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Monterey Jack is an American semi-hard cheese made using cow’s milk. You may also find other ‘Jack’ varieties including Pepper Jack and Colby Jack. To get a softer Jack the cheese is aged for 1 month while some can be aged up to 6 months but this will result in a firmer, crumblier cheese.
Make time – About 6 hours plus 12 hours pressing.
- 10 litres of Raw, Whole Milk
- 1/4 Teaspoon Mesophilic Starter
- Rennet diluted in 50mls boiled and cooled water – amount according to makers instructions
- 15 grams Kosher or Canning Salt
- Optional – finely diced garden Herbs, Horseradish or Chillies
- Pour Milk into stockpot and heat to 32 degrees Celcius.
- Add starter culture and stir thoroughly to combine.
- Leave milk to ripen for 45 minutes.
- Stir 15 grams of salt into the diluted Rennet.
- Pour the salty Rennet into the milk and stir for 1 minute.
- Leave the milk to set for 1 hour or until the curd has set with a clean break.
- Cut the curd in 1 cm cubes and then let the curds rest for 5 minutes.
- Heat to 38 degrees Celcius over 30 minutes. This means increasing the temperature no more than 1 degree every 5 minutes.
- Stir frequently during this time to stop the curds matting together.
- Once you have reached 38 degrees Celcius maintain this temperature for another 30 minutes, again stirring frequently to prevent matting.
- Let the curds rest for 5 minutes.
- Pour off the whey so that the curds are only just showing at the bottom of the pot.
- Leave the curds to set for 30 minutes, stirring every 5 to prevent matting.
- Pour the curds into a cheesecloth line colander to drain remaining whey.
- Add 15 grams of salt and herbs if using and mix by hand.
- Pour curds into mold and press at 5kg for 20 minutes.
- Remove, turn and redress and press at 10kg for 20 minutes.
- Remove, turn and redress and press at 15kg for 12 hours.
- Remove the cheese and wash with brine solution.
- Air dry at room temperature on cheese mats (cover with fly net) for 3 days.
- Wax or vacuum pack when cheese is dry to the touch and the rind has turned a darker yellow.
Store in cool area or cheese fridge and age for 1-4 months, turning the cheese every few days in the first month and once a week for remaining months.