May brings us to Cheesepalooza Challenge 10 – Washed Rind Cheese (The “Stinkers”)! Now these are some of our favourite cheeses, and so many to choose from. The challenge is to make the Ale Washed Trappist Cheese or Any Washed Rind Cheese. As with the other challenges we used the recipes from Mary Karlin’s Artisan Cheese Making. There were lots of choices, but we settled on the Époisses – but with a twist!
I clearly remember the first time having Époisse, we had a Beaujolais nouveau party with all the guests brining a different cheese, and the one we provided was the Époisse (we still have the box). It was heavenly! One of its characteristics is being a very pungent or stinky cheese, with an orangey rind from the addition of the Brevibacterium lines (or B linens) and the washing of the cheese in marc de Bourgogne. The real Époisses comes not surprisingly from the village of Époisses in Frances Côte-d’Or. As with so many great cheeses it was originally made by monks and then passed on to the local villagers. It is also very famous cheese being loved by the likes of Napolean and Brillat-Savarin.
Now on to our take! Since I did not have any marc de Bourgogne, and wanting to try something different, we decided to use scotch as the wash. Since this was the first experiment we used some Glenfiddich for the wash.
The process for the Époisses was similiar to the other cheeses except for the addition of the B linens and the wash process. We assembled all of our ingredients and sterlized all our equipment. We used our go to milk of choice Vital Greens un homogenized whole milk.
After 30 minutes the calcium chloride and rennet were added and left to ripen for 4 hours. I believe the long ripening time was due to the small amount of rennet added compared to other cheeses we have made. We checked the break and it was nice and clean.
They were then left to drain for 24 hours – during this time they were flipped every 2 hours (except in the middle of the night) to keep a good shape. After the 24 hours we had 2 nice cheeses! These were rubbed with salt and allowed to dry for around 18 hours.
After drying, the cheeses were placed in a ripening box (AKA rectangular ziploc container) on a mat. They now ripen for about 6 weeks at 50 degrees F and fairly high humidity of 90%. By placing damp paper towel in the ripening box and closing it we are able to get the higher humidity.
During the ripening there are 3 phases of washing, with flipping the cheese every 3 days (in order to keep track of this I created a new Calendar and made recurring appointments, so that I would not forget to wash and flip!). The first involved a simple brine wash for the first week. The second phase for 2 weeks saw diluted scotch alternated with the brine wash, which is were we are as of this writing and shown in the photo below.
The third phase for the final 3 weeks involves scotch neat, alternated with the brine wash.
Already the cheese is beginning to take on a slight orangey hue, and definitely has a developing aroma! The rind is also sticky to the touch.
We are definitely looking forward to enjoying this cheese in a few weeks and will update with the tasting notes!