My new batch of Reblochons are ready, and here is the first.
These cheeses are ripe, smooth, and earthy. They are soft, flowing.
It's really quite a challenge to make Reblochon, which is a bit of a paradox; these are village cheeses. In France, they toss these off, let them hang around for a week or so at the farm, then hand them off to the local affineur in town for finishing. No big deal.
But, like so many other traditional crafts, there are dozens of subtle details that affect the outcome. Time, temperature, cleanliness, milk quality and type, pH, ambient cultures, humidity, salt, smear, turning, all these things matter very much.
Some details are almost impossible to replicate: I've just recently discovered that there is a newly-isolated culture on the surface of French Reblochon, which apparently arises from the farmhouse cellars they originate in. How would I get some of this?
For now, I'm satisfied with these cheeses. Tonight this one has become a fantastic Tartiflette; in a few days, another idea will surface. In the meantime, I continue my research:
It is not very firm, is 14 cm. In diameter and 3 to 5 cm. Thick, and should contain at least 45 % of solids. The milk is used soon after milking, coagulated at about 30 degrees C in about 45 min., and the curd cut and drained for about 10 min., kneaded and hand-pressed into moulds. After 5 min. The cheese is turned and stamped, then pressed for 4 to 12 hr. Farms of different types differed considerably in the type of cheese made, cheesemaking practices, layout of cheesemaking premises and organization of work. ...