fat cow

I got it into my head that I wanted a super-creamy slicing cheese, so… I developed one!

Fat Cow is a variation of Butterkäse, that crowd-pleasing, semi-soft, washed-curd German cheese. My changes included culturing the milk with homemade yogurt and boosting it with an entire half gallon of cream because: if you want a creamier cheese, add more cream! Also, I tried to handle the curds less than normal: cutting them larger, cooking them more slowly, and stirring them less. 

The result?

It was exactly what I was going for: a sliceable — yet spreadable! — snacking cheese that’s mild with a bit of tang (think: cream cheese), ready in only 4 weeks, and enormously high-yielding.

sliceable AND spreadable

My six-and-a-half gallons of milk and cream yielded a 10-pound monster. ROAR.

Tasting video coming soon…

I do realize this isn’t a recipe most people will attempt, and I try to reserve the intricacies of cheesemaking for my YouTube channel, but since this blog is where I compile all my recipes — including the cheesy ones, haha — here we are.

Fat Cow Cheese
Recipe inspiration from Gavin Webber, Venison for Dinner, and Cheese 52.

If starting the cheese in the early morning, it should be ready to go into the brine at bedtime. If started late afternoon, it will be ready for the long press right at bedtime, and then can be popped into the brine first thing the next morning. 

To watch the recipe in development, go here.

6½ gallons whole milk
2 quarts heavy whipping cream
1½ teaspoons calcium chloride
1½ teaspoons rennet
1 generous cup yogurt
saturated salt brine

Heat the milk and cream to 102 degrees. 

Thin the yogurt with some of the warm milk and add it to the milk. Stir gently for about a minute. Lid the kettle and let the milk ripen for 40 minutes.

Dilute the calcium chloride with a little water and stir into the milk. Dilute the rennet with a little water and add to the milk. Stir gently (in an up-and-down motion) for no more than one minute. Lid the kettle and let rest for 40 minutes. 

Check for a clean break. (If not yet ready, let rest for another 10 minutes.) Cut the curds into ½-inch cubes. Let them rest (heal) for 5 minutes. 

Gently stir the curds for 20 minutes. Cut/break any curds that are still too large. Allow the curds to rest for 5 minutes to settle to the bottom.

Washing the Curd
Remove half of the whey. (I couldn’t get half of the whey because the curds kept popping up. I could’ve held the curds at bay with a strainer and scooped the whey out of that, but instead I choose to start washing the curds and then, once I had more liquid, I removed more. Either way! Just make sure you don’t stir too much or too hard — be gentle!)

Over the course of 5-10 minutes, add warm water (about 140 degrees) until the temperature reaches 108 degrees, stirring gently all the while. (If you didn’t get half of the whey removed the first time around, do it during this part.) 

Once the curds reach 108 degrees, turn off the heat and continue to stir gently for 10 minutes. The goal is to poach the curds — they should be cooked through, with no whey trapped inside. (Trapped whey damages the cheese during the aging process, resulting in a more acidic, crumbly cheese.) If you find curds that are too juicy-wet, simply tear/cut them in half, or remove them.

To test if the curds are done, squeeze them in your fist. The curds should knit together in a solid mass that can roll around in your hand, or dangle from your fingertips without falling apart, and will then separate back into curds when you rub them. 

Let the curds rest in the whey for 10 minutes. 

Pressing and Brining
Pour off the whey. Transfer the curds to a cheesecloth-lined mold and top with a follower. Press lightly for the first hour, flipping every 30 minutes. Increase the pressure to 20-30 pounds (this is still fairly light) and press for 9 hours. Flip as needed.

Weigh the cheese and then brine it in a saturated salt brine, about 4 hours for every pound. (For example, my cheese weighed 10 pounds so I brined it for 40 hours.) Flip halfway through. Dry-salt the exposed surface.

Air Drying and Aging
Air dry the cheese for 2-3 days, flipping twice a day. Vac-pack and age at 55 degrees for 4 weeks, flipping twice a week. 

This same time, years previous: the quotidian (11.15.21), sourdough English muffins, guayaba bars, success!, Thai chicken curry, the quotidian (11.16.15), lessons from a shopping trip, official, the quotidian (11.16.11).


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