This cheese is a simple adaptation of a soft cheese, you may use cow milk rather than goat’s milk for it.
The texture and open structure of the cheese allow the mold to have air to replicate. Putting holes in blue cheese also encourages the molding process. The tracks provide a route for the mold to follow as it replicates. The open structure of the cheese comes from the fact that it is not heavily pressed; therefore, a good bit of space remains between the curds. The holes are made with skewers that provide air and also a track for the mold to follow.
Small crottin or open-bottom molds
- 1 gallon pasteurized goat’s milk
- ¼ teaspoon Mesophilic DVI MA culture
- 1/8 teaspoon Penicillum roqueforti
- ¼ teaspoon liquid rennet diluted in ¼ cup nonchlorinated water
- 1 tablespoon noniodized salt
- Pour the milk into a pot, warm it to 76°F (24.4°C), and then remove from heat. Sprinkle the culture and the Penicillum roqueforti over the top of the milk and gently stir, making sure the culture is dissolved and well integrated into the milk. Allow this mixture to sit for about 45 minutes, so the culture has time to develop.
- Next add the rennet solution, stirring gently to distribute it throughout the milk. Let the mixture rest, covered with a cloth for 20 to 30 minutes, until a clean break is achieved.
- Once the clean break stage has been achieved, cut the curd into ½-inch (13-mm) pieces. Let the curds rest for 10 minutes.
- Work the salt into the curds.
- A variety of mold shapes may be used. A small crottin mold will work, as will the open-bottom mold used for Camembert. The cheese will turn out differently, depending upon your choice of molds. It is interesting to make the same cheese and place it in different mold formats to see how the shape and size of the cheese affects the result.
- Once you have decided upon the mold size, gently ladle the curds into the molds. Not all the curds will fit into the molds. (Do not drain the curds in a colander, as other recipes have recommended.) After letting the molds drain for 2 hours, go back and refill them to the top with the remaining curds, and allow them to drain.
- In 4 hours, flip the cheese in the molds, so the top is on the bottom. Flip it again 2 hours later, then allow it to drain overnight.
- The next morning, remove the cheese from the molds and let air dry. Place the cheese on a mat and let it sit at room temperature for 2 days, turning it throughout this time.
- Now things get interesting. Using a skewer, poke holes in the top of the cheese. For a small crottin mold, make 15 holes; for a larger format, make 30 to 40 holes. Place this cheese in your plastic box with a piece of cheese mat in the bottom. Keep the cheese up and out of any way that continues to drain.
- Put the cheese in a cool place—50 to 55°F (10 to 12.7°C).
- Check on the cheese every other day. This cheese is tricky; we do not want it to dry out, but we don’t want to encourage any mold other than the blue to procreate. The covered box will help to keep moisture. However, if it appears the cheese is becoming dry, then add a slight amount of water to the bottom of the box and then make sure to place the cheese on the mat above the water. Making blue cheese is difficult, so it will take time to learn its peculiarities and specific requirements. It will be worth the effort.
- After the first week, turn the cheese once a week. Let it age for 8 weeks.