Cheesemaking: How To Make Crescenza

When making this particular cheese, there is a trick to it. The trick is to balance the acid development with the correct moisture level in the cheese to ensure it will ripen properly. It is your choice whether you want to make it drier for a firm texture and longer aging or very moist to make it have a soft texture.



What You Need

1 Gallon of Pasteurized Milk
2 oz Fresh Yogurt
.75 ml (just over 1/8 tsp) Single Strength Liquid Rennet
.75 oz Cheese Salt
Calcium Chloride (for pasteurized milk)

What To Do

1. Like always, we begin by heating the milk. Heat it to 100F. To do this, place the milk in a pan on the stove and heat the milk slowly, being sure to stir it consistently as it heats.

Once the temperature is at 100F, add the calcium chloride.

2. The next step, which is unusual for most cheese, we add the salt. The amount of salt is also a lot more than added to usual cheese, it ends up being around 2.5-3% of the final cheese weight. However, some of the salt will run off when the whey is draining so the final cheese will end up retaining the normal amount of salt.

Make sure the cheese is well mixed into to the milk before you add the culture.

The reason we add the salt before we add the culture is that the salt is somewhat sensitive and will work slower, making it produce lactic acid over a much longer time. Not only that, the slow acid will also slow the whey drainage which will preserve the final moisture of the cheese.

3. Now is time to add the culture. Use about 1.5% of culture volume to milk volume. So for 1 gallon, this will be around 2 oz. of yogurt which is made from Y1 yogurt culture. If you plan to store the finished cheese for long, you can also add 1/64 tsp. of C7 Geotrichum Candidum.

Let the milk sit for around 30 minutes so the bacteria can grow to a suitable size.

4. Once the culture step is finished, add around 0.85ml of single strength liquid rennet. Be sure the rennet is diluted in about 50-60ml of cool non-chlorinated water.

Stir the rennet in well with up and down motions for around 60 seconds to make sure the rennet is distributed thoroughly throughout the milk.

Let the milk sit for around an hour while the culture works and the rennet begins to coagulate the curd. The milk will begin to thicken after around 20 minutes, but a full hour is important for good coagulation.

It is important you try and keep the correct temperature of the milk during the coagulation time. You can do this effectively by placing the container in a sink of water which is a degree or so above the target temperature.

In this hour of coagulation, you can make sure you have sanitized all the molds and draining mats.

5. Now it is time to cut the curds and release the whey. Once the curd is formed properly, it can be cut to release the whey. Begin by cutting a vertical cross hatch of about 2-3 inches in size. Do not stir the curds after the cut.

Allow the curd to rest for around 30 minutes while the surface heal slightly and some whey releases.

Make a larger cut at around 5/8-7/8 inches. You can make this cut with a combination of a knife and a spoon. This second cut will determine the moisture of the finished cheese. This cut will retain whey for a higher moisture cheese. Be sure this cut is gentle and does not disturb the first curds cut. For the final cut, we should see a large piece of curd containing a good amount of moisture. You can stir but keep it at a minimum, just enough to keep the curds separated.

When the cutting has finished, let them settle with a gentle stir every 5 minutes. This process should take 10-15 minutes.

6. You can now carefully transer the curds to molds along with the remaining whey. Keep the curds at a warm temperature of 75-78F for around 4-6 hours to encourage the whey to drain and the culture to keep converting lactose to lactic acid, meaning more whey will be released.

You can turn the form as soon as all the curds have been transferred by placing a board on top of the draining form and flip it.

Allow the form to settle for a further 60 minutes before you flip it again. Remember to keep on top of the temperature, making sure it is still warm during draining.

You can flip the cheese for a third time after another 60 minutes. The cheese will be lower in the form because they whey has drained.

Following the flipping, the cheese can now be left to rest overnight in the molds.

7. The following morning, the cheese can be removed from the molds. The cheese will be around 1.25-1.5 inches in height and the final moisture will be around 20%. The cheese will be very moist and jiggly like pudding but still have a firm structure. It can be easily sliced and doesn’t need to be salted because that was already done in the behinning.

All that is left to do is place the cheese in the refrigerator.

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