Beaufort, Alpine Style

YOU WILL NEED:
  • 12.5 gallons of whole milk
  • 1/4 tsp MA011 or 2 packets of C101. This will develop initial acidity at the lower temperature.
  • 3/8 tsp TA061 or 3 packets C201. This will develop the acidity at the higher temperature, the post cooking and the early stages of pressing
  • 1/16 tsp LH 100. This is for the proteolysis (protein breakdown) during the aging of the cheese which is responsible for the fabulous texture of the mountain style Gruyere.
  • 1 tsp single strength rennet
  • Salt (2 tsp)
  • A good thermometer
  • A knife to cut the curds, and a spoon or ladle to stir and transfer the curds with.
  • 2 of our large M2 molds
  • Cheese Cloth

Note: You can cut this recipe in half by using 1/2 of all ingredients or expanded proportionately for a larger volume of milk. Everything needs to be clean and sanitize


ACIDIFYING AND HEATING THE MILK:

Begin by heating the milk to 90ºF (32ºC). 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.

Once the milk is at 90ºF the culture amount indicated above can be added along with the ripening cultures. 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. The milk should ripen for about 30 minutes before adding the rennet.


COAGULATION WITH RENNET:

Add your rennet to begin the coagulation. The first signs of flocculation will be at 27 minutes and the final cut at 33 minutes.


CUTTING CURDS AND RELEASING THE WHEY:

This curd is a very soft to allow for the small curd cut which needs to be 1/4 inch or smaller. This is typical of the longer aged alpine cheeses as well as the Parma style cheeses of Italy.

  • Cut: Initially a 3/4 - 1 inch cut, rest for 2-3 min. for whey to rise in cuts then cut to 1/4 inch. This will accommodate thorough whey release and a drier curd for aging. The curds are slowly heated over 40 minutes to 128-130F. The final curd size is rice to barley size. When the final curd moisture is reached the whey is removed down to curd level.
  • Cook: Begin heating curds slowly to 128-130F over 40 minutes.

  • Pre-press: The forms are prepared with their cloth and flooded with the warm whey before the curds are transferred with the remaining whey. The forms are now pressed under the whey (pre-pressing) to maximize curd consolidation and eliminate the small mechanical holes. Weight curds with 25 pounds for 30 minutes then transfer to a draining table.

Note: The forms need to be sanitized and prepared for the curd transfer.  I do this here by submerging in 145ºF water for several minutes.

  • Pressing: Remove forms from whey and turn cheese in forms with cloth. Increase weight over 2 hrs to 200 lbs divided between 2 forms. Continue to press with weights for 6-8 hrs keeping the temperature in the 80's to allow acidity to continue developing. Remove from mold and allow unweighted cheese to cool and rest for 24 hours before brining.

SALTING AND AGING:

Brine the cheese in saturated brine for 10-12 hrs. This is about half as much salt as a cheddar.

The cheese should be dried off when taken from brine and moved to the aging space at 90% RH and 52-54ºF.

Rind development: This is a washed rind cheese. In about 7-10 days a surface mold will develop and this needs to be wiped down with a saturated brine at 3-6 day intervals to start. For the large Beaufort the surface is sprinkled with salt, and allowed to develop its own brine, this is rubbed into the surface on the next day. The cheese is turned and the cycle repeated. A red rind will form in time and the rind treatment will become less.

The aging will take 6 -14 months depending on flavor desired.



EXTRA NOTES:
The three cheeses (Abondance, Beaufort, and Comte) have all evolved due to the need to make a few large cheeses from a large collective community herd high in the mountains (Alpage) during the summer months. Due to high temperature scalding the elastic curds are made dry for a long aging and to accommodate traveling and the rough journey down into the valley markets.
They are all quite similar but do have defining differences in size, process temperatures, and even the cultures used.

A cheese in the style of Beaufort: For this recipe I will be focusing on the Beaufort style produced in the Tarentaise mountains surrounding Mt. Blanc and the heart of the French Ski Country. This is one of my favorite cheeses and I have spent a bit of time with the cheese makers at the high mountain chalets during the morning and afternoon milkings, the cheese making sessions, and in the salting and aging caves. This recipe will be for 12 gallons of milk making 2 cheeses about 5.5-6 lb. each (much smaller than the 90-110 lb. Beaufort cheeses). This recipe can easily be cut in half for a single cheese.

Feel free to add any extra notes to this box prior to printing: