I’ve tried a number of Asiago cheeses, and this Rosemary Asiago is by far my favorite: easy, straight-forward, delicious. I’ve made it a number of times, including for the YouTube channel, and I keep meaning to do a proper write-up of the recipe. Finally, I am.
tools, spritzed with vinegar
homemade yogurt as the starter culture
checking for a clean break
first, cutting the curd into large cubes
then smaller, with a whisk
after cooking the curds and pouring off the whey
cutting fresh rosemary
minced, with olive oil
halved, so it’ll fit in the bag
the wait begins
Rosemary Asiago Cheese
Adapted from Home Cheese Making by Ricki Carroll.
For a straight Asiago, simply omit the rosemary rub. You can use partially-skimmed milk for a harder cheese, or use whole milk and add in even more cream for a softer, more moist cheese. The original recipe called for 1 ½ teaspoons of rennet, but I dialed it back. To see me do a comparison taste test between two rosemary Asiagos, go here.
7½ gallons whole raw milk
1 teaspoon calcium chloride diluted in ½ cup water, optional if using raw milk
1½ cups yogurt, thinned with a couple cups of the milk
1 teaspoon rennet
saturated salt brine
¼ cup chopped fresh rosemary
½ cup olive oil
Heat the milk to 95 degrees. Stir in the diluted calcium chloride. Add the thinned yogurt and stir well. Let the milk ripen for about 30 minutes.
Dilute the rennet with about a half cup of cool water and add to the milk. Stir for no more than one minutes. Cover and let rest for about 25 minutes, or until the curd gives a clean break.
Cut the curds into roughly 1-inch columns (or cubes, if you’re overachieving) and let rest for 5 minutes to set up. Then, cut the curds with a balloon whisk — final curds should be about ¼ inch cubes — and let rest for another five minutes.
With your hand, or a large spoon, gently stir the curds for about 10 minutes to make sure they’re all broken up to the right size. (If the pot is too full, remove some of the whey.) Over the course of the next 25-30 minutes, heat the curds to 106 degrees, stirring steadily. Now, heat the curds a little more quickly: to 118 degrees over the next 10 minutes. If needed, continue to gently stir the curds in the whey, off heat, for 20 minutes. (I don’t usually do this last step — generally my curds are done cooking right around 116 degrees.)
Let the curds rest for 5 minutes to settle to the bottom. Pour off the whey. Transfer the curds to the mold. Press at about 30 pounds of pressure for 20-30 minutes. Flip, and press for another 30 minutes at 30 pounds. Flip, and press at 40 pounds for 1 hour. Flip and press at 40 pounds for about 12 hours.
Brine the cheese in a saturated salt brine for about 24 hours (4-5 hours per pound of cheese), flipping halfway through and salting the exposed surface. Air dry the cheese for a day or two, flipping morning and night
Mix the chopped rosemary with oil and heat in the microwave for about a minute to sterilize the herbs. Rub it all over the cheese. (I had to cut my cheese in half to fit it in the bag. I put both halves in the bag and then added the rosemary and oil and smooshed it around.)
Vac-pack the cheese and age at 55 degrees for 2-12 months, flipping weekly.
This same time, years previous: wedding whirl, how we homeschool: Terra, second amendment sanctuary, sour candied orange rinds, science lessons, the quotidian (12.14.15), the quotidian (12.15.14), bits of goodness, soft cinnamon sugar butter bars, crazier than usual (updated).