Monday, 27 August 2012

Caprino Romano

Ugly but delicious: caprino romano (a first attempt)
With thanks to Helen, who provided the milk last year (and Albie, who was indirectly involved in milk production).

for the cheese:
4 L goats milk
1/4 t rennet
1/2 C acidophilus yogurt (we use De Winkel)

for the brine:
1.5 C salt
4 C hot water

Heat milk to 32°C, stir in culture. Ripen 1 hour, covered.
Meanwhile, dissolve rennet in 3 to 4 T water. Once milk has ripened, add rennet to milk, whisk in thoroughly.
Leave 90 minutes, or until a clean break is obtained.
Cut curds into 1/4" cubes, rest 10 minutes.
Raise the temperature very slowly to 46°C, to dry out the curds. This should take about 45 minutes. Stir the curds gently every few minutes, to prevent them from matting together.
Once 46°C is reached, drain*, place curds in a cheesecloth-lined mold.
Press at 4.5kg for 30 minutes.
Flip, press at 11.4kg for 3 hours.
Press at 18 kg for 12 hours. When you start this stage, prepare your brine (this gives the brine enough time to cool).
Remove cheese from press, and carefully peel off cheesecloth**.
Float in cold brine for 12 hours, flipping at least 3 times.
Remove, pat dry, and age in a cool, dry space*** for at least 5 months. During the first two weeks of aging, flip the cheese daily. Thereafter, flip weekly, or whenever you remember.

Apparently you can age for up to a year, if you have the patience. The result after about 6 months of aging is a subtle, mild, but tasty Romano.

If you find your cheese is developing mold on the outside, remove the mold (with salt and vinegar, or a knife), and rub the outside with salt.

Romano is a great substitute for Parmesan cheese - perfect grated fresh over pasta, or added sparingly to a pizza. We have continued to keep ours in the cheese cupboard, and not in the fridge.

*Our recipe said to hold at 46°C for 30 to 45 minutes before draining, but we couldn't get the curds to matt together afterwards, so we skipped this step the second time around, with a much better result.

**Some recipes suggest piercing the cheese all over with a fork before brining, presumably to allow the salty brine to get into the cheese. We weren't sure ours would stand up to the fork treatment, but will try this next time.

***Mr Farmer was kind enough to install a metal rack in the top of our former vacuum cleaner cupboard. The former vacuum cleaner cupboard - now the cheese cupboard - is cool, dark, airy, and (relative to other areas of the house) has low humidity. It is perfect for aging the cheese, although the now-homeless vacuum cleaner feels slightly jilted.

1 comment:

  1. Poor vacuum cleaner. How noble to give up his space to the betterment of mankind. Thank you Helen and Albie for inadvertently providing the impetus for this recipe. :) That, too, shall contribute to the betterment of mankind...and womankind....and kidkind...and well, all sorts of kinds.