I have to make this cheese once or twice a month. My family, friends, co-workers, daughters friends, etc. love it. I like it because it is ready in only 5 days (Manchego Fresco). It melts beautifully and makes killer grilled cheese sandwiches. If you’ve never made hard cheese, this is a good starter (instant gratification, relatively speaking).
This recipe is from the book ‘Home Cheese Making’ by Ricki Carroll. Check her web site at New England Cheese Making Supply Company
Here’s what you need.
- 4 gallons unhomgenized whole milk
- 1 packet direct-set mesophilic starter
- 1 packet direct-set thermophilic starter
- 1/2 teaspoon lipase powder dissolved in 1/2 cup cool water
- 1 teaspoon liquid rennet dissolved in 1/2 cup cool water
- brine - two pounds of salt dissolved in 1 gallon cool water
Here’s what you do.
- Pour the milk into a 5 gallon, heavy bottom pot. Heat over medium high to 86° F stirring occasionally. Remove from heat.
- Sprinkle both packets of starter on the milk then stir well. Cover the pot and let set to ripen for 45 minutes.
- Add the dissolved lipase powder and stir well.
- Add diluted rennet and stir gently for a minute. Cover and let set undisturbed for 30 minutes.
- Check curd for a clean break. (No? - let set another 10 minutes then recheck.) Cut curd into 1/2 inch cubes and let set for 5 minutes to heal.
- Cut the cubes into rice size pieces by gently stirring with a stainless steel whisk for 30 minutes.
- Gradually heat the curd to 104° F while constantly and gently stirring the curd. This should take about 45 minutes. Don’t try to heat the curds and whey directly on the stove; fill your kitchen sink half way with 110° F water and place the pot of curds and whey into the water to slowly heat the curds.
- Let curds settle for 5 minutes.
- Pour off the whey and drain the curds into a large colander for several minutes.
- Line a 4 pound cheese mold with cheesecloth, ladle the curds into the mold and press with 15 pounds for 15 minutes.
- Remove from the press, peel away the cheesecloth, flip and redress. Press with 15 pounds for 15 minutes.
- Remove, flip, redress, press with 15 pounds for 15 minutes.
- Remove, flip, redress, press with 30 pounds for 6 hours.
- Remove from mold and cheesecloth. Place the cheese into the cool brine for 6 hours, turning once or twice.
- Remove the cheese from the brine and pat dry. Place the cheese on a cheese mat and store at 55° F for 5 days, turning twice a day.