Monday, November 28, 2011

Port Salut - Again!

OK, this time, armed with even more helpful hints, I made another Port Salut this weekend.  We did eat the last one, even though it did not manage to have it's signature orange/red bloom of b. linens.  It tasted great, and from what I described to a cheese master, it was close in taste to the real thing.  The Port Salut you get at a store is not really Port Salut.  It's a "prettied-up" version.  Commercial Port Salut is softer and close to a cross between cream cheese and gooey Brie in texture.  It is rind-less, too.  And the color on the "rind" is imprinted onto the surface using food dyes, so the color is way off...almost neon orange.

Since I've detailed what I've done making Port Salut's before, I'll just cover the highlights of what I did differently this time, to ensure it ripens properly and develops a rind.  I received two tips from different sources that indicated that my previous versions were too acidic, and that's why the b. linens didn't grow.  It's a fast grower, so I should not have had the trouble I did.  To remedy it, I was told by both sources to add a tiny bit (1/64th of a teaspoon) of either GEO 15, Danisco's Choozit brand of geotrichnum candidum (yeast form) bacteria, or a strain of kluyveromyces yeast, Choozit brand KL71.  And I am supposed to use these in the bacterial wash as well with the b.linens.  A 1/64th teaspoon is about the size of the tip of knife full of powder.  The yeast acts to stabilize the pH of the cheese and keeps it from becoming too acidic.

I have both of these on hand, so I used both, to make up the 1/64th tsp.  The cheese came out of it's brine solution yesterday afternoon, and after drying for 12 hours at room temperature, it's now in the ageing container at 52F.  Believe it or not, I can see some very faint mottling of yellow mixed in with the usually creamy white color of the cheese already.  That didn't happen last time until a few days after being in the ageing container.

Another tip I received was that it was possible that by avoiding having the cheese be too moist in the container, I accidentally let it get too dry.  So, I will have to monitor the moisture on the surface more carefully and try to find the right balance.

Finally, the cheese is supposed to weigh 2.75 lbs.  Mine weighs 3.2 lbs, or almost half a pound too much, meaning there may be too much water/whey left.  I did press it for 12 hours under medium pressure.  But I think I'll lose some weight as it ages.  So I'll weigh it again in a week to see what it is.  The salt from the brining is still on the surface.  It should pull more moisture out over time..

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