Queso Rexo

This is a recipe that we learned at the Culture Workshop given by Rex Infanger on March 26, 2012. It’s something that he developed as a way of demonstrating cheesemaking techniques in less than an hour. The result is a tasty Queso Fresco type of cheese with a real cultured flavor given the addition of a cultured dairy product to provide instant acidity.

Here is a PDF version of the recipe.

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Makes about 1 pound cheese in about 55 minutes.

1 gallon milk (whole or skim or anything in between)
1 quart cultured buttermilk (mesophilic) OR active yogurt (thermophilic)
0.5 ml double-strength rennet OR 1.0 ml single strength rennet
2.5% salt by weight of the milled curd

Heat milk to 95 degrees F.

Add rennet. When set firm (which shouldn’t take more than 3 to 5 minutes) immediately cut into 1/2 inch cubes.

Stir curds (VERY gently at first) while you raise the heat to 116 degrees F. Once at 116 degrees stir for 15 minutes.

Drain curds into cheesecloth and press with 5 pounds (while keeping the curds warm) for 15 minutes.

Mill curds into small pieces, weigh them, measure out the 2.5% salt (around 0.5 oz or 15 grams), mix, then pack back into the cheesecloth and press with 5 pounds of pressure again for at least 15 minutes before slicing to taste. If you have the time, allow to remain pressing for a few hours before unmolding.

The cheese is ready to eat immediately.

Christmas Cove Cottage Cheese

Eric Rector (Monroe Cheese Studio) and Jamien Shields (Turner Farm Creamery) have collaborated on this simple and straight-forward recipe for making a cottage cheese, just as might have been made every day by settlers on the coast.

Christmas Cove Cottage Cheese

For 1 gallon of fresh milk: 

Add 1/8 tsp MM series freeze-dried culture, or an equivalent mesophilic culture at 70 deg F, then let it “wake up” for 30 minutes.

Stir in 1/8 tsp Calcium Chloride (CaCl) solution for a firm curd, then heat milk to 86 deg F while stirring.

Add 1/2 drop rennet (double-strength, diluted in water) just to incorporate, then settle the milk, cover the pot, and let sit at room temp (72 deg F) for at least 4 hours.

Cut into 3/4″ cubes taking care not to damage the curd.

Raise the temp while stirring, gently at first, to 113 deg F over about 30 minutes.

Drain curds; then wash the warm curds with very cold water to cool them completely, then drain the curds again, as much as possible.

Stir 7 grams of salt (1/4 oz.) into the curds. If you wish to add add any spices, herbs, or flavorings, they can go in now, just before packing.

Pack into tub/containers; the curds will continue to weep whey resulting in a creamy mix to help keep the curds semi-independent. If you set aside the whey from the first draining in the pot, you could skim the whey cream that rises to the top overnight and add that to the packed curds for a creamier flavor.

Yield: about three pint containers (40 oz).

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Holiday Tomme is Coming Up

***MAKE DATE: On or Around Labor Day Weekend***

Last year’s Holiday Tomme event was so successful, this year we’re asking all the Guild members to make a Tomme based on the SAME RECIPE, and then to bring them to the Maine Cheese Guild Christmas party (December 13th at Hahn’s End) to sample them, and the best of them made by licensed cheese makers will be auctioned off as a fundraiser for the Guild.

The differences will be found in the milks (we had cows, goats, sheep, and mixed milks last year), in the hand of the cheesemaker (cutting, stirring, and draining the curd), and in the aging environments (last year many cheeses were aged in large sealable plastic tubs).

The make date is coming up: Labor Day Weekend. On or around the weekend of September 4th, make a 4 lb. (give or take) Tomme using the recipe below using whatever milk you have available. Age them as you would normally age a cheese like this (or discover the joy of aging cheeses by experimenting with this cheese. On December 13th bring them to Phippsburg to sample, and then sell.

All cheese makers should use Peter Dixon’s “Tomme Style Cheese” recipe that is posted on-line here:

http://www.dairyfoodsconsulting.com/recipes_Tomme.shtml