The delectable, nutty flavor of asiago cheese can elevate a meal from plain to extraordinary. While perusing your local cheese shop, you may find several varieties to tempt your palate... and empty your wallet. Have you ever considered making your own asiago cheese? With a little bit of fortitude, the process is relatively easy, and yields a delicious product that will impress your friends and family.
The first step to making asiago cheese is to gather your ingredients. For this recipe, you will need:
- 2 gallons of whole milk
- a large pot
- 1/2 tsp. of thermophilic type c culture (available from a home supply shop)
- 2 junkets rennet tablet
- a colander and a whisk
- cheesecloth (available from fine grocery stores or home supply shops)
- a cheese mould
Now, you are ready to create your very own gourmet hunk of asiago cheese!
- To begin the process, take the gallon of milk and pour it into the pot. Stir the milk over medium heat for about twenty minutes. Make sure that you do not overheat or bring it to a boil. This will make the milk curdle and affect the texture of the asiago cheese.
- After the milk is properly heated to about 125 degrees Fahrenheit, stir in the thermophilic type c culture. This ingredient will ripen your asiago cheese as it ages. Put a tea towel over the milk, and let it rest for between 30-45 minutes, while the culture does its work.
- Upon returning to your mixture, then add the rennet tablet. The rennet's enzymatic action will help to coagulate the milk (make it curdle). This should take about an hour.
- Once the cheese has curdled, whisk the curds. This should separate them into smaller pieces. Bring the stove-top up to medium heat, and stir for approximately twenty minutes. Then, for an additional twenty minutes, stir over medium heat, insuring that the curds are no longer sticking. Continue to stir, until the curds sink to the bottom of the pot.
- After about an hour, secure a cheese cloth over a colander, and drain your mixture. Make sure as much liquid as possible separates from the curds.
To age the cheese, pour the mixture into a mold. Preferably, you should put it in a warm area, with very little moisture. Pour some salt over your cheese (this acts as a preservative), and turn it every few days. After about 2 months, you will have your own, homemade asiago cheese!