The idea for making Cabra Al Vina came to Nancy from two directions. Over the 2007 Christmas holiday, her attention turned to cheesemaking. Rereading the Making Artisan Cheese Book, by Tim Smith, this recipe cried out for a winemaker to try. Then while racking her Pinot Noir she had about 3/4 gallon of wine left. So instead of struggling to keep it in small containers until the next wine racking, she coupled the wine with this wonderful cheese, during a 24 hour soak of the pressed wheel and came up with a winning combination. See for yourself if this easy to make aged goat cheese isn’t the most wonderful cheese you have tasted from your own kitchen.
CABRA AL VINO
A mild, semi-hard cheese with a starkly red contrasting rind against the pure white color of the goat milk curd. It makes about a one pound wheel which will age in a regular refrigerator, in a ripening box, for up to 3 months. The flavor is mild, lightly acidic, fruity and very much shows the influence of the wine soak. Just a really delightful cheese.Keeps several weeks to a month.
8 qts of Trader Joe’s Summerhill Goat Milk
1/4 tsp. MA4001 culture or other Mesophilic Direct Set Culture
1/8 tsp. Calcium Chloride, in 2 Tbl. water
1/2 tsp. liquid Rennet, in 2 Tbl. water
6 cups water, heated to 175º F
1 -1 1/2 Tablespoons Flaked or Kosher salt
1 bottle of Red Wine (or enough to cover cheese during 24 hr. soak)
Stainless Steel Pot, 11 qt. Inset Pot
Oversize Kettle for Water Bath
Optional but recommended: Sous Vide Immersion Heater/Circulator provides an ideal heat source. Click for discussion.
Perforated ladle or slotted spoon
Cheesecloth to line Mold
Camembert-sized Mold with Follower and 20 lbs. Weights
Place the inset pot in the water bath and add the milk to the pot and bring to 90°F. Turn off the heat and stir in the ripening culture, using 20 gentle strokes. Wait 10 minutes. Add the diluted calcium chloride and stir. Add the diluted rennet. Stir, cover, and let stand at 90°F. for one hour.
Note: Check for a clean break after one hour. Cut the curds into 1/2” cubes. Stir and let the curds settle for 5 minutes.
In a small pan, heat the required 4 cups of water to 175ºF., and cover. Using a ladle, remove about 1/3 of the whey. Then ladle about 2 cups of the hot water in slowly over the curd and stir the curds until the temperature is 92ºF. Rest for 10 minutes. Repeat removing whey down to the level of the resting curds. Again raise the tempature, with the slow addition of heated water to reach 100ºF. Stir gently but frequently to keep the curds from matting. Rest for 30 minutes.
Drain off the whey, pouring the curds back into the inset pot and let them mat together for 5 minutes to make a slab of curd. Place the slab of curd on a sanitized cutting board and mill the curd, by cutting into 1/4” dice with a sharp knife. Mix in about 1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons of kosher salt.
Pour the curds into a 1 pound cheese cloth lined mold. Cover the curds with the cloth and press at 15 lbs. for 20 minutes. Rewrap the cheese and press under 20 lbs. for 10-12 hours. Repeat this for another 12 hours.
Unwrap the cheese wheel and place it in a container with the wine to cover for 24 hours. Remove and air dry for a day.
Store the cheese in a ripening box on a drain tray in the refrigerator for 2 months. During storage, check the cheese and turn over the wheel every day for a few weeks, then turn over every few weeks. If mold develops on the rind, mix salt with vinegar, and give the rind a scrub with a moderately stiff bristle brush and dry with a paper towel.
Yields 1 pound.
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