Friday, August 30, 2019

Monterey Jack (Recipe and Instructions)

February 2020 Update:  After doing a taste test of some Cheddar cheese, I came to the conclusion that the reason my Monterey Jack didn't turn out (taste wise) was because of the MA11 culture I used.

November 6 2019 Update: I did a taste test, check out the video here! This didn't turn out quite like I expected, it's a good cheese, but not really a Monterey Jack.


Hello Fellow Turophiles! :)

Today I'm going to show you how to make Monterey Jack cheese. For a printable recipe, click here.

This cheese was brought over by the Spanish via Mexico and was originally known as Queso del Pais. It was made by Mexican Franciscan friars during the 18th century.

An American named David Jack realized its commercial value and started selling it all over California. The cheese came to be known as “Monterey Jack’s” or “Jack’s Monterey,” and eventually Monterey Jack.

I love this cheese because it's creamy, melts very well and is mild in flavour. I use it a lot in Mexican cuisine but also to make my American Cheese

Big Note: You can't do this one alone. After the initial making of the cheese, it needs to be flipped, pressed and brined every six hours for 24 hours. Unless you live on little sleep, you'll need a helper. Alex took over for me when I fell asleep!

A-whey we go! :)

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

10 liters Whole Milk
1/8 tsp MA11 Culture **Note This culture really makes my cheeses very tangy so I won't be using it again. At this time (February 2020) I have yet to experiment with a better 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. Heat the milk to 90F or 32C in a double boiler. One degree up or down isn't going to ruin your cheese, but make sure it's not more than one degree!

2. Add the culture and let sit 3 minutes.

3. Stir well, then let sit 45 minutes to ripen.

4. After about 40 minutes, prepare your Calcium Chloride in 1/4 cup of cool filtered water. Prepare your Double Rennet in 1/4 cup cool filtered water.

5. Add the Calcium Chloride and stir for one minute. Add the Double Rennet and stir for one minute. Let sit for 45-60 minutes to allow curd formation (mine took 55 minutes).

This is how I set up my "sink" double boiler. I heat my milk in a double boiler on the stove, but until it's time to cook the curds, I keep the milk pot in the sink. I'm able to regulate the temperature easily by adding or removing hot or cold water. This is where a digital probe thermometer really comes in handy.

Stage 2: Caring for the curds

6. Check for a clean break. If your knife doesn't come out relatively clean, let the curd sit longer until it does.

7. Cut the curds into 1/2 inch cubes and stir gently (very gently) a few times to make sure there are no huge chunks then let sit 10 minutes.

My curd cutting knife isn't long enough for my big pot. The handle goes half way in when I reach the bottom of the pot. I need to get a better knife one of these days. This one is a cake icing knife I found at the dollar store.

8. Over 40 minutes, heat the curds to 100F or 38C. Don't rush this!

9. Stir for 30 minutes more, holding the temperature.

10. Let sit 30 minutes, holding the temperature.

Stage 3: Molding, Pressing and Brining

11. Drain the curds into a cheesecloth-lined mold.

This is the amount of whey that is released. I use this to feed my cedar trees, they love it!

12. Pull your cheesecloth tightly around the cheese, making sure there are no wrinkles and put your follower on top.

13. Press at 30lbs for 1 hour. The Cheese Press that Alex made for me continues to be the star of my cheese making. It's so easy and I love his idea about using a large water jug as the weight!

After one hour of pressing, this cheese is very delicate, easily broken so take your time and be gentle!

14. Remove very gently, flip, re-dress and press at 30lbs for 6 more hours.

After 13 hours of pressing

15 Repeat step 14 for a total pressing time of 13 hours.

16. Place your wheel of cheese in a brine solution for 12 hours, flipping at the 6 hour mark. Keep the cheese/brine in your cheese cave during the 12 hours (50F or 10C).

Stage 4: Drying and Aging

17. Air dry the Monterey Jack for 4 days, flipping twice daily.

18. Vacuum pack the wheel and age for 2-3 months in your cheese cave (50F or 10C), flipping weekly.

With this post I've finally caught up with posting about the cheeses I started at the beginning of August! I have more cheeses planned for September - Fontina (2 wheels with 2 different cultures); Raclette and Goat cheese - so stay tuned! 


Leigh said...

Rain, you're doing an excellent job with your tutorials. Your photos are great and I love your setup. I love Monterey Jack and you almost make me wish I had a cheese cave!

Rain said...

Thanks Leigh :)) I'm having a lot of fun doing this blog now! I love Monterey Jack too, fingers crossed this one turns out yummy. The only way I was able to start cheese making was because Alex already had a bar fridge that he donated to me. When that one died, I couldn't live without a new one (dramatics lol)! It took a while to find my mojo when it came to the set up and all that, I'm so glad things are going smoothly! I have so many cheeses on the go, I can't wait to taste them!!!

Leftycrafter said...

Oh Rain. How i wish we lived closer lol. I love making breads and with your cheese we could eat our way to utopia. After watching your tutorials, I now understand why cheese is priced the way it is. This is not a simple proces of throw is all together and ta-da.

Rain said...

Marsha, I just had dreams of bread and cheese dancing through my head lol! :) Thanks for your comment! I actually find the cheese making process pretty easy now, but it takes a lot of time and babying. I think it's totally worth it! :)

sandy said... too cool.

i have such a short attention span - much like those squirrels you rescued - i could never in a million years do this process of cheese making.

Rain said...

Thanks Sandy :) Once you get used to it, it's really a standard procedure, but yes, you definitely need to have your attention on it! I've made that mistake before!