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Dry Jack Cheese

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Dry Jack Cheese

  • Veg
    • 50 mins
    • Serves 6
    • Easy


    How to Make Dry Jack Cheese

    • Heat the milk over 90 to 92 degrees Fahrenheit or 32 to 33 degrees Celsius.
    • Once the milk is at the correct temperature, add culture. To prevent the powder from making bulges in the clumps, sprinkle it over the surface of the milk and let stay for 2 minutes so that the powder rehydrates before you stir.
    • Allow ripening for about 45 minutes, stirring often to keep the cream from coming up.
    • Add 3 ml or of single strength liquid rennet.
    • Let the milk sit still for 40 minutes while the culture and rennet work together.The milk will thicken at about 16 minutes but allow it to harden for full 40 minutes or until you get a smooth curd.If even after 40 minutes the curd is not firm to cut, let it sit for a few more minutes until you see a clear break when testing the curd.
    • Once there is firm curd, cut the curds and release the whey. The smaller you cut, the drier the final cheese and the longer you can store it to age.
    • Begin drying out the curds by increasing the heat slowly to 102 degrees Fahrenheit or 39 degrees Celsius. The heat needs to be increased gradually, about 1-2 degrees every 5 minutes. The total cook time will be 45 minutes.
    • Once done, allow the curds to settle under the whey then remove 50% of the whey to just above the curd level.
    • Add enough of the 60 degrees Fahrenheit water (about 3 to 4 quarts) to cool the curds to 86 degrees Fahrenheit. Continue to stir for another 15 minutes.
    • Remove the whey down to the curd level and transfer the dry curds into a strainer lined with butter muslin. Allow to drain for 10 to 20 minutes.
    • Add the salt in 2 steps: while stirring the curds well for salt distribution and to encourage the final whey drainage. Leave for 10 minutes between the two additions to allow the salt to dissolve.
    • Gather the four corners of the cloth and pull them together to enclose curd mass. Next, form the curd mass gently into a round ball while pulling loose ends of the cloth up through your grip as the curd begins to consolidate in its final form. A large tray will be useful for this.
    • Once the curd has formed into a nice, firm ball, tie up the cloth tight and close to the curd mass. Place the ball with the know-side-up on a hard board and spread the cloth as evenly as possible.
    • For pressing, begin very light and slowly increase the weight to a moderate level. First, for 2 hours at 25 lbs, and then for 8 to 12 hours at 50 lbs.
    • The next morning, the cheese will be fully consolidated and well-formed. Allow the cheese to dry at room temperature for 5 to 10 days until the surface is dry to touch.
    • Turn daily and rub off the molds using a textured cloth or brush, if any appear.
    • Prepare the rub. Mix in cocoa nibs, espresso beans, and black pepper and add to the olive oil. All three ingredients need to be finely ground before they are added to the oil. Make sure you rub the mixture over the entire surface of the cheese. All the crevices and gaps should be filled too.
    • Let stay for about 2 to 3 days and then repeat the rub. 2 to 3 applications after a gap of 2 to 3 days each should be sufficient to protect the surface.
    • Continue aging as before; 52 to 56 degrees Fahrenheit and 80 to 85% moisture. Turn and wipe the surface as and when a mold appears. The cheese should be aged for about 6 to 9 months but turn out great if aged for a year or little more than a year.


    • Dry Monterey Jack is a matured variant of the Monterey Jack that originated in the United States in mid-1950s. Amid those days, just the well-off people had refrigerators. In the summers, middle-class families had to store their dairy items in iceboxes cooled with ice squares. Cheeses, however, couldn't contend with milk and margarine for a place in the icebox and lost quality.
    • Dry Jack is sold at different ages and the youngest cheeses which are seven to ten months are called Dry Jack. Wheels matured for at least one year are called Special Select, and afterward, there is Golden Bear, which are wheels matured for two to four years.
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