Gorgonzola Dolce Cheese Making Recipe
- 2 Gallons of Milk (Not Ultra Pasteurized)
- 1 Packet Buttermilk Culture
- 2.5 oz Prepared Bulgarian Yogurt
- 1/16 tsp Penicillium Roqueforti
- 1/2 tsp Liquid Single Strength Animal Rennet (1/4 tsp for raw milk)
- 1/2 tsp Calcium Chloride (for Pasteurized Milk)
- Good Thermometer
- Measuring Spoons
- Curd Knife
- Skimmer to Stir Curds
- Small Hard Cheese Mold
- Gorgonzola Dolce Info
- Q & A
Acidify & Heat Milk
Add blue mold to a small amount of milk to rehydrate about 1/2 hour before adding it to the full batch of milk. This allows it to acclimate and incorporate well.
Begin by heating the milk to 90F (32C). You do this by placing the pot of milk in a sink of very warm water. If you do this with a pot on the stove make sure you heat the milk slowly and stir it well as it heats.
Once the milk is at 90F the cultures and re-hydrated mold can be added. To prevent the powder from caking and sinking in clumps sprinkle the powder over the surface of the milk and then allow about 2 minutes for the powder to re-hydrate before stirring it in. Stir the milk well then stop stirring and allow the bacteria to work for 60 minutes while keeping at 90F (If the cream tends to rise it is OK to stir it back in briefly).
Coagulate with Rennet
Next add the single strength liquid rennet.
The milk now needs to sit quiet for 30 minutes while the culture works and the rennet coagulates the curd . Keep the developing curd at 90F during this time.
Cut & Stir Curds
Once the curd has formed well it can be cut. Begin with vertical cuts about 1" apart forming a checkerboard pattern on the surface. Then, using the spoon, break the resulting long strips by cutting crosswise in the vat but being very gentle.
When finished, stir the curds gently for 5 minutes and then allow the curds to rest for 15 minutes with only a brief gentle stir every 3-5 mines to keep them separated.
At the end of this rest, remove about 1.5-2 quarts of whey from the pot.
Again, stir the curds gently for 5 minutes and then allow the curds to rest for 15 minutes with only a brief gentle stir every 3-5 minutes to keep them separated.
This stirring and whey removal will harden the outside of the curds to keep them from matting in the mold. This provides the openings for mold development in the aging cheese. It is important to keep the curds at 90F during all of this.
During the resting period, sanitize a colander and butter muslin for the final curd draining.
The moist curds can now be transferred to the colander lined with butter muslin. They should be allowed to drain for several minutes and a gentle stirring will make sure that the whey drains off. It is essential to be gentle with these curds, since they are very soft, and not break them. You can assist the drainage by pulling up on the edges of the cloth and gently separating the curds.
Counter to what is done in consolidating curds well for other cheeses, the goal here is to keep the curds separate and allow the surfaces to harden somewhat. This will keep them separated when placed in the molds and preserve the open spaces inside the cheese for the blue to grow.
The mold should be sanitized along with 2 of the draining mats. A rigid plate or board placed underneath will also help in turning this cheese. Prepare the mold by laying down a draining mat with the mold placed on top. No cheesecloth needs to be used with this.
The curds can now be placed in the molds. They can be packed in more tightly around the edge to make a better surface for the cheese but the center should be quite loose to assure the proper openings for mold growth.
It is quite important to keep the curds warm for the next several hours while the cultures continue to produce acid. I do this by placing the draining curds in a warm draining table with pans of hot water and an insulated cover and board to keep it all warm. You can easily do this by using a large insulated cooler with warm bottles of water. The target temp is 80-90F for the next 4-6 hours.
There is no weight used on this cheese but the mold should be turned 5 minutes after it has been filled to allow the weight of the cheese to form a smooth surface. The cheese should then be turned several more times during the first hour and then at least 1 time each hour for the next 4 hours.
By the next morning the cheese should be well consolidate but you may see some rough surfaces or openings. Do not be concerned by this.
We prefer to dry salt this cheese because of the open nature of the cheese body. Normally using about 2-2.5% of the cheese weight in salt for this. For this cheese you will need 1 oz. of a medium coarse cheese salt. This will be about 4 tsp. of our cheese salt but it is better to measure by weight because different salts have different weight/volume ratios. For dry salting, use 1/4 of the salt to begin with and apply to the top surface only, then spread it evenly with your hand and pat the salt onto the sides as you go. Allow this to dissolve and soak into the cheese. I generally take the cheese out of the mold for salting and then replace it in the mold for the salt to be absorbed.
The next morning turn the cheese and apply the salt as you did previously.
Repeat this for the next 2 days as well.
The cheese is now ready for aging at 52-54F and 93-95% moisture. If the rind becomes dry, increase the moisture and if the surface becomes excessively wet, decrease moisture. Allow the cheese to age like this for 7-10 days. Then using a sanitized #2 knitting needle, pierce the cheese with holes about every 3/4 to 1 inch.
The cheese should now be ready for its final aging and will be ready for the table in about 90 days.
From Northern Italy
Gorgonzola Dolce originates in the North of Italy in the provinces of Lombardia and Peimonte. It is originally from the mountains and hills but now made in the lowlands along the Po River valley. Yes, Gorgonzola is a real place! Until early in the last century it was known as “strachinno verde”, a cheese made from the milk of cattle tired after their long spring and autumn treks to and from the Alpine pastures. This moister version is of a more recent history but is today about 80% of the market for all Gorgonzola cheese. Gorgonzola Dolce has a thin fragile rind, the paste is white to pale yellow with greenish-blue veins, the texture is quite creamy -- moister than Stilton and more buttery than Roquefort. This is all the result of a higher moisture content and larger curd size. It's blue veining is subtle and feathery, with a softer, easier flavor. It is glistening and creamy making it a very easy cheese to love. What else would you expect from a cheese named "Dolce". It is often believed that blue mold is “injected” into the cheese, but in actuality, it is the introduction of air into the cheese during the aging process that causes the blue veining to develop. Long needles are inserted into the cheeses at a specific point in the aging process, which triggers the growth of blue mold. This cheese only needs to age for 3 months as opposed to its drier version which ages for 6 months and is much stronger and pungent.
My only experience with blue cheese prior to this was a few crumbles on a salad or dressing for dipping wings. I was a little leery to eat it but oh my word. It’s delicious and creamy. Not sure if I was supposed to eat the rind or not.... I’m still alive so I guess it’s ok :) making a second batch tomorrow!
Excellent. Cracked my Gorgonzola Dolce this past Saturday, March 9th. Nasty looking on outside, and lots of mold strains on inside. It was delicious, and tasted just like I remember Gorgonzola tasting like. Even the rind, which looked like it was covered in ****, tasted delicious... just a different texture. everyone loved this blue cheese, and it’s spreadable texture. I was sure it was a disaster from it’s outside look... but I was very wrong. Also brought out my 11 month Parmesan, and Asiago Dolce which we both good. Leaving some Asiago to age longer.
I love the heading for this section for writing a review - "How was your experience using this item?" ... SOOOO good! Though I may not have let this age "long enough", having made it in October, we still opened it at Christmas as I had made it for my father as his Christmas gift. Not only were we shocked, and thrilled with the level of blue ... SO MUCH ... it just permeated the entire cheese! But the flavor was truly outstanding. I have not been making cheese that long (Since September) and I have made some good ones, but this was by far the best of all. For my first effort I did not have the buttermilk starter and after talking to Jim here I ended up using a Mesophilic culture instead to wonderful results. I am going to make this again today, as my first effort is gone, and will follow more exactly the recipe outlined here. I also do not have an open bottom mold, only the Med hard cheese mold and it worked really well to both shape and drain the curds/cheese. Contemplating making a second one this tomorrow using our fav cheesemaking milk and adding in a couple quarts of goats milk ... Love this recipe :)
Excited about this creamy, mild blue! If you have a few cheeses "under your belt," I do recommend trying this g. dolce. If you are just starting out with blues, the 2-gallon batch is a nice, manageable size. The aging period is also a bit shorter than some of the other larger and/or drier styles. Great pictorial instructions make sure you know what you should be looking for. Love a nice blue like this with some wine, figgy jam, and crusty bread.