Blue cheese in a roquefort style (two methods)


Published on

1 Like
  • Be the first to comment

No Downloads
Total views
On SlideShare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

Blue cheese in a roquefort style (two methods)

  1. 1. A Blue Cheese in a Roquefort Style (Two Methods) Rubbing the out side of the cheese and molding Fig.1 Cheese; from the Theatrum Sanitatis, Library Casanatense, Rome1.1 Fig.137. Cheese; from the Theatrum Sanitatis, Library Casanatense, Rome, 1
  2. 2. Fig.2 Cheese manufacture, 1390-1400, Illustration from "Tacuinum Sanitatis",illuminated medical manual based on texts translated from Arabic into Latin, in thecollection of the Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris.2Making a Blue Cheese in PeriodThis Blue Cheese is representative of a style of cheeses being made in France from the 1stcentury. Roquefort, or similar style cheese, is mentioned in literature as far back as AD79, when Pliny the Elder remarked upon its rich flavor. The Romans built the ViaDomitia, which linked France to Rome. The road allowed cheeses made in France to beshipped to Rome easily. The upper class citizens of Rome soon fell in love with theflavor of the cheeses made with the Roquefort blue-green molds and were willing to paya high price to have this special cheese.3 History also records that this Blue cheese alsofound favor with the Emperor Charlemagne, who would have pack trains of mules bring2 Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris, Masui, Kazuko; Tomoko Yamada,French Cheeses, Dorling Kindersley,1996, Pg.178, ISBN 0-7513-0896-X, 2
  3. 3. Roquefort to his court at Aix-la-Chapelle every Christmas. Also according to the researchof Robert Wernick the Knights Templar who once was in charge of the area nearRoquefort received payment from the local peasants in the form of cheese.4 In 1411Charles the 6th granted a monopoly for the ripening of the cheese to the people ofRoquefort-sur-Soulzonas in France.5 Castelmagno is another variety of blue veined cheesesfrom Italy. Notice what is commonly called “Cat’s Fur” growing on the cheese clothwarped rounds. This is part of the process practiced for more than a 1000 years in Francefor this style of cheese.“Castelmagno is a blue-veined cheese or “erborinato” as Italians like to call these types ofcheeses. The blue veining is actually greener than blue, and for that reason they call it“erborinato”, reminiscent of the color of herbs. The veins derive from a complete andabsolute natural process, the combination of milk and air. Castelmagno cheese has beenknown in Piedmont since the 13th century, but the rest of Italy discovered it for the firsttime in the 1970s. Historical records were found reporting the use of pastureland settledby the Marquis of Saluzzo in 1277 that was in control of the production territory.”6According to Albert Alric a present day producer of the Roquefort Cheese who wasinterviewed by Robert Wernick© in 1980 for the February 1982 issue of SmithsonianMagazine he relates the following story and how the cheese was born “…as in the days ofhis youth, all hands were needed in the field in summer, and bread could not be bakedmore than once every six weeks or so. If it is kept in cool hillside caves, bread tends toget moldy after six weeks. But in a peasant community, it is sacrilege to throw awaybread, so the peasants went on doggedly eating it anyway until someone noticed that thestale slices tasted better with cheese on them. And a day came when one of thoseunknown geniuses who open up new pathways for mankind reasoned that instead oftaking the cheese to the mold he could take the mold to the cheese. He mixed somemoldy bread into the milk as it was coagulating. The result was something that notonly tasted better but lasted longer than ordinary cheese”.74 Wernick, Robert, “Roquefort”, Smithsonian Magazine, Feb. 1982, Masui, Kazuko; Tomoko Yamada,French Cheeses, Dorling Kindersley,1996, Pg.178, ISBN 0-7513-0896-X, Italy’s Best Cheeses, ,Gabriele’s Travels toItaly7 Wernick, Robert, “Roquefort”, Smithsonian Magazine, Feb. 1982, 3
  4. 4. My cheeses are made in the Roquefort Style having a blue to green mold, having a strongflavor, a creamy white to light yellow color, and a crumbly texture due to the way thischeese is processed and pressed. I have used two methods to propagate the mold onestyle is called a re-culture method; the second is with a modern culture called PenicilliumRoquefort.Milk would have been collected twice a day (morning & evening) at the milking house tobe processed (fig.4 & 5). In period they would have left the milk to sit so the creamwould come to the top and then it would be skimmed off to make butter or to cook with.The milk that was going to be used in cheese production would need to be warmed. Onemethod used was to sit the container of skimmed milk over night by the fire near thehearth. When the milk was warmed enough the would add back cream from the nextmornings milking to act as a starter “My Lady of Middlesex makes excellent slipp-coatCheese of good morning milk, putting Cream to it. A quart of Cream is the proportionshe useth to as much milk, as both together make a large round Cheese of thebigness of an ordinary Tart-plate, or cheese-plate; as big as an ordinary soft cheese, thateh Market women sell for ten pence…”8After the milk had warmed they needed added things like thistle and safflower juice, anacid (vinegar or lemon juice), ale, or rennet9 to cause the milk to clabbered, and a milkstarter (a bacterial agent some times referred to as a live culture) was also added thatacted as an agent to help back down the proteins in the milk so that the milk solids outseparate out (the curds).10 One method in period for the source of a starter was to save asmall amount of milk from a previous batch of cheese before the rennet or agent wasadded to cause the curd to separate from the whey.The milk purchased for this project was a combination of common Whole Milk fromWal-Mart and Raw Whole Milk that I low temperature pasteurized (The raw whole milkthat I used was low temperature pasteurized by me, then processed into the cheese). TheRaw milk came from free range Short Horn Milking Cows, and Belted Galloway whichwas breeds known in the middle ages.Medieval Method of making cheese:“Take a gallon of milk from the cow, and seethe it, and when it doth seethe put thereuntoa quart or two of morning milk in fair cleansing pans in such place as no dust may falltherein. This is for you clotted cream. The next morning take a quart of morning milk,and seethe it, and put in a quart of cream thereunto, and when it doth seethe, take if offthe fire. Put it in a fair earthen pan, and let it stand until it be somewhat blood warm. Butfirst over night put a good quantity of ginger, rose water, and stir it together. Let it settle8 The Project Gutenberg eBook “The Closet of Sir Kenelm Digby”,, “Tomake Silpp-coat cheese”9 Arne Emil Christensen is Professor, Dr. Phil. at the University Museum of National Antiquities in Oslo,author of this article (He specializes on shipbuilding history and craftsmanship in the Iron Age and theViking period), Power, Eileen, The Goodman of Paris, New York, 1992, pg.169 4
  5. 5. overnight. The next day put it into your said blood warm milk to make your cheesecome.”Fig 3 Dairymen and Cheese Sellers (Mid 13th C., San Marco, Venice)11“Then put the curds in a fair cloth, with a little good rose water, fine powder of ginger,and a little sugar. So lash great soft rolls together with a thread and crush out the wheywith your clotted cream. Mix it with fine powder of ginger, and sugar and so sprinkle itwith rose water, and put your cheese in a fair dish. And put these clots around about it.Then take a pint of raw milk or cream and put it in a pot, and all to shake it until it begathered into a froth like snow. And ever as it cometh, take it off with a spoon and putinto a colander. There put it upon your fresh cheese, and prick it with wafers, and soserve it.”1211 At the Table of the Monks: Cheese, Of Course (Part V) Dawson, Thomas, The Good Housewife’s Jewel, Southover Press, 1996, pg.17~18 5
  6. 6. Fig.4 Women had charge of the domestic animals including milking, butter making, and cheese making production. (Bodleian Library, MS. Bodley 764, fol. 44)13Columella on Cheese Making:"Cheese should be made of pure milk which is as fresh as possible....It should usually becurdled with rennet obtained from a lamb or kid, though it can also be coagulated withthe flower of the wild thistle or the seeds of the safflower (Carthamus tinctorius), andequally well with the liquid which flows from a Fig-tree..."."A pail when it has been filled with milk should always be kept at some degree of heat: itshould not however be brought into contact with the flames....but should be put to standnot far from the fire...""...when the liquid had thickened, it should immediately be transferred to wicker vesselsor baskets or moulds...""...the method of making what we call "hand pressed" cheese is the best-known of all:when the milk is slightly congealed in the pail and still warm it is broken up and hotwater is poured over it, and then it is either shaped by hand or else pressed into box-woodmoulds." (fig.2)14Supplies:Modern stainless steel was used for health and safety reasons.13 Hanawalt, Barbara, A., The Ties That Bound – Peasant Families in Medieval England, Oxford Univ.Press, Chapter 8 “The Husbandman’s Year and Economic Ventures:, pg.14814 Columella II de re Rustica V-IX, Translated by E.S. Forster & E. Heffner, Book VII, pg.285~289 6
  7. 7. 2 gallons Whole Milk1 pkg. Mesophilic Culture Direct Set1/8 tsp. Penicillium Roqueforti Culture (cheese #2 used a re-cultured blue mold)1/8 tsp. Lipase Power – Capilase (very sharp) (an animal based enzyme used to enhanceflavor in cheese)1 tsp. Rennet¼ cup cool water2 Tbl. Sea Salt2 Stainless Steel Pots1 Slotted Stainless Steel Spoon1 yard of cheese cloth1 Colander1 Stainless Steel Ladle1 Thermometer1 Cheese Press1 Cheese Mold & Follower1 timer1 large plastic cake container (Tupperware style)2 Reed Mats to place the cheese onModern Method:2-gallon whole milk (cheese #1 Store bought Milk / cheese #2 Raw Milk) (Non-homogenized or Raw Milk will give you a richer cheese) There is an additional step here for me since I used Raw Milk for cheese #2. I needed to heat the milk for 30 min. to a temperature of 145°, then place the pot immediately into a sink filled with cool water and ice if necessary to bring the temp of the milk down quickly, then after cooled place sterile clean container and precede, with cheese making steps below.1 pack of Mesophilic Culture DS (this is used for temperatures under 105º)1/8 tsp of Penicillium Roqueforti Culture1/8 tsp of Lipase Power for 2 gallons of milk1 tsp. of Rennet for 2 gallons of milk1/4 cup of cool water to dilute the rennet2 Tbl. Coarse Sea Salt½ tsp. Calcium Chloride (used only in the milk purchased from Wal-mart)Step One:Place milk into large pan (fig. 6 & 8). Warm milk until it has risen to a temperature ofmilk to 90° F. (Use the in-direct warming method using a large metal pan in a sink ofwarm water, or inside of a second larger pot).Add the Mold, then the Mesophilic Starter and allow to sit for 1 hour (60 minutes) andLipase Power (during the pasteurization process most of the naturally occurring lipase is 7
  8. 8. ruined).15 Add Rennet (diluted to 1/4 cup of cool water) and stir for several minuets. Letmilk sit covered for 1 hour at 90º F. Add the diluted Rennet stir gently keep at 90º F for 1hour or until a curd has formed and a clean break can be preformed (the curd should havewhat is called a clean break stage, which is if a clean knife is put into the curd the curdshould separate cleanly).Cut the curds in ½ inch cubes, and then let sit for 5 minutes. Bring the temperature of thecurds and whey up to 90º F, stirring gently every 5 minutes for 1 hour. Then allow curdsto sit for 5 minutes.Pour the curds into a cheesecloth-lined colander (fig.9) while still warm (fig.6, 8) andhang to drain for 5 minutes.Place the warm curds into the cheese mold (fig.2). Place a reed mat on the top andbottom and a cheese board on top and bottom. Turn over the mold every 15 minutes forthe first 2 hours, then once an hour for the next two hours. Then allow draining overnight.16Remove the cheese from the mold, sprinkle with the remaining salt on all surfaces.Shake off excess salt. Let set at 60º F and 85% humidity. Turn the cheese round everyday for 4 days. Prick the cheese round with bamboo skewer making about 40 holes fromtop to bottom of the cheese round, age at 50º F and 95% humidity turning every 4 days(see fig. 7 A Cheese Cave).Mold should appear after 10 days. After 30 days the surface of the cheese will becovered with blue mold gently scrape off the mold, repeat this process every 20 to 30days. After 90 days of aging wrap in foil, lower the temperature to 38º F for anadditional 60 days turning the cheese weekly.The cheese is ready to eat after 6 months, but for a milder flavor cheese is ready after 3months.Cheese#1: Modern Roqueforti Culture (started 2/20 & 3/16)Observations:Day 1: (2/20/11 & 3/16/11)15 Lava, Shari, What is Lipase Powder?, December 08, 2010,, December 08, 201016 Carroll, Ricki & Robert, Cheese making made Easy, United States: Capital City Press, 1996, page 36~37 8
  9. 9. Cut the curds Curds after 1 hour of heating at 90F Warm cuts placed in to mold Reed mats placed top & bottom of the mold Cheese after draining over night (in this type of cheesethe warm curds press under their own weight). 9
  10. 10. Pricking the cheese Blue started 2/20/11 Blue green mold is forming but slower container sizeis not large enough to encourage the mold growth and needs turned more frequently andair exchange. Also it is harder to keep enough moisture in the smaller box due to thefrequent opening. 10
  11. 11. These are updated photos of thisblue after 3 months of aging. Notice the beautiful blue veining and surface rind. Blue started 3/16/11 Much larger container already the Blue Green Moldgrowth is much better and the moisture in this container is better also (this type of cheeseneeds is much higher moisture in the range of 80~90% humidity). 11
  12. 12. These are updated photos of theblue at two months of age. This round is more in the style of a Stilton (less air space,creamery texture), beautiful rind mold and minimal blue veining.Cheese #2: Re-cultured Method (started 10-10-10)A piece of a Roquefort Blue was added to a ½ cup of raw milk 24 hour before making thecheese. After the cheese was warmed to 90ºF the re-culture, and started were added tothe milk and the remaining steppes were followed as stated above. Aging container (this container worked for this roundof Blue since it is much smaller than the later two using the modern method of re-culturing.) 12
  13. 13. Cheese wrapped in cheese cloth in aging container Blue re-cultured after 5 months of aging Blue at 71/2 months of age flavor is slightlysalty in the nature of a blue cheese with, some blue veining, and has that wonderful smellthat only a blue aged for this amount of time can have.TASTEING NOTE:The re-cultured cheese was on the salty side but would be good in salads or cooked withmeats, and had a good blue color. The blue put up in February was creamy and had agood blue cheese flavor and a small about of veining. The blue cheese put up in Marchwas a bit salty but blue by their nature are a bit to the salty side, and was just starting toshow blue veining.Observations:I wanted to see what the texture and taste of a Blue Semi-Hard Cheese would be if I useda period method of resulting vs. a modern method of propagation of the Roquefort bluemold. The re-culture was started on 10/10/10 this was started earlier as the re-culturedtook longer to show the blue mold. The second round was started in March of 2011 usinga modern Roquefort culture. This culture produced molds with the 10 day time framenoted in the modern instructions for making blue cheese. 13
  14. 14. Early Blue Re-Cultured Method good veining Early Blue Re-Cultured Method curd packed to tightso developed good flavor but no veining Early Blue Re-Cultured Method same as above goodflavor but curd packed to tightly for veining to formConclusion:Blue cheese, unlike some of the other hard & semi-hard cheeses has higher moisturecontent. The molds that give this cheese its flavor and color require a high moistureenvironment for the mold to grow.When forming the cheese rounds unlike other hard cheese blues press under their ownweight. The reason for this is that the spaces between the curds are where the lovely blueveining forms. Over pressing will give you a firmer cheese with the flavor of a blue, withthe molds only growing on the exterior of the cheese (see pictures above). Also it tookme several times to get the right container & moisture figured out to get the blue greenmold to grow correctly.Some of the things I learned were if my house is too cold the curd will not set. I canwarm the milk and add more Rennet, and that if using a raw milk product that isproduced near the end of the cows or goat’s lactation cycle the milk does not containenough milk fat to set a curd (you get a weak or soft curd that does not hold up during the 14
  15. 15. cheese making process for hard cheese). I have also learned that time is much morecritical for making hard cheeses, and the process of making hard cheeses is not nearly asforgiving as making soft cheeses.On adding rennet I learned early on that a little goes a long way and adding two much ofsomething in the case of making cheese can be a bad thing. Adding not enough rennetand your curd will not set, but I have found that you can add a little more if necessary.Adding to much rennet will give it a rubbery texture and a bitter under taste. This alsowill happen if your rennet is too old.This last statement is important because it explains a couple of written statements I foundin period sources that talked about the time of year and the quality of the cheese productsproduced. For example in the spring and early summer the milk is rich and contains alarge of amount of protein and milk fat due to new pastures and lactation for their young,so the cheese is going to be very rich in body and flavor. If the milk is in the fall then itis not as rich due to the decline of pasture feeding and that they are no longer lactating, sothe cheese produced in the fall will take more milk to produce a pound of cheese due to alower amount of protein and fat making the milk thinner (the cream that comes to the topis not as thick as in the spring/ summer milk). What the animals eat also effect the flavorof the cheese as well.Another lesson that applies as much now as then is keeping things clean, “morning milkin fair cleansing pans in such place as no dust may fall therein”. There are times when nomatter what you do the milk will not set and all you can do is start over and feed theprevious batch to the pig.This is a process I have been learning about for the last 4 years, I started MedievalCheese Forum a year ago ( so I could keep track ofmistakes and successes, share information I have learned about cheese making also.Enjoy sampling the cheese. 15
  16. 16. 17 fig. 5 18 fig. 6 Warming the milk Warming milk Slotted ladle & strainer17 Norman Cheeses, From Tacuinum Sanitatis (ÖNB Codex Vindobonensis, series nova 2644), c. 1370-1400) 16
  17. 17. 19Fig.7 A cheese cave as one might have seen it in the middle ages.19 Feibleman, Peter, The Cooking of Spain & Portugal, Time Life Books, 1969, pg. 130~131 17
  18. 18. 20 Fig. 8 Draining Whey21 Fig. 9 Roman Cheese Press in form and function very similar to those found from 600– 1600A.D.Unless otherwise noted all other pictures are my photography.20 Take 1000 Eggs or More, pg. 45, from Schweizer Chronik, c. 154821 Roman Cheese Press, Greyware circular straight-sided bowl, used for training the Whey from cheese, c. 450 A.D., 18