We use a lot of cheese in cooking and for light meals. There is very little choice in Dunedin where Italian cheese is concerned, so I hope to keep us supplied all year round. I shall soon post some information on the background and various uses of Italian cheeses
The month of May has been relatively productive with five kilograms of hard cheese (Parmigiano, Montasio, Cheddar and Romano) two kilograms of bacteria and mold ripened cheese (Brie) and about four kilograms of soft cheese (Three types of Ricotta, Mascarpone and Mozzarella) being produced. I purchase about 20 liters of Dairy and Goat milk per week and after harvesting some cream, drinking milk and making yogurt (four kilograms per week) the rest of the milk is being used for cheese making. All the whey, off coarse, is being made into Ricotta and the “whey” after the ricotta is being fed to the animals. The Dunedin climate, during the next three to four months, will be very good for cheese maturing and my outdoor cheese ripening safe on the South side of the house compliments the process very well. I therefor expect my first cheese season in New Zealand to produce good products. Because of the favorable conditions, production will increase during the following months to produce another 60 Kg of hard and Mold ripened cheese during the next four months, thereafter monthly production will decline to normal levels.
Next week we kick off with Cacciocavallo and Scamorza, then back to Provolone, Parmigiano and Romano. I am also going to try a yogurt cheese shortly. We also hope to have some sheep milk coming on line soon, which will result in Pecorino being produced.
Last week’s Romano. one of the easier cheeses to make, produced a very high yield and here is the recipe.
Heat 10 Liters of milk to 32 C and ad 150 g of Thermolytic mother starter. Mix well and ad 2 g goat Lipase. Cover and allow to ripen for 15 minutes. Now ad 7 ml rennet and stir for two minutes with an up and down motion. Top stir for another minute. Allow to set until the curds gives a clean break. Cut the curds in 6 mm cubes – I use my salmon filleting knife and a stainless steel whisk.
Slowly, over a period of one hour, raise the heat of the curd whey mixture to 48 C, while stirring constantly but gently, to prevent mat forming. Now keep the temperature at 48 C for another 40 minutes, whilst stirring gently. The curd granules should now be firm enough to hold their shape if pressed between the fingers. Drain the whey and keep for Ricotta. Line a 1 Kg cheese mold with cheesecloth and pack the curd inside. Press at 2 Kg for 20 minutes, then flip and press at 5 Kg for 40 minutes. Flip again and press at 10 Kg for 2 hours. Flip again and press for 12 hours at 20 Kg.
Remove cheese from the mold, peel the cheesecloth and submerge in a saturated salt brine solution for 12 hours. Pat dry and leave to air dry. Ripen for 4 – 12 moths. Turn daily for the first few weeks, thereafter turn weekly. If any molds form on the surface, rub lightly with a vinegar cloth. ENJOY!!