Homemade Cheese

Our head sommelier, Julien Leroux, shares his love of the land and good food. He has been using his free time to make his own homemade cheese!

In this blog, he shares his recipe and tips for making homemade cheese.

So, if you’re near a farm that has dairy cows and if you have space to store your cheese, now is the time for you start!

Ingredients

  • 3L of unpasteurised milk, freshly collected and still warm from the cow
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ferment – you can find this online
  • 9 drops of rennet – you can buy this in the pharmacy or online
  • Fine salt or rock salt for cheese with a flowery rind (whites) or a brine bath for hard cheese such as tomettes
  • A ladle
  • A large terracotta or porcelain bowl (to keep the temperature)
  • Perforated small plastic pots known as fiscella  (ideally 8cm in diameter and 9cm tall)
  • A thermometer
  • A hygrometer
  • A drying room
  • A ripening room
  • Type of rooms needed: a kitchen for preparations, and an unheated room for refining (16c/75% humidity)

cheese

Step 1

With unpasteurised milk after the cow milking, add ferments to the milk (ideally at 32-24 degrees). Leace for about two hours in order for the ferments to mature.

Step 2

Add rennet to curdle the milk. This step is particularly important, as this is when the milk solidifies to form the cheese. Leave this for about 20 hours in a warm room.

cheese 2

Step 3

After this pause, slice the curd and stir it lightly in order to obtain a corn-like grain. Using a ladle, put the curd into the fiscella, small containers often made of holed plastic that can be recovered and reused. By putting the mixture into fiscella, the remaining liquid milk will gradually come out through the holes.

Step 4

Leave the cheese to rest in their fiscella for six hours. The moulding process starts and the milk continues to solidify gently.

fromage

Step 5

Six hours later once the whey has been drained, remove the cheese from the fiscella. Once turned over, add salt to the top side and put them back in the fiscella.

Step 6

Wait another six hours to turn the cheese a second time, then do the salting on the other side (as in step 5) and place them back in their fiscella.

Step 7

Leave the cheese to rest for around 12 hours in their fiscella before moving on to the long-awaited moment: the unmoulding. Each cheese is unmoulded and placed on a rack: always in a warm room to allow the mould to develop for 24 hours.

cheese board

Step 8

Put the cheeses in a cool room ideally at 16 degrees with 75% humidity. It could be an old fridge, or a wine cellar … think about protecting them from insects with a cover.

Step 9

After 24 hours, you get a runny cheese and after 48 hours you obtain firmer cheeses

Step 10

Once the 48 hours are over, the refining phase begins. The cheese will gradually become “blue” after one week and turn yellow after three weeks. The cheese then has a little more flora on the surface and becomes more refined and creamy at the center.

les fromages de Julien Leroux, sommelier du Mas Candille

Step 11

After three to four weeks, you can start tasting them, and I would advise you to accompany them with a good glass of dry white wine, like a nice Pouilly-Fumé by my friend Gilles Maudry.  Bon appétit to you all!

Discover all the wine escapes and wine tasting experiences available at le Mas Candille.

We also hosted a wine and cheese evening at Le Candille, with locally sourced cheese – read more here.