Sunday, November 20, 2011

"Caciotta Sunday"

If yesterday was Cheddar Saturday, then today is Caciotta Sunday!  After the labor intensive cheddars, the Caciotta was a walk in the park.  Right now, it's pressing for 6 hours.  After that, I'll brine it, age it for a week, then wax it.

To the left is a picture of the sheep's milk with the saffron threads on top.  I lightly crushed them to have more bits of saffron dispersed throughout the cheese.  To the right is of the gelled milk just before I cut it into curds.  I thought the saffron threads that got trapped floating on top when it set up looked cool.  You can see the color change as the saffron seeps into the milk.

Although I knew sheep's milk gave higher cheese yield per gallon, I was not prepared for it.  I am so used to the way cow's milk behaves.  The sheep's milk gelled much more quickly and was firmer.  The volume of curds was visibly larger than with cow's milk too.  For example, for the same size of molded cheese, I used 3 gallons of cow's milk for the Port Salut, and only two gallons of sheep's milk for the Caciotta.  I did taste the milk before I started.  It's nearly identical in flavor to cow's milk (to me), but it is richer.

Finally a shot of the Caciotta in the press, without the running guide (cylinder) for the top plate.  The top plate is simply on top of the lid for the tomme mold.

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