Nokkelost Cheese Making Recipe Instructions
A Recipe for Nokkelost
I make the cheese as a 4 Gallon batch at about 5 lbs but the following recipe is for a 2 Gallon batch. Feel free to 'up' the guideline proportionate to the milk you have. I do not recommend going smaller than 2 gallons though.
Heat, Infuse & Acidify Milk
Begin by heating the milk to 90F (32C). You do this by placing the milk in a pot or sink of very warm water. If you do this in a pot on the stove make sure you heat the milk slowly and stir it well as it heats.
Add 1/4 tsp of Calcium Chloride if the milk is pasteurized or you have been having problems with a firm curd.
Once the milk is at 90F remove 1 cup of warm milk and add 1/8 tsp of cardamom powder to it. Stir well and let rest for the infusion while the milk with culture is working.
Then the culture can be added.
To prevent the culture powder from caking and sinking in clumps sprinkle the powder over the surface of the milk and then allow about 2 minutes for the culture powder to re-hydrate before stirring it in.
The milk now needs to be kept at this target temperature until it is time to add the rennet. Hold the milk with culture quiet for the next 60 minutes to allow the culture to begin doing its work. It will be very slow initially but will soon kick into its more rapid rate of converting lactose to lactic acid.
At the end of the 60 minutes strain the cardamom infused milk through several layers of draining cloth into the main Milk pot. Bring back to temperature if needed.
Coagulate with Rennet
Now add about 1.5 ml of single strength liquid rennet.
The milk now needs to sit quiet for 45 minutes while the culture works and the rennet coagulates the curd. At about 12 minutes you should notice the milk beginning to thicken (do not stir or agitate the milk at this time).
The thermal mass of this milk should keep it warm during this period. It is ok if the temp drops a few degrees during this time.
During this time heat another pan of non-chlorinated (boiling usually removes the chlorine) to about 160F. This will be used to wash the curds in the next step. Also this is a good time to make sure the mold is sanitized as well as the draining cloth and ready with the press or weights.
Cut Curd & Release Whey
Once you have tested for a firm curd you can cut the curd. If the curd is not quite firm enough ,test again in a few minutes.
When ready to cut, carefully cut to about 3/8 in. Then allow to rest for 5 min. before stirring slowly.
Stir slowly for 15min then let settle and remove whey ... About 1/3 of the original milk volume (2.6 qts).
Wash & Cook Curds
In this step we are removing the whey to slow the acid production down (removing their supply of lactose). This will make for a sweeter cheese and be easier to stop the bacteria working. Then by slowly adding back the same amount of 160F water we will raise the curds to their scalding temperature for the final cooking.
Add the same volume of 160F water as whey removed slowly in small additions back into the milk over 15 min. while stirring until temperature of curd comes to 102F (38F). Do this slowly enough that the milk temperature increases very slowly at about 1F a minute
Finally we stir slowly for another 15-30min for dryness Check grip for final dryness. This means that each curd will show a springiness when pressed in the hand and should show an even dryness throughout when broken open. This can also be a control for a moister or drier cheese in future batches. Good notes here will help you for the next batch.
Remove Whey & Add Spices
When the curds are ready, allow them to sink to the bottom and remove the whey above them.
The curds are now ready to drain and can be transferred to a colander or drain pan lined with butter muslin. They should be allowed to drain for a few minutes and a gentle stirring will make sure that the whey drains off. Do not allow the curds to consolidate.
Next add the prepared spices. 1/2 tsp of cracked Cloves and 3/4 tsp of Caraway. This can be amended according to preference in future batches. Mix these in well.
Forming & Pressing
The curd is now ready for the form. Give the drained curds with spices a final stir to free up any clumps and quickly transfer to the mold packing them with a firm hand pressure. Their residual warmth will help them to consolidate.
So, for pressing you should begin very light and slowly increase the press weight to a moderate level:
- 12 lbs for 30 minutes
- 25 lbs for 60 minutes
- 25 lbs for 3 hours
- Remove weight and keep cool (50-54F) overnight
The rate of whey running off is simply a matter of drops and not a stream of whey being released. This is a good rate of whey removal during pressing and will slow even more as the residual free moisture is released. The form should show tears of whey weeping from the form very slowly. When this stops you can increase the weight slightly.
The cheese should be removed from the press, unwrapped, turned, rewrapped, and put back to the press at the above intervals. To assure an even consolidation. At each turn you will notice the cheese has formed a smoother surface and rests lower in the mold.
The final step above is to move to cool room 50-54F overnight post press(no weight). This will cool the cheese and allow any final fermentation to complete leaving it at a good temperature for brining next morning. The surface should be smooth and continuous with no holes or openings remaining or any creases from the cloth.
If you find that you need more press weight or time, then perhaps the final cheese curds should be made moister next time. Usually cutting too small causes a dry cheese.
You will need a saturated brine prepared for salting this cheese, find all of the details you need on brining here.
A simple brine formula is:
- 1 gallon of water
- 2.25 lbs of salt
- 1tbs calcium chloride
- 1 tsp white vinegar
- Bring the brine and cheese to 50-55°F before using.
The cheese now needs to be set in the brine for about 3 hours per lb. Your final cheese should weigh about 2.5 lbs from 2 gallons of milk so the brine time should be about 7.5 hours. The cheese will float above the brine surface so sprinkle another teaspoon or 2 of salt on the top surface of the cheese.
Flip the cheese and resalt the surface about half way through the brine period.
At the end of the brine bath, wipe the surface and allow the cheese to surface dry for a day or two before waxing. The surface will darken somewhat during this time.
You can now wax the cheese for aging. For details on waxing the details are here.
The cheese can then be placed into your aging space at 52-56F and 80-85% moisture.
After aging for three months your cheese will be ready to enjoy. Longer aging may develop more character but too long will dry it out.