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Raw Milk Asiago Cheese Recipe



Ingredients:


2 gallons whole raw milk


1/2 cup clabber culture OR 1/2 cup (homemade) kefir OR 1/2 tsp direct-set thermophilic culture


1/2 tsp liquid rennet diluted in 1/4 cup filtered water


Salt for brining



Heat milk slowly in a large pot until it reaches 90 degrees.


Remove from heat and stir in your starter culture thoroughly (stir for about a minute using an up and down motion).


Cover and allow to culture for 1 hour. The pot will probably maintain its temperature fine during this period of time. But if it falls much below 90 warm it slightly for a couple minutes.


After the ripening period, stir in the diluted rennet, again using up and down motions to make sure it is thoroughly incorporated into the milk.


Cover and let it sit for another hour maintaining temperature at around 90.


After an hour check for a "clean break." That's cheesemaking talk for sticking your finger in the curd and then raising your finger up through the curd, you should see it cleanly break or separate away from your finger. If you don't get a clean break, wait a little longer.


Cut the curd into 1/2 inch pieces by using a long knife or cheesemaking knife to slice it vertically and then horizontally.


Let the curds rest for 5 minutes untouched.


Slowly heat to 105, then remove from heat and stir the curds, gently but continuously for 15 minutes. They will shrink up a bit as they release whey.


Heat the pot again to 118, stirring frequently.


Remove from heat, cover, and let the curds settle for a couple of minutes.


Ladle off the whey until you can just see the top of the curds (you an save whey for cooking, baking, feeding to pigs or chickens, feeding to your garden, or making Norwegian Brunost!)


Line a cheese mould with cheesecloth and ladel in the warm curds. Press them gently into the mould with your hands, then wrap the cheesecloth over them and press with 8lbs of pressure for an hour.


Unwrap and redress the cheese and press again for 8 hours.


Make a brine with 2 cups sea salt or cheese salt and 1/2 gallon water. Dissolve the salt and bring the brine to 50 degrees. This takes awhile!


When the cheese is done in the press remove it and place it in the brine for 12 hours, flipping a few times during the soaking period.


Remove cheese from bring, pat dry, and place on a plate with a bamboo sushi mat or drying rack for several days, flipping every now and then until the surface is completely dry to the touch.


Age at around 85% humidity for 3 weeks to 1 year. Brush with brine twice a week to knock back any mold growth. You could also brush this cheese with olive oil instead of brine or wax it in beeswax.


I age my cheese in plastic or glass containers with lids on bamboo sushi rolling mats in the fridge. If you have a wine fridge that can be turned up to 50 degrees that's even better.


These are my "cheese ripening boxes."

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