April 27, 2010

I opened up one of the half-rounds of the Monterey Jack cheese I made in March. It doesn't taste anything like Monterey Jack cheese. It's not bad, just dry and crumbly and on the extra-sharp side. And it's only been aging a month. I don't know if I over-heated, or heated too fast, or over-handled the curds. It could also be the effect of letting it sit in the press three extra hours, but I doubt it. I seem to remember thinking that it was pretty dry when it went into the press.

Also, there was some mold on the rind under the wax this time. So I either waxed it before the rind was completely dry, I wasn't thorough about checking for and removing any nascent mold before waxing, or I managed to trap an air bubble between the wax and the rind. Since I hadn't trimmed down the cheesecloth yet for this round of cheesemaking, I had one surface of the round that was excessively uneven, so even that last possibility isn't outlandish.

I wonder if this cheese's hesitation to melt is a result of it's dryness? Has anyone ever tried to melt manchego? This had a texture much the same, and despite spending nearly 40 minutes at 350 degrees becoming part of tonight's kale enchiladas, it had just started to think about maybe getting around to melting. Not exactly the result one wants in an enchilada, really. Knowing this, I wonder what I'll think up to do with the other half-round...

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