Cheesemaking: How To Make Bel Pease Cheese

Even though this cheese is usually made with pasteurized milk, you can make it with high-quality raw milk if you so wish. However, this recipe does use pasteurized milk.

If you are going to make your own version using raw milk, be sure to decrease the culture amounts by around 40% and the rennet by 20-30%, depending on the specific milk you use.

Recipe

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What You Need

2 Gallons of Milk (Not UltraPasteurized)*
1/64 tsp C7 Geotrichum Candidum
1/16 tsp MA011 Culture
1/32 tsp MM100 Culture
1/16 tsp TA061 Culture
1/4 tsp (1.25ml) Single Strength Liquid Rennet
Salt and Calcium Chloride for a Brine
Calcium Chloride (for pasteurized milk)

What To Do

1. The first step is to heat and acidify the milk. So let’s begin by heating the milk to 102F To do this, place the milk in a container and then place it in a large pot of very warm water. If you heat it on the stove, be sure to heat it slowly and stir it as it heats if you heat it on the stove.

Once you are done heating the milk, you can add the culture:

– 1/64 tsp of Geotrichum (its just a pinch)
– 1/16 tsp of MA011
– 1/32 tsp of MM100
– 1/16 tsp of TA061

It is a very low dose and a customized blend of culture.

The powder can become very cakey and sink in clumps so to prevent this, sprinkle the culture over the surface of the milk and then let it sit for a couple of minutes. This allows the powder to re-hydrate before you stir it in. After stirring, let the milk sit for a further hour so that the culture can get to work.

2. After an hour of ripening, add 1/4 tsp. single strength liquid rennet. Stir the rennet in for about a minute in a slow up and down motion. The rennet will begin to coagulate the curd, let it sit for 20 minutes. You will see the milk thicken after around 8 minutes, but it still needs the full 20 minutes for a proper curd to form.

One way to check for a good card, insert a knife into the curd at a 45-degree angle and lift slowly until the curd breaks. The edges should break cleanly and the whey that will rise should be clear, not cloudy.

Remember to utilize coagulation times by sanitizing the cheese molds and draining boards.

3. Once the curd is firm, you can begin to cut it into 3/8 inch pieces as evenly as possible, using a knife to make vertical cuts.

Stir the curds gently enough to keep them separated for about 5 minutes. This will allow for the curd surface to harden enough for a long stir. Make sure you allow the curds to settle for about another 5 minutes to allow the whey to rise.

The curds will appear to be soft and show very little structure, while the whey may be opaque.

4. You can now begin to dry out the curds. This can be done by increasing the heat slowly to 108F. You need to increase the temperature at the rate of 3-5F per 5 minutes at the beginning, making the total cooking time 25-30 minutes, but may be extended if the curds are still soft.

The curds will become firmer and the whey will appear more translucent.

You should examine the curds to make sure enough moisture has been removed. Broken curds should be firm throughout and the curds should be firm throughout and the curds should have a moderate resistance when pressed between the fingers.

The curd is ready when a handful of curds pressed together easily separate with a little pressure from the thumb. At this point, the curds can be allowed to settle under the whey.

5. The whey should first be removed to the curd surface in the vat. You can transfer the curds to a colander lined with butter muslin. Allow them to be drained for a few minutes, gently stirring the curds will make sure the whey drains off.

6. Begin the initial pressing with a moderate hand pressure.

The curd mass can be transferred to a mold which has been sanitized. The initial firm hand pressure should begin to set the initial cheese surface. The curd will still be quite warm at this point and should come together quite easily.

The curd mass should be lightly set and removed from the press after a few minutes. It is now ready to be opened, turned and re-wrapped as before.

Please note that it is important to keep the cheese warm during the pressing cycle.

7. Now is time to add 5-8lbs of pressure to consolidate the curds. Be sure that the cloth is pulled up well and smoothed around the cheese to form as smooth a surface as possible. You only need to use very light pressure here.

It is important you keep a smooth surface as possible, this will ensure the aging and surface development will have a good result.

The unwrapping, turning, and repress cycle should be repeated about 5 times within the first 30-40 minutes after molding the cheese.

The weight can be removed once a firm surface has developed, meaning the cheese can be returned to the mold.

The cheese will be ready for brining within 6-7 hours of cutting the curds.

8. You will need saturated brine for the salting process, a simple brine formula being:

– 1 gallon of water
– 2.25 lbs of salt
– 1tbs. calcium chloride
– 1 tsp. white vinegar
– Bring the brine to 50-55°F before using.

When the cheese cools enough it can be floated in the brine for 1-1.25 hours brine time per lb of cheese. If you want moister cheese, use less time. Due to the brines high density, the cheese will float in the brine. Be sure to turn the cheese at least once during the soaking.

9. Now it is time to age the cheese. You can place it into the aging room at 52-56F and 90-95% moisture. In around 5-8 days, the surface will develop a greasy surface, which is caused by yeast. When this occurs, you can use a light brine wash (3-6% strength, 1-2 tbs. salt to 1 cup cool water ) every 3-5 days for 3 weeks.

With this, a thin rind cover will develop as a dusty white surface. Once it is covered in it, wash off with 5% brine and then dry and wrap in waxed paper. Then store at 40F for another 2-3 weeks until it is ripe.

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