This variation on traditional Jack cheese is rich and creamy and pairs well with fruit for a light snack or dessert.
Heat milk to 89°F, slowly. It should take about 20 minutes.
- Turn off the heat. Sprinkle the starter over the milk and allow it to rehydrate for 5 minutes, then stir it in using your cheese spoon in up-and-down motions. Cover and maintain the temperature at 89°F for 45 minutes to ripen the milk.
- Add the rennet by pouring it through your perforated cheese spoon into the milk, then stirring it in in up-and-down motions. Cover the pot and let it set undisturbed for 30 minutes, or until you have a clean break.
- Continue to maintain the temperature at 86°F and cut the curds into 1/2-inch pieces. Bring the temperature up to 101°F over 30 minutes, stirring constantly to prevent the curds from sticking together (matting). They should become more firm, shrinking to the size of small beans.
- Ladle off enough whey to expose the curds. Continue to stir frequently for 45 minutes to 1 hour, maintaining the temperature between 98°F and 100°F.
- Ladle off most of the remaining whey and add cool (50°F) water until the curd temperature is down to 79°F. Let the curds rest for 4 minutes at this temperature.
- Place a clean colander lined with damp cheesecloth over a bowl large enough to capture the whey. Ladle the curds into it. Toss and mill the curds with your hands for about 30 minutes to keep them from matting. Toss in the salt and incorporate thoroughly.
- Line a clean 5-inch tomme mold with damp cheesecloth. Place the mold over a draining rack and spoon the curds into it. Let the curds drain for 10 minutes, then fold the tails of the cheesecloth over the top of them. Place the follower on the covered curds and press at 1 pound of pressure for 15 minutes.
- Take the cheese out of the mold, peel away the cheesecloth, flip the cheese over, and re-dress the cheese in the cheesecloth. Place the cheese back into the mold and press at 4 pounds of pressure for 10 hours.
- Take the cheese out of the mold and allow it to air-dry in a cool room away from drafts and direct sunlight for 24 hours.
- Rub the cheese with butter or lard. Then bandage the cheese with cheesecloth and age it at 50°F for at least 3 months, flipping it once a week. When it has finished aging, vacuum-seal it and store it in the refrigerator until you are ready to eat it.
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