Making cheese is a time consuming, but fun, process that can end up saving you hundreds of dollars a year over expensive store bought gourmet cheeses. It is often said that blue cheese is the gateway cheese – if one can master making blue cheese at home, they should have no problem mastering other gourmet cheeses, such as brie.
To make blue cheese at home, follow the instructions below:
MAKE CHEESE CURDS:
1.) In a large pot, heat two gallons of goat’s milk to seventy degrees Fahrenheit.
2.) Immediately remove the pot from the stove.
3.) Dissolve a half of a Rennet tablet in a quarter cup of room temperature water.
4.) Stir a quarter cup of cultured buttermilk into the heated goat’s milk with a wooden spoon, ensuring that the two milks are thoroughly blended.
5.) With a wooden spoon, stir the water/Rennet tablet combination into the milk combination, ensuring that the two mixtures are thoroughly blended.
6.) Cover the pot containing both milks, water and Rennet with a lid and let sit, unrefrigerated, for twenty-four hours.
7.) After twenty-four hours has passed, check the cheese curds. If the curds can be cut into half inch pieces, then the curds are ready to drain. If the curds cannot be cut into half inch pieces at the end of the twenty-four hour period, then let them sit for another twelve hours before checking again.
8.) After the curds are able to be cut into half inch pieces, they are ready to drain. Drain the curds by placing a sterile cloth into a colander or strainer and ladling the curds into it. The cloth will preserve the curds and allow the liquid to drain.
9.) After the curds are drained, place them in the refrigerator (keeping them in the strainer and cloth) and let them sit for twenty-four hours.
10.) After a twenty-four hour period has passed, remove the curds and salt to taste. One to two teaspoons of salt is customary.
11.) You are now ready to make the blue cheese.
MAKE THE BLUE CHEESE:
1.) Boil a pot of water. Place a Phillips head screwdriver and a few handkerchiefs in the water and let boil for five minutes (to sterilize them).
2.) Place the cheese curds in a large bowl.
3.) Sprinkle approximately two teaspoons of salt over the cheese curds and mix well with a wooden spoon until the curds start to crumble into little pea sized pieces.
4.) Now, create the inoculum by blending one teaspoon of uncontaminated blue cheese (the easiest to find is “Saga Blue”) with a quarter cup of cool water.
5.) Pour your freshly created inoculum over top of the cheese curds, immediately mix with a wooden spoon, ensuring that the mixture becomes well blended.
6.) Line a cheese press with a previously sterilized handkerchief and place the curds onto the cloth. Lightly press the curds, ensuring that air spaces are retained within the cheese. Leave the curds in the cheese press overnight.
7.) You now officially have cheese, though it is not blue cheese.
8.) Remove the cheese from the press. With your previously sterilized Phillips head screwdriver poke holes through the cheese, approximately one inch apart from each other.
9.) Rub the surface of the cheese with one eighth a cup of salt.
10.) Place the salted cheese on a new, previously sterilized handkerchief, folding the fabric lightly over the cheese.
11.) Place the wrapped cheese on a non-corrosive rack – or a metal rack that has been coated with plastic.
12.) Place the cheese and rack into the refrigerator.
13.) It is essential that the temperature and humidity of your refrigerator is monitored. The temperature should be kept at around forty degrees Fahrenheit and the humidity should be around seventy percent. (Note: it is often difficult to keep the humidity of the refrigerator where it needs to be. It can be helpful to place a pan of cool water in the bottom of your refrigerator to increase humidity). Be sure that the humidity of the refrigerator is not too wet, or the cheese will be to wet, a term referred to as “weeping”.
14.) Turn the cheese every day, replacing the handkerchief with a dry, previously sterilized one if the current one is wet.
15.) Keep the cheese in the refrigerator until there is a white and blueish growth all over the surface of the cheese and the holes have a green and white bloom growing inside of them. The interior of the cheese will be moldy looking (white and green bloom) when cut open. The entire process will take about six to eight weeks.
16.) The blue cheese making process is complete. Sit back with some crackers and a glass of wine, reveling in your smartness!