Hot Pepper Havarti
To start off, I partially skim the cream off the cream from my milk to get 8 gallons of partially skimmed milk.
Stir in the culture. I use the ladle to draw down the culture with up and down motions about 20 times to make sure it is fully incorporated into the milk. Then, let sit for 30 minutes to ripen.
After the 30 minutes are up, I then stir the cultured milk again and add a mixture of 1/2 cup water plus 1 1/2 teaspoons of liquid rennet. I use a vegetarian rennet liquid because it works well for me every time. Make sure to stir the rennet into the cultured milk really well, just like the culture had been stirred in, with about 20 up and down strokes, otherwise the cheese will not set properly.
In the meanwhile prepare the hot peppers for the cheese. First, remove the stems from a few dried hot peppers and put them in a food processor.
After chopping the peppers.
Put the peppers into 4 cups of water and then bring to a boil and simmer for at least 5 minutes. BEWARE - THIS PROCESS WILL CREATE QUITE A PUNGENT SMELL IN YOUR KITCHEN. DO NOT BREATH RIGHT OVER THE POT!
Remove from the heat, cover and set aside.
After 45 minutes to an hour, your cheese should have set and it should look like milk jello (notice the time range - this is to make sure the cheese curd is firm before cutting) . With a sanitized knife, I then cut the curd into pieces.
Gently stir the curds for 10 minutes after cutting and then let them settle.
Now, ladle off 1/3 of the liquid. I find it is helpful to use a sanitized strainer and large measuring cup so that only the whey is taken out and not the curds.
|See the line where the whey level used to be?|
Stir the mixture every 5 minutes over a 30 minute period and then drain the majority of the whey off the curds.
Add in the hot pepper mixture and stir well.
Let sit for 15 minutes in a covered pot.