3/14/2013

Waimea Blue Fog Cheese for Daring Cooks

Sawsan from chef in disguise was our March 2013 Daring Cooks hostess! Sawsan challenges us to make our own homemade cheeses! She gave us a variety of choices to make, all of them easily accomplished and delicious!

I was happy to jump onto this latest challenge, due to my long postponed goal of making pressed and formed cheese.  Having experimented with cream cheese, feta and ricotta, I purchased a form and follower (the doo hickey that fits snugly on top) for pressing cheese.  Those items have been languishing in a cupboard, so hurrah, they've been put to use!


Making my own blue cheese sounded fun, despite my granddaughter's dire warnings, mentioned in an earlier post.  So using a favorite kefir and cheese site, Dom's Kefir for instructions, I started off with a half gallon of fresh, raw goat's milk, and inoculated it for 24 hours with kefir grains rather than rennet.  For a variety of reasons.  I always have it on hand for one.  You can visit his site for more information than you need or want to know.  I'm calling it Waimea Blue Fog, since I bought the goats milk there in Waimea, on the cooler, North end of the Big Island, known for an occasional fog blanketing its road and green hills.


The next step of the process, after removing the kefir grains, was to put the kefir into a boiled cloth sack and strain the curds from the whey, as mentioned in that earlier post on making kefir cream cheese.  This goes for another 24 hours.


Then the cream cheese is removed from the cloth sack.   I need to find a better method of doing that when using a pillowcase.  Now we put the cream cheese into the press, lined with boiled cheesecloth, and fold the extra cheesecloth over the top, before adding the follower. 


Weight the whole thing down with something really heavy.  I used a granite mortar and pestle, and a big bowl of water.  Then it presses for 24 to 48 hours (mine went 24 hours).  This being my first attempt at pressing cheese, a bit of guesswork is involved, but from reading both Dom's and this site, it was educated guesswork.  As you notice, a half gallon of milk presses down to a very small amount.


Take some blue cheese (I used a Point Reyes Blue) and scrape off (with a sterilized knife) a half teaspoon or so of the blue mold into a tablespoon of cooled water that was boiled first.  Mix it up good, this will be your mold inoculant. 


Now pierce the unwrapped cheese at about 1" intervals with a skewer (sterilized of course) dipped into the inoculant each time.


After re-wrapping the cheese, and placing in a bamboo strainer or as I did a netted bamboo basket, the blue can expand into the cheese over a week or so.   The net should keep any possible little bugs away.  My wee baby is incubating. 

Dom recommends sticking it into a cupboard or oven to incubate, but my oven is on a pilot and rather warm.  Plus, this being Hawaii, I thought the downstairs (where it is cooler) inside a cupboard would work.  I used my digital thermometer to check out various nooks and crannies (even inside the dryer)
and put it in the coolest location.
 

However, it did not keep out some little nats, so something else had to be done, namely the refrigerator. Though, I know it will slow down the whole process. Frankhauser’s Cheese Page recommends an ideal temperature of 10C (50F), so going toward the side of safety, we’ll just take longer. 



A week later, the mold had not grown appreciably, so will continue incubating in the fridge until I am able to purchase a wine cooler or something.  It probably wasn't a good idea to cut into it, but scientifically speaking, had to check what was going on inside there.  To wit, not much.  A bit of the blue seems to have gone onto the surface however.  

 

Though it tasted fine, mild but no blue flavor.  The  Blue Cheese that wasn't.  Yet.  Check out the Daring Kitchen site for a look at all the marvelous cheeses that OTHER people made.



P. S. An update, one week after posting:  The cheese now has more of both the blue color and taste.  It is after all, meant to go for two or three months.

10 comments:

Don't Make Me Call My Flying Monkeys! said...

Even though it wasn't too blue, your cheese looks fabulous! I am going to have to try the cheese thing again. Great job!!

Sawsan@chef in disguise said...

Thank you for taking part in this month's challenge
I too would have cut into it in the name of science :) I hope it will turn into a wonderful blue cheese

Aisha said...

wooooow... love it!

Andy Drouin said...

Well done! I don't think I would have braved blue cheese, but it looks like a great success for you.

Monkeyshines in the Kitchen said...

I am so impressed that you tackled blue cheese - that's a holy grail for us, but not yet within reach. I am sure it'll mature into something fantastic with time.

The Backyard Baker said...

Great going !! Blue cheese....couldn't imagine making it myself in my dreams !!

Love the way your cheese looks.

Cheers

Gauri

Joanne said...

Aww I'm sorry it didn't quite taste like blue but kudos to you for trying!!

Claudia said...

Thank you all, the cheese has gained more of the blue taste as well as color. It's just meant to go a month or more.

Debra Eliotseats said...

I have made mozzarella and ricotta but this IS truly daring!

Von said...

Making cheese has also been one of my long postponed goals.....and I don't think I'll be making it anytime too soon :D But wow, making blue cheese is pretty daring! And yours looks awesome, despite not tasting as good as you hoped ;)