Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Fontina (Recipe and Instructions)

Hello Friends :)

Today I'm going to show you how to make Fontina cheese. (For a printable recipe, click here)

Update December 22 2019: For a video of the successful taste test, click here!!

Fontina Val d'Aosta is an Italian cheese that is sweet, sharp and nutty. Some say it tastes a bit like a Parmesan. This is a cheese that has an appellation status, if it's not made in that region of Italy with the correct cultures and milk, it can't be called a Fontina.

But I've seen cheeses labeled "Fontina" that were made here in Quebec, I don't know how they found a loop hole for the name! But these are more Swedish-style cheeses made from different cultures that produce a buttery tangy taste.

Fontina can taste mildly milky to earthly and mushroomy. Some have a sweet odour too. Fontina is a good melty cheese.

So which ones did I make? Your guess is as good as mine and I'll find out in December lol! I made two Fontina cheese wheels, one with an MA11 culture and one with an Alp D culture. (I'm working on a post about cultures, it's a tough one, I hope to have it done in the next few months!)

Both wheels will be ready on the same day for a proper taste test!!

(Recipe courtesy of Gavin Webber)
Yield: Each wheel is about 1 kg.


10 liters whole milk
1/8 tsp MA11 culture
(For my second wheel I used 1/8 tsp AlpD culture)
1/2 tsp Calcium Chloride
1/4 tsp double strength 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 88F or 31C.

2. Add the culture and let sit 5 minutes. Stir well and let ripen at 88F or 31C for one hour.

3. At the 55 minute mark, prepare your Calcium Chloride by mixing it into 1/4 cup cool filtered water. Prepare your rennet by mixing into 1/4 cup cool filtered water.

4. As you stir the milk, add the Calcium Chloride and stir well for one minute. Add the rennet and stir well for no more than one minute.

5. Let sit for 50 minutes at 88F or 31C.

Stage 2: Caring for the curds

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

7. Cut the curds into pea-sized shapes using a balloon whisk. Use and up and down, side to side and back and forth motion very slowly to cut the curds.

8. Let sit for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, heat 3 liters of water to 145F or 63C.

9. Stir the curds for 10 minutes, keeping the temperature at 88F or 31C.

10. Let sit for 5 minutes.

I made some Ricotta during this process. I felt organized enough to multi-task!

11. Remove 8 cups of whey by using a strainer and ladle.

12. Wash the curds by pouring 8 cups of your prepared water into the pot.

13. Stir well, at this point your temperature should be 102F or 39C. If it isn't, heat it up or cool it down by putting the pot into a sink of cold water.

14. Stir for 10 minutes then let sit for 5 minutes.

Stage 3: Molding, Pressing and Brining

15. Drain your curds into a cheesecloth-lined mold.

16. Let it sit draining for 10 minutes.

17. Carefully cover the top of the curds with the cheesecloth - making sure it's tight and there are no creases. Put on your follower.

18. Press at 11 pounds for 30 minutes.

19. Remove, flip and re-redress. Press at 22 pounds for 12 hours.

20. Brine for 10 hours in the cheese cave. Flip at the 5 hour mark.

Tip: When you flip your cheese in the brine, sprinkle a little more cheese salt on top of the wheel. This will replenish your brine as you use it.

Stage 4: Drying and Aging

21. Air dry your wheel for 3 days, flipping twice a day.

22. Age your Fontina in a ripening box in the cheese cave at 50F or 10C. Every 2 days for the first month, you want to wash your cheese and flip it. This will encourage it to form its rind. (See my video on Washing The Fontinas for instructions)

23. After the first month, wash and flip your wheels twice weekly for a maximum of 3 months.

Note: If your wheels become very mouldy, you can clean them and vacuum pack them after the first month but they may not develop too much in the flavour department. 


Magic Love Crow said...

Excellent! Thanks so much Rain!!! Big Hugs!

Rain said...

Thanks Stacy :)

Unknown said...

Congratulations ! Your website is wonderful!
Arthur, from Brazil

Sharman said...

Hi Rain. I am hoping to start making Fontina cheese and follow a lot of Gavin Webber's recipes as we are both in Australia.
My question is; do you use non-homogenised milk. Only asking as your recipe includes calcium chloride. Thanks in advance. Sharman

Rain said...

Hi Sharman! Enjoy your cheesemaking! Gavin is the king of cheese! I only have access to homogenized milk, so yes, that's why I have the calcium chloride!