My first experience with cow’s milk? If I had to sum it up in one word it’d be “Meh!”
Being a goat guy, I guess I was expecting so much more – more cream, more curd, more “yella”,….just more.
Not that it wasn’t a lot of fun making the cheese mind you. Turns out San Jorge is a great “Saturday morning” cheese and, being Sao Jorge, it just has my portugese bredwin all up de gum tree! Ever since I told them I’d be making San Jorge – “Iwannapeezadatcheeeeze” is all I hear.
In my books, they’re the only ones who know a damn thing about cheese on this island – still living close to their roots.
This is what happened –
7:45 am – 5 gallons raw cow’s milk – heat to 90F, add 1/4 teasp. “farmers culture” let sit 30 -45 mins.
8:15 am – milk is at 90F (a little high) added 15 drops rennet plus 3 for good luck = 18 drops
9:45 am – cut the curd (took a little longer than expected to get a “clean break” and the curd seemed quite soft so we carefully cut for 30 mins. – it contracted and firmed up nicely over time.)
10:15 am – had raised temp of curd to 94F – still stirring and breaking up.
10:30 am – curd is at 98F turned off heat and continued to stir and break up.
10:30 am – predrained curd in draining pan with cheesecloth for an hour – breaking up the curd mass every 15 mins.
11:45 am – flipped – still one weight.
12 noon – flipped (removed cheesecloth and used follower) 2 weights.
1pm – flipped – 2 weights 2pm flipped – 3 weights (45lbs.?) 3pm flipped 4pm flipped 5 pm flipped and left weights on overnight.
CONCLUSION – like I said, this a really fun cheese to make, and a recipe that is full of promise! (um, I think I might of said this about every rennet cheese I’ve ever made.) There’s a great deal of satisfaction in using the concrete weights. I made these some years ago – in a wave of optimism – and they’ve been sitting around the barn gathering dust ever since – testaments to some pretty mediocre cheese makes. Their heavy weight produces a nice compact, flexible curd – and using them, well it’s all just so damn MACHO! Gotta love it!
And the big surprise? This is the real kicker – It turns out I actually really LIKE Sao Jorge cheese! I mean we’ve all seen the mountains of vacuum packed chunks in the cheese bin at Lindo’s, but I always thought of it as a poorer cousin to all my favourite British cheddars available at the Supermart. (Goddam cheese snob? – “Guilty yer honour!”) – So anyway I bought a big wedge (it only comes in “big”) in preparation for this make and you know what? Mikey likes it! I dunno, it has a typical cheddary type body (perhaps a little more flexible – closer to Gouda) and a really nice strong flavour! (good cultures, mon). It’s a competitor!