unfortunately I could get only Saanen goat milk). So I am sure I would not get a DOP trademark certification for my cheese, but still am of the opinion that it would not be too bad. Montasio is a “cooked” cow milk cheese so we need to process it at 41 degrees C. This is why we use two different starter cultures – Mesophillic as well as Thermophillic starter.
Montasio in New Zealand is best made from Jersey milk and I shall be making another batch with Jersey milk next week – unfortunately I shall have to wait for months to make the comparison between the two cheeses. Montasio is normally aged three different ways to give three different types of cheeses :
Fresh – This is consumed after 60 – 90 days ripening
Mature – Consumed as a table cheese after 5 to 10 months of ageing
Aged – Used as a grating cheese if aged for periods in excess of ten months
Now for the recipe:
10 Liters of fresh unpasteurised milk
100 g Thermophillic Starter (I propagate my own cultures)
50 g Mesophillic Srtarter
5 ml Liquid Calf or Goat Rennet
1 Kg Plain Salt (Not iodised)
5 Liters of fresh water (Non chlorinated)
Heat the milk in a double cooker to 32 C and ad both the Starters. Stir well and cover and leave to ripen for 60 minutes, while keeping the milk at 32 C
Ad the Rennet and stir gently with a up and down motion for two minutes. Cover and keep at 32 C allowing the curds to to set. This may take up to 30 minutes for the curds give a clean break
Cut the curds in approximately 6 mm cubes
Heat the curds to 39 C, raising the temperature with maximum 1 C every five minutes, then hold at 39 C for 60 minutes. During this process stir the curd gently all the time to prevent it from matting.
Drain the curd and ad hot water to the curd to get the curd and water mixture to 44 C and hold at 44 C for ten minutes, while stirring gently all the time
Drain the curds and place in a cheesecloth lined mold immediately.
Press at 2 Kg for 15 minutes – remove the cheese and peel away the cheesecloth – Turn over the cheese and dress with cheesecloth and press at 2 Kg for 30 minutes. Remove the cheese and peel away the cheesecloth – Turn over the cheese and dress with cheesecloth and press at 5 Kg for 12 hours. Remove the cheese and peel away the cheesecloth – Turn over the cheese and dress with cheesecloth and press at 5 Kg for 12 hours.
Make a saturated salt solution, in a non-corrosive container, with the salt and water. Now soak the cheese in the solution for 4 hours, at room temperature, per Kg of cheese. Remove and pat dry
Store cheese at 12 – 15 C until ready to use. Turn over cheese oat least once every week.