Homemade Leerdammer Cheese
Leerdammer is a cheese made in a very similar way as Jarlsberg, but it is Dutch instead of Norwegian. And, other than the local origin being different for these cheeses and the fact that Leerdammer does not take as long to age (just about 4 weeks),thus developing a bit smaller holes, these cheeses have a lot in common when it comes to taste. So,if you are a fan of Jarlsberg, like me, this cheese recipe would be a great one to try.
To start off, I partially skim the cream off the cream from my milk to get 8 gallons of partially skimmed milk.
Next, after sanitizing my cheese vat, the thermometer, and stirring ladle, I pour all 8 gallons of milk into the vat and set it to medium-high heat on my largest burner. Until the milk is heated to 88 degrees Fahrenheit, I stir the milk every couple of minutes while checking the temperature.
For this recipe, I let the culture sit in the milk for 30 minutes. Then stir the milk again and add in a 1/2 cup of water that has been mixed with 1 1/2 teaspoons of rennet. 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.
|Yes, it is a HUGE pot|
Let the curds settle for 5 minutes...
...then stir the curds for 20 minutes.
The curds are then left to settle while I sanitize the items I need to remove the curds and press them.
Now, with very clean hands, I scoop the curds out of the whey and put them into a stainer that is lined with a natural cheese cloth.
Finally, I mix 1 cup of pickling salt with about 2 inches of cold water in a plastic container (see below). And place the unwrapped cheese into the salt water brine. Just a quick note, I cut my cheese into 2 pieces at this point because when I long term store my cheese for aging I vacuum seal them and the full cheese is too big for the sealing bags I use. If you want a full round you do not have to cut your cheese in half like I do.