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Alpine style (Comte) cheese recipe

There are very strict rules for its preparation. The certification of producers and their cheeses is reviewed year after year by an accredited committee. Rules for preparation: Breed of cow: Montbéliarde mixed with Simentai (3%) It can only be made from raw milk. Milking is prescribed twice a day. The use of a milking robot is prohibited! It can be made exclusively in a copper cauldron. Feeding silage feed is prohibited. The use of disinfectants is limited. Cheese milk can come from 2 milkings, the first milking can be stored at 12°C and processed within 24 hours. The use of natural rennet enzymes is mandatory. It can be aged on ripening boards made of larch. At the beginning of ripening, the cheeses are laid on unplaned planks, later the planks are planed, and so the ripening continues. Treatment of cheeses in the first 3 weeks with a concentrated brine three times a week. The first three weeks of the ripening chamber: 10-12°C / 90-95% humidity. After that, maximum 16°C / 95% humidity. A maturation log must be kept for the ripening of cheeses. Minimum ripening period: 6 months. The quality of the cheeses is scored by an expert committee and decides on their classification. The cheeses shall bear the county of origin and the brown or green stripe indicating quality. The Comte cheese disc: 73cm diameter, 38-40kg discs. Homogeneous bark of brown color, slight granularity and spotting are allowed.


This is one of my favorite cheeses because it is a real challenge for the cheesemaker! I learned how to make it from a French cheese master, Guerin Lionel (Comte specialist). Lionel imparted not only the science of cheesemaking, but also his relationship to cheesemaking, his love for the whole thing. Milk is a living substance, we always approach it with respect!

If you can and have the courage, make it from at least 30-50 liters of milk! Larger cheese is easier to ripen, more flavor, better texture can develop.

PREPARATION: I wet a huge pot and pour the fresh, good-smelling milk into it. I start heating the raw milk to 32 °C. A few times I stir and check the temperature so that it does not overheat. (In the Alps, half of the cheese milk is pre-aged at 12-14 °C, then mixed the next day for fresh milking and cultured together. In this case, less cheese culture should be used when making)Meanwhile, I dissolve the Alpine-style cheese culture powder in a little lukewarm water, 1 capsule per 10 liters.

1. CULTURE: I pour the dissolved culture into the 32 °C milk and mix it thoroughly. I ripen cultured milk for 1 hour. In the middle, about halfway through, I also dissolve 10 liters per 1capsule of lysozyme enzyme and mix this into the milk to avoid late bloating.

2. MILK INOCULATION: When the ripening period is over, I mix 2-2.5 ml of natural rennet per 10 liters The rennet can be diluted with a little water so that it can mix even more in the milk. I cover the pot and keep the 32 °C all the way through. (+/-1 °C) After 20-25 minutes, the milk will begin to thicken, but it will take 45 minutes for complete clotting. During this time, milk should not be heated, stirred. We want hard cheese, so our curd will be slightly soft, so that a lot of whey can escape from it by cutting it.

3. CURD CUTTING: I cut the curd into very small pieces of 2-3 mm (wheat grains) with a harp in about 10 minutes. I start cutting very carefully, because the curd is very fragile. From half the cutting time, I starting to do the cutting faster and faster to reach the desired tiny grain size by the end. The whey color shows very nicely if we have done a good job! We did it well when the whey is a nice yellow, not whitish color.

4. POSTHEATING: Heat the curd to 54-55 °C with constant stirring. In 5 minutes, the temperature can rise by 3 °C. This process will take about 40 minutes. It is important not to stop stirring during heating, because then the tiny clot grains will stick together. Each piece should warm up separately. It is best to mix it into an eight-figure and move your mixer up and down in between. Later, during ripening, it will cause cheese defects, cracks.

5. SEDIMENTATION: 10-15 minutes only stirring, in which case you no longer need to heat the curd. In this case, around the clot grains, the protein envelope continues to solidify.
I put the lid on the pot. In 10 minutes, the curd grains will gather in the bottom of the vessel.

6. SHAPING: I lift the curd in one and put it in a mould lined with a cheese cloth. I put a press sheet on it and squeeze it by 1x the weight of the cheese. The temperature in the workshop should be 22-24 °C so that thermophilic bacteria can continue to multiply. After 5-10 minutes, the first flip comes and I lift the weight to 2x. Then, after 20-25 minutes, another flip, I raise the weight of the cheese to 5x. If we have worked well, the whey no longer flows out of the curd, but what is between the clot grains. They work with Lactobacilli, breaking down lactose. If everything is ideal, after 24 hours there is no more milk sugar in it. After 1 hour, another flip will follow. Here the weight is already 10x. The internal temperature of the cheese is still 50-51 °C (pH 6.25 +/- 0.05) To maintain the temperature of the cheese, I water it with warm whey at each flip. After 2 hours I turn it one more and raise the weight to 20X, the temperature of the cheese, 46 °C. (pH 5.70+/- 0.1)During pressing, I turn the cheese 2x-3x more to make it as even as possible in shape. After 8-10 hours, the pH dropped to 5.15-5.25. A warm workshop is important, because only in the heat can bacteria work well.

7. SALTING: Taking it out from the mould, the salting of the cheese begins. Salting is already carried out in the cold at 14-15 °C. First, I rub the entire surface of the cheese with fine salt powder. I let the salt melt for 2 hours. Then, with a cheese cloth, I rub the remaining salt on the surface of the cheese. The next day, I turn the cheese over and repeat the salting of the cheese. At each flip, I sweep off the remaining salt. I rub 3-5 kg of cheese, once every day for 3-4 days, with salt.

8. RIPENING: I ripen the cheeses at 10-12 °C at a humidity of 85-88%. In the first month, the cheese is turned over every day. 2-4 months I rotate every 2 days. From the 5th month it should be fliped 2 times a week. Minimum ripening period is 4 months. If you ripen the cheese at 8-10 °C for a minimum of 6 months, the protein crystallizes. (tripase) These are the ones that will make you crunch pleasantly when you eat cheese, these are the protein crystals.

Alpine-style cheese, this is often referred to as this longer-ripened, hard, well-cut, sweetish, slightly nutty-tasting cheese. This group includes Comte, Gruyere, Emmentaler, Bergkäse, Asiago, etc. These cheeses are usually made from hundreds of liters of milk in large copper pot. One wheel of cheese weighs 25-30 kg, but it can weigh up to 40 kg. Its ripening period, half a year, but it can last up to 2 years.