Monday, August 27, 2012

Saffron Infused Manchego

It has been a while since I tried a new and untested (by me) cheese recipe. Almost a year ago I bought a book called Artisan Cheese Making at Home but have only made one of the recipes from it. Time to venture into uncharted territory. After much thumbing through pages I decided on the Saffron infused Manchego. I have made a Manchego about 2 years ago and wasn't overly impressed by it but this was a new recipe with the saffron being an added twist. The recipe in this book also called for cow's milk rather than the traditional sheep's milk so I thought I would give it a go.
The saffron threads are introduced to the milk right from the start as the milk is being warmed to the right temperature for adding the culture. There was some colour bleeding from them but not a lot so I am not sure they will make much difference to the final product.

                           After adding both mesophilic and thermoduric starters, the milk sits for 45 minutes before rennet is added. I also added some lipase to intensify the ultimate flavour of the cheese. Once the curd shows a clean break, it is then cut first into half inch cubes and then into rice size pieces using a whisk. The recipe then calls for a considerable time of stirring, firstly 30 minutes at the cutting temperature of 86 degrees F and then another 30 minutes as the temperature is gradually increased to 104 degrees F. An hour of stirring and doing nothing else didn't really appeal to me so what does one do in this technological age but set up the laptop next to the stove and watch a movie as I stirred. That way the time went really quickly!
After draining the curd, it went into a mould and the press for several sessions of 15 minutes at 7.5 kg and then finally for 15 kg overnight.
Next morning it was into a medium brine for the day. You can still see one little thread of saffron sitting there!
Then into the cheese cave to ripen for the next 3 months. It will need to be flipped every day and wiped down with vinegar if any  mould spots appear. Better go and do the daily flip now.

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