Caciotta Cheese

Photo Credit: Gourmet Food Store
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Caciotta can be made from cow’s, goat’s, buffalo’s or even ewe’s milk. It’s a great beginner cheese but has an unusual step in the cheesemaking process called “stufactura” which means steaming in Italian.

Caciotta is one of the most common cheeses you’ll find in Italy and is usually eaten fresh as table cheese.

Yield: 2 pounds

Aging: Under 2 months

Skill Level: Intermediate

Ingredients:

  • 2 gallons of milk
  • ⅔ Packet C201 Thermophilic Culture
  • ½ tsp Single Strength Liquid Rennet
  • Salt Brine
  • Calcium Chloride for pasteurized milk

Equipment Needed:

  1. Heat the Milk & Add Culture

  • Heat your milk up to 98F
  • You can do this by placing the milk in a pot or sink of very warm water. If you do this step on the stove, be sure to slowly heat the milk and stir to avoid burning.
  • When it reaches 98F you can start to add your culture in. Sprinkle on the surface for 2 minutes before stirring in
  • Allow it to ripen for 45-60 minutes
  1. Add Rennet

  • Add the liquid single strength Rennet
  • Allow it to rest for an additional 20 minutes
  • During this time, you will see that the milk will begin to thicken and firm around the 8-minute mark.
  1. Cut the Curd

  • After 20 minutes, your curd should be ready to be cut, if not, allow it to sit for longer
  • Very gently, cut the curd into walnut size pieces. You can start by cutting the curd vertically in both directions and then wait a couple of minutes before continuing to cut the curd horizontally.
  • Allow it to rest for a couple of minutes.
  • Stir gently for another 10 minutes to ensure that the curds are separated
  • You should maintain a temperature of 98F, but if needed, you can raise your temperature to 102F
  • Stir for a total of 25 minutes
  1. Remove Whey

  • Using a ladle, start removing about 40% whey
  • Collect the curds and transfer them into a mold lined with a cheesecloth. You will need to wait for the whey to drain before adding more curds to the mold.
  • While creating the layers in the mold, you can add any additional ingredients or completely dried herbs to the recipe if desired.
  1. Acid Development

  • Neatly fold the cheesecloth over the top and then flip in the basket or mold every 15 minutes. Every couple of turns you should be unwrapping the cheese, turning it, then rewrapping.
  • You need to ensure that the cheese is kept at a warm temperature for the bacteria to work the way it needs to. This is where the steamer comes in.
  • You can prepare your steamer or ‘Stufactura’ by using a large pot with a draining plate inside and several inches of warm water that’s about 90-100F.
  • You can place the cheese form on the draining rack and add enough hot water, so the temperature rises to 120F.
  • The pot should then be covered with the cheese inside for at least 1 hour if not 1.5 hours. You should be checking the temperature every 30 minutes to ensure that the temperature hasn’t dropped
  • Continue to turn the cheese in the basket every 30 minutes . The longer it stays warm the sweeter the cheese will be.
  • At the 1-hour mark you can remove the cheese cloth from the cheese.
  • At about 1.5 hours, you can remove the cheese and let it cool at room temperature.
  • After a few hours at room temperature, you can relocate your cheese to a cooler environment that is between 55-60F.
  1. Salting the Cheese

  • Ensure that your cheese and brine is 50-55F before using.
  • Place your cheese in a brine solution for about 2 hours.
  • Sprinkle salt on the side the floating up at the top
  • Flip halfway through the brining time and re-salt the cheese
  • At the end, wipe the cheese down to dry.
  1. Aging

  • Allow you cheese to age in a location that’s between 55 and 85-90% humidity.
  • This cheese loves high moisture and will develop mold quickly.
  • It will need to be turned and wiped down daily. To remove any undesired mold, use a 6-8% brine solution to wipe it down gently as required. Make sure to air dry it first before returning it to the aging space.
  • Your cheese will be ready anywhere from 2 weeks to 2 months.

For a more in-depth look at how to make Caciotta watch this video

Video Credit to HammockHavenFarm

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