Wednesday, 21 August 2013

The Last Irish Cheese

A Cheesy Recipe

During my last few months at Gubbeen farm I attempted to understand further about making and ripening cheese by making 3 more "Gubbeen-style" cheeses.
For the first cheese, made on the 5th February 2013, I used the same techniques as I did when making the 'Christmas Cheese'.
The second cheese, made on the 13th February 2013, I varied the recipe to test the effects, by using double the amount of Starter.
For the 3rd cheese, made on the 15th February 2013 I also doubled the Starter and also "cooked" the curd up to 50 degrees celsius.

The Curing Process

I had been scared of curing cheese up until now.  Cheese is a living thing, reacting to its environment and is very temperamental, almost like a baby.  You must have a 'feel for it' when washing the rind, and check its progress up until the end.
It has been a big learning curve when it comes to the acidity of cheese.  Personally, I like to know what things mean.  When a cheese-maker says to me, "the pH of the curd needs to be x", or "if the pH isn't right at this stage then this will effect the curing", I need to know why.  I still have a lot to learn about the science of cheese and the effects of the environment on cheese, but I'm looking forward to discovering all I can.
You can see in the last photo that I'm still creating a somewhat 'Caerphilly' cheese - where the centre is holding less moisture that the nearer to the rind.  The taste is slightly acidic but overall enjoyable.
Also worth noting here is that these cheeses have great shelf life.  I brought my Irish-made cheese back to Australia, kept it in the fridge for nearly 6months and it still tasted good!

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