Monday, August 26, 2019

Jarlsberg (Recipe and Instructions)

Hello Friends,

Today I'm going to post about Jarlsberg cheese and how to make it. This is the first time I've made a Jarlsberg and it's going to be ready for tasting in late September. I'll always do follow up posts when I taste the cheese, just to share the results!

Jarlsberg was born in the 1950's and is often mistaken for a Swiss cheese. It's actually Norwegian made in the style of a Swiss or Alpine cheese but it's a little sweeter and more buttery. The only other places that have licenses to make official Jarlsberg are Ireland and Ohio.

So again, I'm hoping the Norway people don't mind me calling my cheese a Jarlsberg!

Here are the ingredients and the process. For a printable version of this recipe, click here.

Ingredients for Jarlsberg cheese:
(Recipe courtesy of Gavin Webber)
Yield: about 1 kg wheel

9.5 liters Whole Milk
1/2 liter 2% Milk
1/4 tsp Thermophilic Culture "C"
1/8 tsp Propionic Shermanii Culture
1/2 tsp Calcium Chloride
1/4 tsp Double Rennet
Cool filtered water


Stage 1: Mixing The Ingredients
Stage 2: Caring for the curds
Stage 3: Molding, Pressing and Brining
Stage 4: Drying and Aging

Stage 1: Mixing The Ingredients

1. In a double boiler, heat the milk to 92F or 33C. (Just a note: one degree higher or lower isn't going to ruin your cheese! But don't go beyond that one degree.)

2. Add the Thermophilic and Propionic cultures and let sit 3 minutes. Thermophilic cultures are cultures that can withstand higher heat that Mesophilic cultures. So when you see a recipe saying you can heat your milk at a high heat, the starter culture should be Thermophilic. The Propionic culture is used to make the "eyes" or holes in a typical Alpine style cheese.

3. Stir and let sit 45 minutes, maintaining the temperature.

4. After about 40 minutes, prepare your Calcium Chloride by mixing it in 1/4 cup of cool filtered water. Mix your double rennet in 1/4 cup of cool filtered water.

5. Add the Calcium Chloride and stir for one minute. Add the rennet and stir for one minute. Let sit for 45 minutes, holding the temperature at 92F or 33C.

Stage 2: Caring for the curds

6. Check for a clean break. If you knife comes out relatively clean, it's a clean break.

7. Cut the curds in small 1/4 inch pieces. The best way to do this is to use a balloon whisk in an up and down/side to side and scooping motion. Be very gentle when you cut the curds.

8. Stir the curds very gently for 20 minutes, holding your 92F or 33C temperature. Let sit 5 minutes.

9. During the stirring, prepare about 5 liters of water in a pot and heat it to 120F or 49C.

10. Using a strainer and a ladle, remove enough whey to reach the level of the curds.

11. Stir the curds for about a minute to make sure they don't stick together.

12. Pour enough of your hot water into the curds to reach the level where the whey used to be. This is called washing the curds. Your temperature should be around 100F or 38C.

13. Over 30 minutes, very slowly increase the temperature of the curds to 108F or 42C. Stir very gently and don't rush this process because you are encouraging the curds to release whey slowly. (sorry no photo!)

14. When you've reached 108F or 42C, allow the curds to sit for 5 minutes.

Stage 3: Molding, Pressing and Brining

15. Drain the curds into a cheesecloth-lined mold. Make sure the cheesecloth isn't wrinkly, pull tight then put on the follower and press at 24 pounds for 30 minutes.

This is the cheese after the first 30 minutes of pressing.

16. Gently remove the cheese from the mold and cheesecloth, flip, re-cover and press at 50 pounds for 8 hours.

This is the cheese after the full 16-1/2 hours of pressing.

17. Again, gently remove the cheese from the mold and cheesecloth, flip, re-cover and press at 50 pounds for another 8 hours.

18. Remove the wheel from the mold and cheesecloth, and brine for 12 hours, flipping it over at the 6 hour mark. Keep the cheese brining in your cheese cave (50F or 10C).

Stage 4: Drying and Aging

After air drying for a few days, you can see the cheese starting to release fats.

19. Air dry your cheese for 3 days, flipping twice a day.

20. Vacuum pack the wheel and age for 2 weeks in your cheese cave (50F or 10C), flipping daily.

21. After the 2 weeks, remove the cheese from the cheese cave and continue to age it at room temperature for 4-6 weeks, flipping it twice a week. **My kitchen gets cool at night so I put a towel on top of the cheese to keep it closer to room temperature.

Note: Finishing the aging at room temperature is supposed to encourage the "eyes" or holes to form in the cheese. As the cheese develops at room temperature, it will swell up, you'll see it swell as the eyes form on the inside. It could crack your wax or your seal, just re-seal it if that happens!

Note: Some cheeses require a lot of your time at odd hours. This was one of them! I started this cheese at around 10am and by 11pm I was just on step 17, flipping the cheese for another 8 hour press. It's important to really read the recipe, or watch a video in completion so you can estimate timing for each step and you're not forced to stay up past your bedtime or wake up at 4am to flip your cheese!


Leigh said...

Rain, I've never heard of Jarlsberg and have to say it sounds really interesting. I love your digital thermometer! Also the clever idea about using a strainer to remove whey without bits of curd. Good advice about reading through the recipe and planning the day accordingly! Looks like it's going to be a tasty one!

Leanna said...

Same here, I've never heard of Jarlsberg. It must be specific to that area of the globe. I do love swiss cheese though. So if you said it is buttery and sweet then it must be really good. I can't wait until you test it. Hope it turns out great.

Rain said...

Thanks Leigh :) I love my thermometer too. My little Starfrit one wasn't very accurate and this one is fabulous! A great investment! It can go into the oven too. About planning the day'll see when I post my Monterey Jack post that it wasn't possible! It needed babysitting every 6 hours, so Alex had to take over while I slept! Jarlsberg is a really popular cheese here in Quebec, it's used in a lot of cheese fondues.

Rain said...

Thanks Leanna :) I hope it turns out too because I have a fondue planned for it! I mentioned to Leigh that Jarlsberg is really popular here in Quebec. It's very good, it is very Swissy but yes, a little sweeter and it melts so well!

Magic Love Crow said...

I have never heard of this type of cheese either! Thanks for sharing Rain! You are such a talent with your cheese making! Actually, with all your food making! Big Hugs!

Rain said...

Thanks Stacy :) We still have to taste them to make sure I really am that skilled lol! :)

Sandro said...

Hi Rain

My name is Sandro and I'm from Brazil. I did this cheese in last weekend and today it was in my kitchen for dry. Tomorrow I'm going to wax and put in the fridge at 10oC (2 weeks).

We are now in the winter (not so cold) and the temperature inside my home is something like 19 oC to 23 oC (next month 21 to 25). Is it ok or is it necessary to put in a fridge?

Another think. I made a mistake and used the wrong shape then the cheese became very thin (about 19 cm in diameter and 3 cm thick). Will I have problems with aging?

Thanks a lot


Rain said...

Hi Sandro, thanks for your comment! Firstly, I'm a home-cheesemaker, no expert so I can only give you my opinion okay? :)

If I understand your question, you want to maybe skip the 2 weeks in the fridge? I think it's very important to put the cheese into a cool spot (10C) for those two weeks because it will help the proteins break down and provide a good texture for the "eyes" to develop during the 4-6 weeks at room temperature. My cheese-fridge varies from 8C to 12C and I haven't had issues, but warmer than 12C might inhibit the proteins from breaking down.

For the 4-6 weeks of aging at room temperature, I make this cheese in the summer sometimes and it gets up to 25C in the house, also overnight I put a little towel over it if I know the house will cool down under 20C...I've always had success with this method.

I don't see how you could have trouble aging your cheese just because it's thinner...I am currently aging a Parmesan that is about 3cm thick and it's doing okay!

I hope I answered your questions okay, if not, please come back and let me know! Also, let me know how your cheese is going! I've never waxed a cheese before. I do know that the Jarlsberg swells up during the last 4-6 weeks and I've been told the wax could tear open. If that happens, you may need to wax it again because you don't want any air to contaminate it during this process.

So happy you're making cheese!!! :)

Sandro said...

Hi Rain

Thank a lot for your answers.

I have a wine cave so there is no problem to put in the fridge for 2 weeks. My doubt was after the fridge, the room temperature, because we don't have, in Brazil, cold's winter but you did answer my question.

I will try to wax with a wax mixture from a recipe that I saw (16 ounces of beeswax and 3 ounces of vegetable fat).

My concern is with molds so I thought about using wax in a small parmesan (my first cheese that is now 40 days old, 670 gr and a hard shell) because small dark molds have appeared that I brush with brine solution every two days. How do you do with these molds?

I think about waxing the Parmesan because it is too small and it is dehydrating very fast despite being in an environment with 85% humidity.

Again, thanks a lot for your help.

Have a nice week.


Rain said...

Hi Sandro, I do the same with the molds. I just brush them down with vinegar. I made Fontina and those were horrible for brown little spots on them, if I missed ONE DAY of brushing them, they grew blue mold...some cheeses are harder to maintain than others! But I find the Jarlsberg doesn't mold at all, mind you, I vacuum pack, I don't wax. And we eat it as soon as it's ready after 6 weeks, it rarely lasts one week's such a good cheese!

I'll be interested to know about your Parm. Right now (because we just moved), my Parm is in my big fridge, vacuum-sealed, in the little fruit drawer in the bottom. It's been aging nearly a year now, but I'm thinking of leaving it there for another year! I love experimenting!

Sandro said...


Two years? You are going to make a Grana Padano.I read a lot of arguments in favor and against about Vacuum sealers for example ( Did you aged a parm or another cheese with Vaccum sealer before?

Most people say that vacuum-aged cheeses are not as good as those aged by other processes.

How much does your parma weigh?


Rain said...

Sandro, I age all of my hard cheeses with a vacuum sealer. I find that I have no need to worry about humidity and most of the cheeses turn out very good. In my experience, flavour tends to have more to do with the culture I choose and how long I age the cheese! My Parm weighs about 500g.