Thursday, July 30, 2015
Summer has been flying by this year. I can't believe July is already almost over! Towards the latter part of summer, a surplus of fresh corn simply begs to be grilled, roasted, and boiled. It's a wonderful ingredient to add a taste of summer to nearly any dish.
I love using fresh corn, whether I'm making creamy and luscious corn soup or a truly unique pasta sauce featuring corn crema, pizza topped with cherry tomatoes and corn or a corn risotto.
Corn is a great ingredient for delicious snacks as well. This roasted corn and black bean salsa is an incredibly easy and delicious way to feature corn in a flavorful salsa that can be used to top meats, stuffed into quesadillas, or simply served with tortilla chips. I recommend using tortilla chip scoops since they can comfortably hold a big spoonful of this chunky salsa along with some of the juicy lime-based sauce that holds it all together.
Canned black beans create a nice base for this salsa, although if you're able to cook your beans from scratch they will obviously have more flavor. In either case, the remaining ingredients in this salsa certainly add tons of wonderful summery flavor, from the fresh tomato to the crunchy onion and smoky chipotles in adobo.
This is an excellent late summer snack and accompaniment for a variety of grilled proteins. Definitely try it out before summer comes to an end!
Roasted Corn and Black Bean Salsa
Makes about 1 3/4 cups
(Adapted from Salsas and Moles)
1 ear fresh sweet corn
1/2 teaspoon vegetable oil
1/2 cup cooked black beans, rinsed and drained
1 roma tomato, cored, seeded, and diced into 1/4-inch pieces
1/4 cup diced red onion, in 1/4-inch pieces (white or yellow onion will work too)
1 or 2 chipotle chiles in adobo, finely chopped
10 sprigs cilantro, stemmed and chopped
Juice of 1 lime
1/2 to 1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon crumbled Cotija cheese (optional)
Lightly coat the corn with oil. Heat a heavy skillet or griddle over medium-high heat. When hot, place the corn in the pan. Rotate it every few minutes until it is well browned on all sides. Remove from the skillet and allow to cool. Cut the corn from the cob and place the kernels in a bowl.
Stir in the beans, tomato, onion, chipotles, cilantro, lime juice, and salt, and sprinkle with cotija cheese on top, if desired.
*Serving Ideas* This salsa is colorful and delicious on tostadas or tostones (fried plantain slices) as a botana (snack), tossed in a salad, served alongside grilled meats, or added to a gooey quesadilla. Substitute 3/4 cup of cooked diced orange sweet potato for the corn for an equally delicious seasonal variation.
Monday, July 27, 2015
Within a restored bank building in downtown Providence, is a fine dining spot that boasts some of the best craft cocktails in the area. The Dorrance is named after the street upon which it stands, and features vaulted ceilings and large windows which provide an open and airy vibe throughout the vast, elegant space. Private events, such as wedding receptions, are held here on Sundays and Mondays when the restaurant is otherwise closed.
A gorgeous bar stretches across the center of the cavernous dining room, with a lounge area adjacent to it. Towards the back of one of the dining spaces is an old bank vault which is dressed as a sitting room, although on a previous visit during the wintertime it was used as the coat check room. It's actually quite fascinating checking out the giant and complex doors to the former vault.
|The vault/sitting room/coat check|
|Inside the "vault"|
|Vault gears with a reflection of one of the picture windows|
My two favorite things about The Dorrance include the incredible ambiance and the outstanding craft cocktails. These drinks change seasonally, and are not your average mixed drinks. There's probably a dozen different bitters used throughout the varied cocktails at any one time, and each recipe is beautifully crafted and executed.
I've visited The Dorrance thrice, once for cocktails at the bar, once for Restaurant Week this past winter, and once for Restaurant Week earlier this month. I love that The Dorrance includes their regular menu items as RW options. There's nothing worse than when a restaurant creates a completely unique menu for RW which showcases much cheaper and inferior dishes to what they normally create. A few new dishes are fine, but I like to see and taste a true example of what the restaurant offers.
I've had my share of cocktails at The Dorrance over the past visits, usually drinking a couple myself, and even tasting others my dining companions order, and I can honestly say they have all been fantastic. My photographs from my previous visits are dark and grainy cell phone pictures, so I won't be sharing those. Today, I'll only share the photos from my most recent meal.
Let's begin with cocktails. It's the best way to start! On our most recent trip to The Dorrance, my sister elected the Blackberry Beret, featuring Pisco, Lime, Jalapeno Kumquat Syrup, Blackberries, and Angostura. We loved the slight warmth from the jalapeno kumquat syrup that reminds me of the affect ginger has on one's throat.
|Blackberry Beret $10|
My first cocktail choice was Send a Boat, containing Don Q Rum, Aperol, Cherry Herring, Lime, Rhubarb, Tiki and Angostura Bitters. It tastes like liquid alcoholic cherry candy... in a good way! This is my favorite drink of the night, and my sister loved it so much she ordered it as her followup after she finished her Blackberry Beret.
|Send a Boat $10|
My second drink of the event was the Bello Desmadre (Beautiful Disaster), containing Del Maguey Vida Mezcal, Amiaro Montenegro, Blueberry Syrup, Lime, Allspice Dram, and Angostura. If you're not familiar with Mezcal, it's basically a smoky tequila. This cocktail is an absolutely stunning color and almost tastes like a barbecue cocktail. The smoky flavor and the sweetness of the drink itself reminds me of a sweet barbecue sauce. It's a little odd if you're not used to it, but honestly, I did really enjoy this drink, just not as much as Send a Boat.
|Bello Desmadre (Beautiful Disaster) $12|
For my appetizer both last winter and this summer, I ordered the same dish. I absolutely fell in love with the Mussels Normandy (featuring Apples, Forest Mushrooms, House Made Bacon, Brandy, Shallots, and Cream) last winter, and couldn't resist getting it again. I'm not gonna lie. I was a little let down. I remember absolutely swooning over the flavors the first time I tried it, but on a repeat visit it didn't taste the same. The flavors were a bit more muted, and a couple of my mussels contained some grit. The dish was subpar compared to the original I had tried. Not sure if it was an off night, the mussels were decent, but after loving it previously it just felt like a bit of a letdown. I have a feeling that my second, so-so experience is the exception to the rule.
My sister had the Curried Cauliflower dish. It contains Crispy Cauliflower Florets, Toasted Cashews, Tamarind Yogurt, Chili Threads, Pickled Radish, Lime Jam, and Mint. I had a small taste and thought it was well done. I like the curry flavor a lot, and yet find it balanced and not overdone.
|Curried Cauliflower $10|
The Roasted Chicken entree features Murray's Chicken Breast, Pea Tendrils, Marble Potatoes, Petite Carrots, and Preserved Lemon Jus. This was my sister's pick and she really liked it. I took a bite and thought it screamed comfort. It's really beautiful and rustic too. We'd happily recommend it.
|Roasted Chicken $26|
My entree was the New York Sirloin with Celery Root Puree, Local Cauliflower, Cippolini Onions, Porcini Dust, French Breakfast Radish. I ordered medium-rare, but found it to be more on the medium side (I do find that when steak is pre-sliced it can dry out/appear or taste overcooked, so that could be the culprit). The celery root puree was one of my favorite components. It was silky smooth, a great contrast to the crisp texture of the onions and cauliflower. I liked this dish overall, though I wish the meat was a bit bloodier.
|New York Sirloin $29|
Dessert at The Dorrance is also quite lovely. The Tropical Panna Cotta is incredibly refreshing, with mango, coconut, and pineapple flavors galore. Two thumbs up for this fruity dessert option that takes my mind and tastebuds to a tropical island.
|Tropical Panna Cotta $9|
I also love the Give Me S'more!, which is a play on s'mores, featuring Flourless Chocolate Cake, Toasted Marshmallow, Graham Cracker Crumble, and Cinnamon Creme Anglaise. The cinnamon flavor really packs a punch, both from the sauce and the actual graham cracker crumble. It's a great foil to the intense chocolate. A really nice decadent dessert option.
|Give Me S'more! $9|
All in all, I've had three memorable visits to The Dorrance thus far. I can't say enough about the beautiful space and the stellar cocktails. The food is great overall, but there are a few dishes that fall a little flat for me in terms of execution, at least on my most recent visit. Previously, I had loved all the dishes I tried (a wonderful short rib dish in the middle of winter was perfection), so I still think the problem was just a slightly off-night, and even that's very slightly, as the majority of the food was excellent.
P.S. I saw a girl eating a ridiculously awesome looking burger at the bar, and upon research I see it on the Bar and Lounge menu entitled Po' Burger and Fries. Apparently it's topped with fried oysters, among other things. I'm pretty sure this burger and I are about to become best friends. I'll update this review at some point once I get a chance to try it out :) Stay tuned!
60 Dorrance St
Providence, RI 02903
Thursday, July 23, 2015
I first explored Marc Vetri's newest cookbook Mastering Pasta back in April when I tested out the delectable Eggplant and Parmesan Rotolo. I was very impressed not only by this recipe, but by this incredibly detailed book about making homemade pasta. I had made just over 1 pound of pasta, but only used half of it for that recipe, freezing the rest for another occasion.
That occasion came recently, with the arrival of fresh corn at the market. I decided to halve the recipe for Fettuccine with Corn Crema and Charred Green Onions to use my remaining half pound of dough (but the recipe below uses the original measurements). I love finding nontraditional ways to sauce my pasta, and featuring sweet and creamy corn crema is a great alternative to the expected.
Corn has a natural silkiness when pureed, even without using rich cream or butter. This particular recipe simply uses water, and if you make eggless dough and omit the cheese garnish, the recipe is completely vegan.
As summer progresses, and corn season comes into full swing, I plan to definitely make this delicious pasta dish again. It's surprisingly light yet has an air of decadence in its slightly sweet sauce. Add a little character from the charred green onions, and this is a vibrant and bright dish fitting of the season.
|Photo from Mastering Pasta|
Fettuccine with Corn Crema and Charred Green Onions
Serves 4 to 6
(Adapted from Mastering Pasta)
1 pound fresh pasta dough, rolled into sheets about 1/8-inch thick (I actually rolled mine a bit thinner, using #4 on my Kitchenaid pasta roller attachment, although 1/8-inch would be #2 or #3)*
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons (21 g) finely chopped yellow onion
2 large ears corn, shucked and kernels cut from cobs
1/4 cup water, or more as needed
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 small green onions, trimmed
1 chunk ricotta salata cheese, for grating (optional)
Cut each pasta sheet into 3-inch lengths and trim the edges square, if desired for neater looking fettuccine. Feed 1 length of dough at a time through the fettuccine cutter, dusting the dough lightly with flour as it is cut into strands (I find that if you slightly dry out the pasta sheets before cutting them, the strands separate more easily). Alternatively, you may hand-cut the pasta sheets into pappardelle (nearly 1-inch wide strips) or tagliatelle (about 1/4-inch wide strips). Coil the fettuccine into nests and set them on a floured baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining sheets. Use the fettuccine immediately or freeze in an airtight container for up to 1 month. Take the pasta right from the freezer to the boiling water.
Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the yellow onion and sweat it until it is soft but not browned, 2 to 3 minutes. Add all but 1/4 cup of the corn kernels and the water. Simmer the corn gently until it is heated through and almost tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Taste the mixture, adding salt and pepper as needed. Transfer mixture to a blender and puree until smooth. You may need to add a few more tablespoons of water, a little at a time as needed, to yield a smooth puree.
Heat a cast-iron skillet over high heat until it is smoking hot. Add the green onions and cook, turning once, until charred on two sides, about 1 minute per side. Remove the skillet from the heat, transfer the onions to a cutting board, and chop finely. Heat a large, deep skillet over medium heat and pour in the remaining 1 tablespoon oil. When the oil is hot, add the reserved 1/4 cup corn kernels and the chopped green onions and cook, stirring, for 1 minute, then stir in the corn crema. Keep warm over very low heat.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Drop in the fettuccine, stir, and cover the pot to quickly return the water to a boil. Cook the pasta until tender but still a little chewy, 4 to 5 minutes. Using a spider strainer or tongs, drain the pasta by transferring it to the pan of sauce. Reserve the pasta water.
Add about 1/2 cup of the pasta water to the sauce and pasta mixture and cook over medium-high heat, tossing and stirring vigorously until the sauce reduces slightly, becomes very creamy, and coats the pasta, about 2 minutes. Add more water as necessary to yield a creamy sauce that clings to the noodles. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.
Serve the pasta on warmed plates and grate ricotta salata over the top, if desired.
*Note* I used a recipe similar to this basic dough, but with bread flour, an extra egg, and a tablespoon of olive oil and added a bit extra flour as needed to get the right texture. It yielded about 1 1/8 pounds dough.
Monday, July 20, 2015
I'm definitely a kitchen do-it-yourselfer. I love learning how different things are made, and taking the time to make them myself from scratch whenever I have the opportunity. In addition to staples like fresh pasta and home-baked bread, I've dabbled a little in cheesemaking. I've made some very basic cultured dairy products, such as yogurt, ricotta cheese, mascarpone cheese, and creme fraiche, as well as a more complex mozzarella.
I've been intrigued by cheesemaking, but never really went beyond my comfort zone. Well, enter Kitchen Creamery by Louella Hill. It should more aptly be called The Cheesemaking Bible because that's exactly the way it reads. I'll be honest, when I first received my review copy of the book and started just skimming some of the recipes, I panicked. I worried that I had bit off more than I could chew, and that I'd need to spend a lot of time and money to make any of the non-basic recipes.
Fortunately, I took a deep breath, flipped back to the beginning of the book and started reading. This is definitely a book that you need to actually read from beginning to end to really have an understanding of how to make cheese in the most fundamental sense. If you don't read all of the introductory information, as well as the appendices, you will miss a lot of vital information that could save you when making cheese in your home kitchen.
Louella has done an exemplary job with this book. After reading all the fine print, I felt more than confident to attempt some of the intermediate cheese recipes (since I had already made several of the basics on my own previously). My main concern was still in regards to sourcing cultures and finding or purchasing forms. Although many of the recipes call for specific sizes or shapes of forms, there are some great tips on using other materials as forms for your cheeses, and there are some recipes that don't use forms at all!
|This Baby Jack cheese is shaped simply in a cheesecloth-lined colander and then pressed! Louella states that the same technique can be used with other pressed cheeses to create a more rustic look and avoid using an actual form.|
Each recipe also indicates all the key information you will need before determining whether or not you can make or would like to make that particular cheese. A bar along the edge indicates what type of milk to use, suggested cultures, final form, categories, and time to completion. The recipes are also color-coded by difficulty level.
Louella points out that you should not plan on making all of the cheeses in the book, but rather focusing on one or a few at a time and trying to master and manipulate them by making them over and over again. I can see why this is an especially good piece of advice because many cheeses require different cultures and different tools in some cases, so although there may be some repetition, you'd need a lot to build a serious cheesemaking pantry until you're ready to do so.
You can easily begin cheesemaking without having to commit to purchasing too many products. After reading through the entire book, I decided to focus my early cheesemaking attempts on the Mold-Ripened Cheeses chapter. I did this for a few reasons. One, I love stinky cheese. Two, There are at least a couple recipes in this section that can easily be made with homemade forms instead of purchasing anything extra. Three, I was able to find a very reasonably priced kit containing smaller amounts of the cultures and molds required to make both bloomy-rind cheeses (think Camembert and Brie) and blue cheeses.
These packets, priced under $10 including shipping and sold by The Cheesemaker contain more than enough for me to make several wheels of mold-ripened cheeses. It includes the culture, powdered rennet, and mold which can be used for camembert and/or blue cheeses. The culture and molds were pre-measured and pre-mixed into baggies for Camembert and separate baggies for blue. I also purchased calcium chloride from the same vendor.
I was a bit disappointed since I didn't realize the cultures and mold spores would be mixed together and I couldn't measure them to Louella's recipes, but the measurements asked for are so small (a quarter teaspoon and sometimes even just a pinch) that I hoped it would be okay to let go of a little control.
I measured out the pre-mixed cultures and molds and determined that I needed to use both packets for a single recipe of Stilton to have a heaping 1/4 teaspoon in total. I also used all four packets of rennet for a single Stilton recipe, so I'd obtain more before making more cheese in the future with the remaining Camembert packets.
I discovered this vendor in the resources section of Kitchen Creamery and I highly recommend them myself for their great products and excellent customer service! I emailed them with a question and received a response perhaps 10 minutes later, and then when I actually placed my order, I received confirmation that it was shipped 20 minutes after placing the order! That's fast! Just keep in mind that the packets that I purchased were already pre-mixed. If I find myself making more and more cheese, I will buy the cultures and molds individually next time in a larger quantity, but for beginners like myself, this is a great option.
The Stilton recipe in the book actually uses an extra-tall open-bottomed form, such as a 32-ounce can with both the top and bottom taken off. I could only find 28-ounce or 48-ounce cans depending on the product (canned tomatoes for the former, canned tomato or pineapple juice for the latter). I contacted Louella and she said the 28-ounce can is just fine. That's easy enough! The Camembert uses a bottomless mold as well studded with holes around the sides. In a fun graphic within the introduction of the book, Louella suggests PVC pipe that is cut and drilled as a repurposed form.
I actually purchased two PVC pipe repair coupling fittings (whatever the heck those are) which were actually 4 1/2 inches in diameter and 4 inches tall, and then drilled holes in them similar to those on actual Camembert forms or molds. By doing it myself, I saved about $12 (although prices could change at any time). It may not seem like a lot, but it can add up. If you plan on making Camembert or Brie but would rather purchase your own forms, you can find some here in different sizes.
I can't stress enough what a wonderful job Louella has done with the amount of detail included in this book. It includes charts galore and even contains sample sheets you can copy to make notes for your cheesemaking adventures. Keeping good notes both while making your cheese and throughout the potential weeks or even months aging them is a great way to remember what you've done, and then replicate it or even change it if necessary for future batches.
When you make cheese, the milk separates into curds (which you use to make the actual cheeses) and whey, a protein-rich liquid. Within three hours of making another rennet-based cheese, you can actually use this whey to create Whey Ricotta. Louella doesn't recommend using the whey from mold-ripened cheeses for the Whey Ricotta, but I plan to try some other styles of cheese in the future, and love the idea of making two cheeses for the price of one!
To start, I planned on making both the Camembert and Stilton cheeses (and perhaps even others from that chapter) since I have the cultures and molds for both, as well as my handy dandy homemade forms (the drilled PVC pipe and the topless and bottomless can).
In order to maintain the temperatures as best as possible for aging, I actually rigged my old college dorm refrigerator to use for this purpose. It's usually only used for parties when we need a little extra fridge space, but it's perfect for cheesemaking! For one thing, there is no chance to contaminate other foods in the fridge with molds from my cheese, but I can also maintain a constant temperature (especially since it's no longer winter and there aren't any particularly cool spots in my home where I can properly age cheese).
With that said, I began my cheesemaking endeavors on May 10th at 6:30 pm. I kept meticulous notes of the cheesemaking and aging process on copies of the worksheets found in the book. I was pretty nervous, even with the ample information provided in Kitchen Creamery, but through occasional emails to Louella along with photos of my progressing cheese, my anxiety quickly faded.
On July 16th around 8:55 am, I cut into my Stilton to discover a beautiful blue-veined cheese that I couldn't wait to dig into!
The smaller blue is drier (as expected) since it technically required less aging time than the big one. The texture reminded me almost of a cheddar. Not super crumbly, but not creamy either. Somewhat pungent and firm.
The big blue is glossy with streaks of bloomy cheese that reminds me a bit of Brie by its shine, but is otherwise not gooey at all. The texture is not quite as rich and spreadable as a Roquefort, but still a bit softer and not naturally crumbly (although you can easily still crumble it, it doesn't crumble upon contact like some dry blues do). It probably could have aged longer to obtain a drier consistency, but personally, I like the texture and the less assertive blue flavor. It's still "stinky" but not super intense.
My Stilton aged for about 10 weeks, which is longer than the book suggests (it said 6 to 8), but in my case it simply was necessary. I was aging in a mini-fridge with an adjusted temp, but even with the temp in the required range, it perhaps was still cooler overall than ideal, thus the longer aging.
I'm super thrilled with the results of my cheesemaking! In fact, I was so excited I decided to share a "birth" announcement for my cheese on social media!
I plan on waiting until the fall before starting my next cheese, simply because the weather should be cool enough that I may be able to age my followup cheese on an enclosed patio or in the basement if the temperature is right. I may also make more than one cheese at once, overlapping the aging time a bit, but since this was my first try, I didn't want to overwhelm myself.
Upcoming cheeses I plan to make include more Stilton, Camembert, and I'm thinking of making a free-form Havarti (similar to the Baby Jack in the book) as well!
I definitely recommend Kitchen Creamery if you have any interest in making homemade cheese. There are tons of recipes for cheeses that do not require aging or fancy equipment, so don't be put off if you just can't fathom the time commitment for making an aged cheese. At the very least, this book will give readers an appreciation for the amount of time and effort involved in cheesemaking. No wonder so many fancy cheeses cost so much in the store!
Makes one (1 1/2 pound) wheel
(From Kitchen Creamery)
2 gallons whole milk (not ultra-pasteurized)
1/4 teaspoon prehydrated mesophilic cultures* (such as MM100)
1/8 teaspoon prehydrated Penicillium roqueforti mold spores*
1/4 teaspoon calcium chloride diluted in 1/4 cup water
1/4 teaspoon rennet diluted in 1/4 cup water
4 to 5 teaspoons salt
Special Equipment: medium (60#) cheesecloth; digital kitchen thermometer; medium cheese form, ideally extra-tall and open-bottomed (a 32-ounce can with both the top and bottom taken off to form a hoop works perfectly); #6 knitting needle or equivalent for piercing
Clean all surfaces and equipment before beginning. Set up a draining station by placing a clean colander lined with the cheesecloth in the sink.
Pour the milk into a heavy-bottomed stockpot and warm over medium heat to 86 degrees F, stirring gently. Remove from the heat.
Add the cultures and mold to the milk. Allow them to hydrate for 2 minutes, then stir in, using an up-and-down motion.
Add the calcium chloride solution and stir briefly. Add the rennet solution. Stir in for 20 seconds, then stop the motion of the milk but stirring the opposite direction for a moment. As you add the rennet, start a timer and watch for the flocculation point**. When reached, stop the timer. Multiply the number of minutes elapsed by 5.5. This is how long you need to wait before you cut the curd. Goal time is 90 minutes.
At the timed moment, cut the curd into 1/2-inch pieces. Stir gently for 10 minutes, then let the curds settle to the bottom of the pot for another 10 minutes.
Pour off the whey that has collected at the top of the pot, then gently pour the curds into the prepared colander. Cover the colander with additional cheesecloth or knot the corners of the cloth to form a pouch. Drain for 12 hours at room temperature.
Afterward, open up the cheesecloth and move the drained curds to a bowl. With clean hands, break the curd into walnut-size chunks. Add half the salt to the curd chunks, toss to incorporate, then wait 2 minutes. Add the remaining salt and repeat the mixing process. The curds will taste very salty.
After salting, fill your prepared cheese form with the curds, packing them in, using your fingertips to very gently press down on the cheese. Do not press too hard (or you will compact all the spaces where the blue mold is going to grow) but use enough pressure that the cheese starts to knit together slightly. An underpressed cheese will fall apart when flipped. Place the curd-filled form on a draining rack (such as a sushi mat).
Keep the cheese in its form, at room temperature, for 8 to 10 hours more, flipping after 2 hours and again after 6 hours. Flipping is especially easy if you are using an open-bottomed form.
Finally, remove the cheese from its form by gently pushing it out and onto an aging mat (such as a sushi mat). With a knife or spatula, gently smear the sides of the cheese--as though you were frosting a cake--to help fill in the gaps and to form a more closed rind. Move slowly; I know it's difficult to do because the cheese is crumbly. Move the cheese into a clean aging bin. Cover with the lid. Place the bin in a 65 degree F location for 2 to 3 days. This warmer period is important for acid development that activates the blue mold spores. Remove built-up moisture from the bin as needed.
After 2 to 3 days, take the knitting needle and pierce the cheese a half dozen times horizontally. You can make more pierces vertically if you wish.
Now move the bin and cheese to a cooler (50 to 55 degrees F) location. Keep the lid on the box but not locked down. Turn the cheese every 3 days. Begin to wipe the rind with your fingertips or a small piece of cheesecloth if excessive molds start to grow. Eventually, the rind will start to feel sticky and turn brown or pinkish in color.
For extra veining, pierce the cheese again between days 10 and 14.
Ripen the cheese for 6 to 8 weeks, flipping and maintaining the rind and moisture levels. Ripen the cheese for 3 to 5 weeks longer if aging in a refrigerator.
Enjoy, or wrap the cheese in aluminum foil and keep in the fridge, uncut, for up to 1 month.
*To prehydrate cultures: two hours before beginning your batch of cheese, take 1 cup of warm (about 86 degrees F) milk (just grab it from the milk you'll be using) and sprinkle the freeze-dried cultures over the surface. Wait 2 minutes for them to hydrate, then stir in. Hold this cup in a warm location for up to 2 hours, and ideally no less than 1 hour before adding it to the vat when called for in the recipe.
**To find the flocculation point: At the same time you start the timer, set a bottle cap (upside down) or a Styrofoam bowl (right-side up) on the surface of the milk. It should float. Use your finger to tap the cap or bowl. Keep tapping until it stops moving easily and seems to bounce backward toward your finger; at that moment, stop the timer. This is the flocculation point. Take the number of minutes that passed and multiply by the numerical factor given in the recipe.
*Disclaimer* I received no compensation to write this review other than a free copy of the book. My opinions are always my own.