Garlic & chive cheese for beginners
This sliceable, quick herby cheese is perfect for the beginner cheesemaker. It doesn’t take long to process, presses in a few hours, and goes straight in the fridge, ready to eat immediately or over the next few weeks. It is one of the cheeses in my new book, coming out in November.
PREPARATION: 1.5 hours PRESSING: 3.5 hours YIELD: 750g
● 7.5 litres fresh or farmhouse or blue top milk
● 237ml cultured buttermilk containing
● either Lactococcus lactis or Lactobacillus bulgaricus, which creates more tartness ½ tsp calcium chloride
● ½ tsp | 2.5ml calf rennet OR
● 1/8 tsp | 0.7ml microbial rennet 2 tbsp cooled, boiled water (see tips)
● 1 litre cooled, boiled water (see tips)
● 3 tsp plain salt
● ½ tsp garlic powder
● 3 tbsp chopped, fresh chives
1. Warm the milk in a bain-marie to 30°C over 10 minutes. 2. Add the buttermilk and stir for about 30 seconds to mix through. Don’t whisk or make bubbles. 3. Dilute the calcium chloride in 1 tbsp of cooled, boiled water, add to the milk and mix for 30 seconds. Dilute the rennet in 1 tbsp of cooled, boiled water, add to the milk and mix for another 30 seconds. 4. Place a sanitised lid on the pot and leave for 45 minutes, undisturbed. Maintain the heat at 30°C by adding hot water to the outer pot of the bain-marie as required. 5. Test the curd for a clean break by cutting it across the middle, right to the bottom of the pot. If it’s clean and the edges of the cut are sharp, it is ready to cut into curds. If the test cut is soft and the edges are wobbly and close up straight away, showing no lemon-coloured whey, leave it to sit an extra 5 minutes before cutting. Make sure it’s warm enough too – add hot water to the outer pot of the bain-marie if not. Cut the curd into 2cm cubes – if you can’t reach the curds near the bottom of the pot, you can cut them in the next step. 6. Heat the curds slowly to 38°C over 20 minutes – that’s just 2°C every 5 minutes so the easiest way is to add hot water to the outer pot of the bain-marie every few minutes (you may have to remove some water so you can add more hot water). Prod at the curds to keep them apart at this stage as they are still quite fragile but they will toughen up a bit as they cook. Cut any larger pieces of curd into 2cm cubes as they come to the surface. 7. Drain off the excess whey. Line a sanitised colander with sanitised cheesecloth and pour the curds into it.
8. Warm the extra litre of water to 38°C, then gently pour it over the curds, mixing it through with your other (sanitised) hand so that it washes the curds – this lowers the acidity of the curds. 9. Let the curds drain in the colander for 10 minutes. They should drain down to one mass and be a bit spongy but quite firm. 10. Tip the curds back into the empty pot and mix through the salt, garlic powder and chives using your sanitised hands or spoons. 11. Line a 1kg tomme or kadova mould with sanitised cheesecloth. Spoon the curds into the mould and fold the cloth over the top. Place the follower on top and press at 5kg for 30 minutes. 12. Remove the mould from the press. Take off the follower and use the material to gently pull the cheese up and out of the mould. Unwrap it carefully, making sure that you don’t pull any of the cheese rind off. Reline the mould with the used cheesecloth, turn the cheese over and place it back in the lined mould. Pull the cloth back over the curd and place the follower on top. Press at 10kg for 3 hours. 13. Unmould and unwrap the cheese, place in a sanitised plastic container and refrigerate. It will keep for up to a month in the fridge.