This is a picture of a cheese I have dubbed “Phlump“.
“That’s a cheese?” I hear you exclaim. Yes. In fact, that is meant to be a tomme cheese, believe it or not, but it developed a bad case of sideways slump. Hmm, I wonder if there is a cheese equivalent of Brewer’s Droop? (Google it…).
This is my second attempt at making a cheese other than fresh cheeses like cream cheese and labne, and the first resulted in a rubberised slab of feta. This time everything went rather well during the curd forming stage, but I think it was my pressing that let me down. I’m guessing that my curds had not released enough whey to hold a solid shape. And my home made tomme mold (don’t ask!) was too tall and cylindrical. OK, since you asked, I got out my hacksaw and took the base off a one litre cylindrical food storage container, and used the sawn-off base as a follower for pressing the cheese down inside it with weights on top of the follower (2 small dumb-bell weights precariously balanced on top of a can of cat food – unopened of course). The entirely frustrating thing is that on all of the Australian online cheesemaking supplies sites I’ve found, no one seems to stock tomme moulds with followers! I’m going to have to get something from the US.
This gravitational anomaly occurred during the first three hours of affinage (the ageing stage), but I am going to persist in letting it ripen for the full three months and see what results I get. The guiding book I am using says that if you like the taste of your mistakes, then remember what you did because you’ve invented a new cheese! So it seems I may become the creator of the first wheel of Phlump. I’m using two fantastic books in my cheese adventures: Mary Karlin’s Artisan Cheese Making at Home, and Sasha Davies’ and David Bleckman’s The Cheesemaker’s Apprentice. It was Mary Karlin who gave the above advice.
After removing the (perfectly normal) mould this morning that had grown on the outside I noticed with the glee the brown patches that are starting to appear, which are (apparently) also perfectly normal. The hardest part is patiently waiting for three months before I can taste it. I wonder who at the office will be willing to try it too?
This is what a tomme should look like!
By Véronique PAGNIER (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons
And for your delectation, here is the source of my title: