A simple Jack Cheese

Ricki 'The Cheese Queen' makes a very simple
No Fuss No MussCheese in the kitchen

this is about as simple a cheese as you, the home cheese maker can make in your very own kitchen
it requires no forms, no press, and about as little effort as a cheese can be.
Some milk, a pot, a piece of porous cloth, a couple of boards and a rock.

We start out with a fairly tidy kitchen all counters wiped down well
and sanitized
Jim pours the milk into the kettle to begin heating it
The milk is up to temp and
the culture is added
Our milk is ripening nicely
in it's water bath just a bit
warmer than our starting temp
All of our utensils have been sanitized and ready to go
Our milk is now at 88F
and ready to set
Ricki gives it one last stir to mix the cream down ... Go easy here...
...then she measures the rennet
and adds it into the milk, then
while the milk sets quietly...
Meanwhile ...we sanitize our cloth
and strainer in hot water
In a bit Ricki tests the curd
for a proper set...
...looking for a nice clean break
and whey rising in the cut
she then begins to cut...
...into 1/2" cubes...
...more or less...
...then allows the whey to rise
then the ladle is used to...
...cut and stir while scalding
To check final curd moisture Ricki squeezes a bit of curd together...
...and then tests to see
how well it separates
you can tell by her smile...
...that all is well
Now it is time to begin
removing the whey...
...down to the level of curd
A quick stir to loosen it up
And then a quick dump...
...into the cloth...
...for salting and draining
Ricki then tightens up the cloth...
...as she forms the curd ...
...into a nice ball
The cloth is evened out
Another board
and weight (~ 4 lbs here) are placed...
...make sure all is even
and square.
After an hour or so
we up the weight to 25 lbs...
...make sure it is steady
and let set overnight
Our whey goes to the gardenThe next AM our cheese
is ready
Then the rind is allowed
to develop...
...and in a few days
the first oil is applied

How to make this cheese :

We began with 5 gallons of local milk (whole pasteurized milk from your store will work just fine).

We then heated the milk to 88F and added 3/8 tsp of culture MA011 but one of the culture packs C101 will work just as well. It was then allowed to ripen for 60 minutes.

Next we added 2.5 ml or 1/2 tsp of calf rennet which formed a solid curd in about 40 minutes.

Once the firm curd was established it was cut to 1/2" cubes then let rest for about 5 minutes before stirring for another 20 min. At this point the curds are extremely fragile and must be handled with care.

We then began a long slow stirring while we slowly raised the temp to 100F over 40 minutes. This step dries the curd out by removing the whey from the curd.

Following this we stirred slowly for another 30 minutes as we watched the individual curds become smaller and toughen up a bit.

Our final step in the kettle was to 'pitch' or let the curds sink to the bottom for 25-30 minutes with gentle stirring every 3 to 5 min. Here they will now not lose as much moisture but will continue to produce lactic acid.

Our final step was a simple texture test as shown above. Ricki takes up a small handful of curd and squeezes to compact .... if it breaks apart easily with the thumb into individual curds it is ready if it sticks together let is set for another 10 minutes.

Now the curd is ready to go into it's draining cloth spread inside a colander. Then add about   2.5-3 tbs. salt and mix in well .
Next, the ends of this cloth are brought together and the entire curd mass is shaped into a nice round ball pulling the cloth up and consolidating it as the whey runs off.

Next a board is placed on your draining surface under the ball of curd. The top is then tied off with string and the extra cloth is carefully spread evenly over the surface. Another board is place on top and a light weight of 4-8 lbs is carefully balanced on top. This will be the weight for about 1hr and then a weight of about 25 lbs will be used for another 4-6 hours. At this point remove all weight and let the cheese rest at ~68-75F overnight.

The next day(#3)the cheese surface is allowed to dry off for another 1-2 days establishing a firm rind. It then goes to a cooler cave (54F) where it continues to dry off more. After about 5-8 days and the rind becomes quite dry, a light coat of olive oil* can be applied and repeated every 3-5 days for about a week. Following this a good brushing every 3-7 days until a firm coat is established and apply a bit more oils as needed. This cheese will be ready in 3-8 months.

*Ig Vella at Vella Cheese applies a mixture of oil, red pepper, and cocoa to the rind
for a really nice brown crust and a very rustic looking cheese

Things you may need :

MA011 or C101 culture
Calcium Chloride (if you are using store bought milk)


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