Ela Duban who lives outside Warsaw, Poland began making cheese when she found a Polish edition of our book, Home Cheese Making. She was the mother of 4 young girls who are now 6, 8, 11 and 12 years old. She buys her milk from a local farmer (from spring-autumn 2 1/2 gallons/week and in the winter, 5 gallons).
Ela told us she and her family try to live “thoughtfully: slowly and healthy.” This is why she has a blog called “In Search of A Slow Life.” Her blog is in Polish, but Ela translated her Chocolate Cheese recipe into English for us. (We haven’t had a chance to try it yet, so let us know if you do.)
I have presented two chocolate cheeses on my blog so far, but as chocolate and cheese are a perfect pair (at least in my and my family’s humble opinion) I made another cheese of this kind, based on my own idea. It’s absolutely special!
In the middle of the cheese there is a natural bitter cocoa and the rind is covered with a mixture of sweet honey, cocoa and olive. This layer is not only tasty but also prevents the cheese from drying (something very important to me as I have a cooler without the high humidity). Nevertheless, it’s better not to put too thick of a layer, because it would make the cheese sticky. Avoid also too much cocoa in the middle as it makes the cheese layers separate (it happened with my cheese at one point). So, use cocoa moderately – it’s better to give more thin cocoa layers than less thick ones.
By Ela Duban at her blog – click here
honey-cacao rind (in 3 weeks time):
2 tsp honey
2 tsp cacao
3-4 tsp olive oil
Slowly warm milk to 91F (33C), add mesophilic culture, wait 5 minutes, stir gently. Let it ripen for 30 minutes, maintaining the temperature at 91F.
Add rennet to the milk and stir gently. Let the mixture set for 45 minutes, maintaining the temperature at 91F.
After 45 minutes, check curd for a clean break. Insert the long-bladed knife into the curd at a 30-degree angle. After lifting the blade, the curd should split with a long clean break. If not, wait for a few more minutes.
Next, cut curd into small pieces (about the size of rice grains) with a curd cutter (or a skimmer and a long-bladed knife). Let it rest for 5 minutes.
Slowly warm the curd to 100F (38C), stirring frequently. The curds will gradually decrease. Let the curd rest for 10-15 minutes.
Fill the cloth-lined mold with curds. When filling, sprinkle cacao on the layers of curd.
Press the cheese first for 30 minutes with 22 lbs (10 kg). Then turn and press for 12 hours with 44 lbs (20 kg).
Prepare the brine: the salt water should be saturated: 2 lbs. (1 kg) salt for 1 gallon (4 L) of hot water. Let the brine cool before immersing the cheese.
Place the cheese in the brine for 12 hours, turning over after 6 hours.
Remove cheese from brine and dry for 1 day at room temperature, turning once or twice to make the rind dried on each side.
Let the cheese ripen at 55-56F (13-14C) with high humidity. Turn daily for the first week, then every 2-3 days.
After 3 weeks prepare a mix of honey, cacao and olive oil. Just mix all the ingredients together and spread it on each side of the cheese, but remember not to put a thick layer (cover precisely the rind).
Let the cheese ripen more. Turn every few days. My chocolate cheese ripened for 3 months and 1 week. It was absolutely special!