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Monterey Jack Recipe



Fun fact: Monterey Jack is one of the few cheeses that originated in the United States.


1: Clean and sanitize all equipment.

2: Warm milk to 80 degrees F (27 degrees C).

3: Sprinkle culture on top of milk and let it rehydrate for 2-5 minutes. Then stir gently for 3-5 minutes.

4: To ripen, increase temperature to 88-90 degrees F (31-32 degrees C). Maintain this temperature for 40 minutes.

5: Stir in Calcium Chloride solution and wait 5 minutes.

6: Stir in rennet using an up and down motion for 1 minute. Calm milk and let sit at 88-90 degrees F (31-32 degrees C) for roughly 35 minutes or until the curd has a clean break.

7: Cut curd into 1/2 inch cubes, maintaining temperature. Let sit for 5 minutes.

8: Cook and stir the curds slowly up to 102 degrees F (39 degrees C). This process can take up to 45 minutes. Then hold at 102 degrees F (39 degrees C) for 60-90 minutes. At this point, the pH of Whey should be 6.2. Let settle for 15-30 minutes. The goal curd texture should be springy. Curds will have shrunk to half their original size.

9: Drain whey until it's 1 inch above curds.

10: For washing, stir curds and add cool water (60 degrees F; 16 degrees C) until the temperature reaches 80-86 degrees F (27-30 degrees C). Stir at this temperature for 15 minutes.

11: Drain whey to the height of curds and continue to stir for 10 minutes. Drain rest of whey and stir for 20 minutes; the pH level should be 5.7-5.8.

12: Salt the curds with two different doses. Stir and let sit for 5-10 minutes between each salting.

To Mold and Press: Fill cheese cloth with curd, form into a ball and tie end into a knot (see knot instructions below). Knead and press ball while tightening the knot. Press between boards on draining mat with knot facing upward. Continue to tighten the knot over the next hour. Continue adding weight. Press for 12-24 hours, maintaining a room temperature of 72 degrees F (22 degrees C). The end pH level should be 5.4-5.5.

For Aging: Unwrap/Unmold cheese and store in an environment of 55 degrees F (13 degrees C) and 85% humidity for 2-3 month. Age longer for a drier style.

Helpful Hints and Definitions:

  • pH range in cheese making: The pH level of the cheese being made influences the style and texture of the curd and final product. Many cheese makers are consistent with monitoring their pH levels so they can produce a similar product every batch.
  • Clean Break: To test for a clean break insert index finger or knife into the curd about 2 inches at a 45 degree angle. Pull up and forward gently. Look for smooth edges where the curd breaks away and a yellow/green color whey. If edges of the curd are jagged and whey is white it will need to sit longer.
  • Affinage: A French term, now commonly used all over in the world of cheese making that refers to the care of the cheese while in the aging process.  


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