Moos-Letter July, 2014

Moos-Letter July, 2014

Cheese Making Recipe of the Month

Port Salut

This is one of many fabulous French cheeses which were originally created by Trappist monks in the 19th century.

It is a semi-soft, washed rind cheese with an aging time of only 3-6 weeks.

In his detailed recipe, Jim describes the 3 main factors which define Port Salut:

  1. The aging protocol includes a series of 3 light salt brine washes which produce enzymes on the surface of the cheese. These enzymes slowly migrate to the center of the cheese, giving it a distinctive flavor and aroma.
  2. The high moisture of the cheese body allows the enzymes to move through it as it ages.
  3. The humidity is kept very high during the aging process (92-98%) to keep the surface from drying out.

Many wonderful cheeses originated from the Trappist monks of France, and we think this is one of their greatest achievements!

Cheese Making Questions & Answers

Waxing Part of the Cheese

Q. When I make a large cheese, I would like to cut and wax each individual piece prior to aging. What will this do to the cheese?

A. Many folks would like to cut the wheel of cheese before waxing and aging.

Unfortunately, this is not a great plan because the cheese needs the larger mass to age well. During aging, the rind (natural or waxed) serves as the "Gore-Tex" for the cheese. It controls the amount of moisture and process gases leaving, and the amount of oxygen coming in.

If the cheese mass is too small, the surface area is larger than the cheese volume inside, thus making the process of aging fast yet incomplete, with too much moisture loss.

We suggest making the largest cheese possible for aging. When it has ripened, cut it into portions and re-wax each section.

In the Brine Too Long

Q. Is it possible to draw salt out of a cheese that has been over brined? I made a 5lb. Gouda yesterday and meant to take it out of the brine before I went to bed. I forgot and it has been brined for almost 20 hours. Is there anything I can do to save this cheese from being too salty

A. Most of the salt is still within the outer area and a soak in cool water with a bit of calcium chloride added to avoid softening of the rind will pull some of the excess salt out. It will not get rid of all of it, but it is worth a try.

Regarding Camembert

Q. I currently have four rounds of Camembert aging. I assume they will all mature at roughly the same time, but I can only eat one round at a time. How do I best preserve the rest for eating later - it may be a week, a month or more?

A. Camembert is a cheese with a narrow window of 'ripeness.' Once the ripening time approaches, wrap your cheeses and move them into a cooler space (42F) to keep longer.

Holding them for a month would be a stretch, but you can start trying them at earlier stages (or share the extras with your friends.) The next time you make it, you could cut the recipe in half.

Q. How can I tell if my Camembert has ripened or is approaching ripeness? Will the surface feel softer to the touch?

A. A good test of ripeness is to bring your thumb and first finger together and press on the fleshy part of your cheese. If ready, it will have the softness of a ripe brie. Ripening will begin at the outer edge and work towards the center over a period of 3 to 6 weeks.

Q. Can I make Camembert in the small tomme mold (M20)or do I need the Camembert mold (M7)? How many gallons does the M7 hold?

A. The tomme mold will not hold the curd mass for a Camembert. Also, the open bottom of the Camembert mold is important for the turning aspect. It usually takes 2-3 M7 Camembert molds for 1 gallon of milk depending on the milk.

Have a cheese making question, we're here for you:

Meet a Fellow Cheese Maker

Jerrilee LaMar
Poseyville, Indiana

Jerrilee was one of our 35th Anniversary Essay Contest entrants in 2013. In her essay, she wrote about how she and her husband, Scott, changed their fast-paced lifestyle to get back-to-basics (a story we are hearing more and more often from folks).

Now, they have a subsistence farm in southwest Indiana where they are raising 25 chickens, 9 goats, 6 hives of bees, 4 ducks, a pig, a turkey and a goose. They also make cheese (of course!).

Jerrilee works full time as a nursing professor at the University of Evanston. Fortunately, she has summers off to enjoy the good life on their farm.

Anna Ford
Longmont, Colorado

Last summer, Anna (10) and her family moved to a house down the street from Kate Johnson's Briar Gate Farm. Anna and her mother ended up taking cheese making classes with Kate, who is starting a school for cheese making in Boulder, Colorado.

Anna joined Kate's 4-H club and Kate arranged for Anna to do an apprenticeship with one of her goats (Galaxy, a Mini-Nubian).

Galaxy has taught Anna all about the care and feeding of a goat - how to groom her and milk her and trim her hooves. She is even letting Anna take her to the Boulder County Fair this year!

News From Fellow Cheese Makers

Finnish Squeaky Cheese

Recently, Susan Raisanen from Scottsdale, Arizona sent us the link to her video about making a very popular Finnish cheese, known by many names including Juusta, Juustalopeia, Leipajuusto (Bread Cheese), and Coffee Cheese.

She went to great lengths, as she explains on her website to learn how to make this cheese, which her mother had made on their dairy farm in Minnesota when she was growing up.

Now, we have Susan's video to share with you. This is Susan's list of what you will need to make it:


  • 2 gallons skim milk or raw milk (Whole pasteurized milk will not work; whole raw milk will work great.)
  • 1 pint of whipping cream (Use the cream only if you use skim milk. If you use raw milk, you don’t need the cream.)
  • 1/2 c sugar
  • 1 t salt
  • 1/2 vegetable rennet tablet

You will also need:

  • 2 pans, 9 or 10 inch round is preferable, but 9 x 13 works well, too.
  • A long stirring spoon (or ladle)
  • A 2-gallon bucket with a lid
  • Meat thermometer (or dairy thermometer)
  • Long knife that will reach the depth of the 2-gallon bucket (or curd knife)
  • Tablespoon
  • Baster

Please send your cheese making news & photos to:

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Moos-Letter June, 2014
Moos-Letter August, 2014


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