Nöst II, 08 May 2021, Done 10 July 2021

 

This will be the recipe I will use, until I write another one. This is the culmination of a lot of YouTube viewing, a lot of reading an a little bit testing, as this is my third cheese. I will number the cheeses with roman numerals, hence this cheese's name, «Nöst II».

So let us begin:

This is the ingredients I used for the cheese:

5 liter og whole milk
5 ml vegan Rennet
2,5 ml Calcium chloride
1 sachet of Mesozoic bacteria culture
Water

That's it!

First I cleaned the bench and all my equipment and my hands (but forgot the cooking top's surface). That's important when you are working with food that's going to ferment. You want as little possibility of contamination as possible. The milk I use is pasteurized, so I can just use it directly, without heating it up to pasteurize first. Nice! Saves time and waiting.

 

First I found my kettle and filled it with 5 liters of whole milk, that I slowly warmed up to 30°C.

As you can see I am using an electronic oven thermometer to get the correct temperature. It works perfectly and is in line for my opinion that you should not have so much special equipment in the kitchen. You need a place to store all that equipment too and there is limited with space!

I took it of the stove, and stirred a bit to be sure that it wouldn't get any hotter. It kept the temperature just fine.

Then I added Calcium Chloride that was mixed with 1/4 cup of water. I added it slowly while stirring.
The bacteria culture was sprinkled on top and left for a minute to hydrate (you can see the culture on top of the milk if you click on it to see the bigger version). Then I gently stirred it in.
At last, the rennet was added. I also mixed that with 1/4 cup of water and added it in a nice thin stream while stirring.

Then I stirred for one minute (but not more than a minute), to mix in the rennet.

Now, the milk was left to curd.

After 40 minutes, I went back an tried it with a knife.

While I was waiting I prepared the colander and the press. 

The colander was lined with a kitchen towel, and the meat press was lined with the juice-making gas that I use as cheese cloth until the real ones comes from ebay. I also found the gas cloth I use to protect the cheese from the rings in the lining.

You know the curd is ready if you use a knife with the flat side up, and lift a bit of the «milk» up. If you get a clean break as shown on the picture (as almost always: you can click on the picture to get a big version), it's ready to be cut.

Yet again, I do not have any special tools to cut the curd. I guess they are smart, but they take space!

I use a knife, and first I cut diagonally and start with the knife as low as I can and after doing it one way, I also do it the opposite way. 

Then I cut straight down both ways.

The goal was to end up with squares about 1 1/2 cm on each side. I got close enough!

Here you can see the curd, just after cutting it.

 

The kettle was now left to settle for 5 minutes.

 

Then it was 5 minutes of stirring carefully. 

Just stir to make the wey come out. The curd pieces will be a bit smaller through that process, but they should not shrink to much.

Rest the kettle for 5 minutes.

It'll make the curd settle a bit.

After the rest, 1 liter of wey was removed.

That was replaced with 1 liter of water that was heated to 60°C. That should bring the mix up to 33°C. 

My mix looked as if it should be to hot, so I added some cold water to bring the temperature to 33°C that was the target.

 

Then I had to stir carefully for 10 minutes.

This removes acidity and makes the cheese milder. We will do this one more time later.

Then of cause, yet another 10 minutes with rest and settling.

While the curd mix was resting, I warmed up a kettle of water to 41°C.

Why 41°? Well mesozoic bacteria cultures do not like it to warm, so I want to keep it under 42°C. however, I want the mix to be about 35 - 38° for it's last rest, so therfore!

After the rest the curd had settled a bit to the bottom of the kettle.

I removed the wey down to the level of the top of the curd.

When the water had been added the temperature is a steady 37°C, and as I've read on the net, that's perfectly OK.

 

Then it was back to stirring again. This time for 20 minutes. This is the boring part of the cheese making - thank for YouTube and smart phones!

Then it's the last rest. 

This one is 10 minutes. The curd will sink to the bottom and things will settle down a bit.

The wey is not going to be used this time, so I just put the colander with the kitchen towel lining in the sink.

I used the ladle to ladle the wey and curd over. All of it went straight in the big sieve.

The colander got a 15 minutes break in the sink, so as much wey as possible would run down the drain.

 

Then I started filling the press. 

The curd was firmer and hung together like a cake, more or less. This was looking good!

Had I been to clever? Five liter of milk was right the last time?

The press looked full, but about one third of the curd hadn't been added yet....

As you can see, I got it all in somehow.

 

This little cloth on the middle is to prevent the rings to make big rings in my cheese. It's a temporary solution.

 

At last I folded the edges over, watching that there was not any rings on top of any other.

I am so looking forward till I have real cheese cloths! They are on the way!

The lid was added to the press, and I pressed it as hard as I could to make a firmer cheese. 

Some wey came out but that is what it was supposed to do!

I set the press into a jig I've made to keep the press on it's side, so wey can run out. There is no hole in the bottom or the lid of this press, so the only place wey can run out, is where the lidd meets the base.

So I made this jig to make things easier for me.

I't was in the press 10 hours. Even if I set it to 12 hours, I'd more or less set my mind on 10 hours, since I felt it gave a little bit moister cheese. I was trying to get it as moist as possible, but still being hard enough to be used with a normal Norwegian cheese slizer.

I unwrapped the cheese and I'm quite satisfied with how it turned out.

From the top, you can se the rings has been there, but it's still quite a nice surface....

...and the bottom was quite good. Of cause, you can see where the seam has gone, but all in all a nicely shaped cheese.

 

I didn't want any of the cheese to be exposed above the brine, so I used a glass coaster as a distance piece to, with the help of the lid, press the cheese below brine surface. That way I didn't have to turn it half way through.

That's a good way too, but I'm to lazy for that!|

I left it on the countertop in the kitchen. For 12 hours, since I want the saltiness to give the cheese taste, and mostly, what I've read on the net, confirms that saturated brine for 12 hours is OK for a cheese on about 700 - 900 g.

So here I will not know if I'm correct for two whole months, when it has aged and I can taste it.

Look how nice it looks!

This is the top of the cheese, and after rinsing it quickly under the faucet, I put it on this metal grate to let it dry...

...the back side is also looking good, if you ask me.

Now it laid there until it was dry to the touch all over.

The time has come to vacuum pack the cheese before it gets hidden in my secret cellar storage for two months

I measure on the vacuum roll, 7 cm longer then the cheese and cut the roll there.

The bag gets marked with Name of cheese - Cheese number (of that type of cheese) and the date is is supposed to be done aging.

 

The end of the bag is put into the vacuum machine.

It's important that it lays straight, so 7 cm extra is needed - It was perfect in length.

 

In the vacuum machine where it sucks out the air before it seals itself with heat.

 

Done!

Now the cheese is vacuumed and ready to go down in my basement where I have a fridge set to 7° (the fridge is broken and can just be used at that temperature).

I have calculated/guesstimated that at 7° it will take two months, since at 9-11° it is to take 6 weeks. Two weeks extra seems fine to me.

I wasn't done. you know!

I also had to brand the back side. I do the front before vacuuming since the front is a bit more wobbly. On the back it's easy to write the text after vacuuming.

That the vacuum machine is also on it's back is just a happy coincidence. I was making it ready to get into it's cupboard again, when I noticed I hadn't branded the back of the cheese. 

Have a cheesy day!