To start off, I partially skim the cream off the cream from my milk to get 8 gallons of partially skimmed milk.
Next, after sanitizing my cheese vat, the thermometer, and stirring ladle, I pour all 8 gallons of milk into the vat and set it to medium-high heat on my largest burner. Until the milk is heated to 92 degrees Fahrenheit, I stir the milk every couple of minutes while checking the temperature.
When the milk gets to 92 degrees. Turn off the heat and sprinkle 1 teaspoon of thermophilic culture AND 1/2 teaspoon of propionic bacteria powder over the top of the milk. I get my cultures, rennet, and cheese making supplies from www.thecheesemaker.com and have found his prices to be spot on competitive. He also has great turn around on products and wonderful customer service.
After the culture has moistened for a minute or two, I use the ladle to draw down the culture with up and down motions about 20 times to make sure it is fully incorporated into the milk.
For this recipe, I let the culture sit in the milk for 45 minutes. Then stir the milk again and add in a 1/2 cup of water that has been mixed with 1 1/2 teaspoons of rennet. I use a vegetarian rennet liquid because it works well for me every time. Make sure to stir the rennet into the cultured milk really well, just like the culture had been stirred in, with about 20 up and down strokes, otherwise the cheese will not set properly.
Now cover and let the pot sit for 40 minutes maintaining the 92 degree temperature. Just a note on maintaining temperature. If you are making a small batch of cheese you will not be able to just turn off the heat and expect your cheese to maintain the same temperature unless your room is 90 degrees also. But if you make a large batch with 8 gallons, it takes a long time for that must heat to disburse. I have found that making larger batches is just easier for me since I have so much milk on hand and temperature maintenance is not a problem.
|Yes, it is a HUGE pot|
Let the curds then settle for 5 minutes. Then proceed to scoop out about 30% of the whey (just until you can see the top of the settled curds).
Replace about 2/3 of the amount you took of of whey with 140 degree Fahrenheit water to make the entire cheese pot reach a temperature of 100 degrees Fahrenheit.
Next, the heat goes on at medium and the curds are slowly heated while being stirred until they reach 108 degrees Fahrenheit.
Now, with very clean hands, I scoop the curds out of the whey and put them into a stainer that is lined with a natural cheese cloth.
Now the cheese, in the mold, sits on my counter under medium pressure for 12 to 18 hours - the next morning is close enough for me.
In the morning I mix 1 cup of pickling salt with about 2 inches of cold water in a plastic container (see below). And place the unwrapped cheese into the salt water brine. Just a quick note, I cut my cheese into 2 pieces at this point because when I long term store my cheese for aging I vacuum seal them and the full cheese is too big for the sealing bags I use. If you want a full round you do not have to cut your cheese in half like I do.
The cheese should sit in the brine for a total of 12 hours - 6 hours on each side. Then, after being in the brine all day, take the cheese out, place it on a sanitized mat and put in the refrigerator for a few days to dry. Then flip and dry for a few more days.
Your cheese, when completely dried, will be ready to eat or store.