This cheese that has gained popularity around the world was first developed in California. It is a semi hard white cheese made from cow’s milk, but goat’s milk works well too. Monterey Jack is well known for its mild and slightly sweet taste. Aging Jack cheese for long periods allows it to take on the properties of cheese like cheddar. Its color becomes yellow and the flavor sharper. Jack cheeses that are not aged are often produced with herbs and flavourings to enhance its taste. In this recipe, we’ll be making the plain version of Monterey Jack.
Preparation Time: 2 hours
Cook Time: 2 hours
Yield:2.26 kg cheese
Aging: 3 months
- Milk (19 L)- Don’t use UHT/ UP milk
- 3/8 tsp Bioprox M265 Mesophilic Starter Culture
- ½ tsp liquid animal rennet
- 3 tbsp cheese salt (Use calcium chloride if using pasteurized milk)
- large pot
- curd knife
- ladle or spoon for stirring
- cheese cloth
- cheese hoop
- cheese press
- cheese cloth
- 18% Saturated Brine
- Cheese wax (optional)
Available at the Cheese Kettle Shop
Bioprox M265 is a mesophilic starter culture for making cheeses like Cheddar, Colby, Monterey Jack, Feta and Chevre.
Round hoops for different types of cheese.
Mechanical cheese press
1. Heat the milk to 320 C. Add the culture. Let it rest for 2 to 3 minutes to rehydrate. Stir well in an up and down motion for 1 minute.
2. Cover the pot and allow the culture to ripen for 45 minutes.
3. Add the calcium chloride solution and stir thoroughly (Skip this part if you’re using cheese salt).
4. Add the rennet while continually stirring the milk.
5. Allow the curds to set for 45 to 50 minutes.
6. Once a firm curd is established, cut it into 20 mm cubes using a curd knife or a curd cutter.
7. Let it rest for 10 minutes and stir again. Be sure to stir gently because the curds are very tender at this stage.
8. Increase the heat to 380 C. Stir the curds frequently but gently. You’ll notice the curds shrinking as the temperature increases to 380 C. Stir the curds occasionally for the next 30 minutes.
9. Pour half of the whey out. Cover the pot and let the curds set for 30 minutes. Maintain the 380 C temperature.
10. If you’ve added calcium chloride earlier, directly line the hoop with cheesecloth and put it on a colander. Pour the curds to drain. If you’re using cheese salt, pour the curds into a colander lined with cheesecloth to drain. Add the cheese salt and mix well. Line the hoop with a fresh cheesecloth and put the curds in the hoop.
11. Pull the cheesecloth to cover the top and put the hoop in the cheese press. Press it at 13 pounds of pressure for 1 hour.
12. After an hour, open the cheese, turn it over gently, and redress it with a fresh cheese cloth. Pop it back into the hoop and press at a 30 pound pressure for 6 hours. Turn the cheese and repeat the procedure for another 6 hours. You would have to turn the cheese over twice in a 12-hour period.
13. The next day, remove the cheese from the hoop and brine it. Brining is optional. You may do this if you haven’t added salt cheese. Air dry the cheese for 2 to 3 days until it is smooth and dry to the touch. Turn it every 12 hours.
14. Wax or vacuum pack the cheese and age at 10 to 120 C for 60 days. Turn it once weekly. Monterey Jack’s flavor becomes stronger and sharper the longer you age it.
Variants of Monterey Jack
Dry Jack has a pale yellow pate, a rich nutty, yet mildly assertive flavor and a firm texture.
Pepper jack is Monterey jack cheese flavored with sweet pepper, garlic, rosemary, habañero chilies and spicy jalapeños.
Check out other available cheese making equipment and ingredients from our shop.