The Cheesemonger Weblog recently published the fascinating ‘8 basic steps to cheese making‘ aimed at giving you the knowledge and confidence to deal with your cheese monger. The information was taken from Max McCalam’s latest book, ‘Mastering Cheese’ where he used the work of Dairy Science professor Frank Kosikowski, the founder of the American Cheese Society. We thought it would be interesting to write how these basic steps are undertaken here at Sirana Gligora on the Island of Pag, where we make the award-winning limited production artisan ewes’ milk cheese Paški Sir. Of course it is not a complete insight as some trade secrets must be protected, but we hope this gives you a good understanding of how Sirana Gligora Paški Sir is made, as well as giving you an added appreciation of our product.
Step 1: All about setting the milk can be viewed by clicking here.
Step 2: All about cutting the curd.
As soon as coagulation occurs, the curds naturally begin to expel the whey which is mostly water and cutting the curd will help decide the moisture content in the finished cheese. The larger the surface of the curd the more moisture it will contain, as Sirana Gligora Paški Sir is a hard type cheese with a longer maturation period the curds are cut quite small (to about the size of grain). If the cheese maker wants to make a softer cheese with a higher moisture content, then he cuts the curd into large pieces, the smaller the curd, the more whey is expelled and the harder the cheese.
Each batch of milk has slightly different qualities and therefore behaves in its own way. The Master cheese maker (Suzie) uses
all her artisan experience to keep a careful eye on the behavior of the milk checking the size and feel of the curds and even checking for taste. The cutting must be done very slowly with razor-sharp knives to get consistence in size and shape, if the curds are not cut properly then the whole moisture content will be off and the finished product will not up to the high standards of Sirana Gligora.
Some curd is barely (or not at all) cut; but gently ladled into hoops or molds to make a very soft and high moisture content cheese. For this style cheese, Step 2 is not necessary.
At Sirana Gligora the whey is pumped through to another room where it will be made into Paška Skuta, a ricotta type cheese. The whey is very high in albumin proteins and when heated to 85°C these begin to precipitate and create flakes of ricotta which float to the surface. These are then ladled out into a muslin cloth where the excess drains away over night, creating a delicious fresh cheese high in nutrients.
Next step 3. All about Cooking and Holding
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