Here is the first looks at the first wheel of cheese from the Pickett Press (aka, the Big Press). This is a 10 gallon wheel weighing ~9lbs, made with a thermophillic culture. Battling the mold trying to sprout from it has been challenging, but since it was waxed and placed in an unheated room (stays about 50F most of the time) that has been less of an issue.
The Sierra Nevada bottle next to it is for size reference. It's about a foot in diameter, and maybe 3 1/2 inches thick. The long drying period prior to the waxing really gave the interior time to pull together, as there are very few cracks or checks. In this specific regard, working with big wheels of cheese is easier than smaller. You can dry the wheel longer without damaging the texture.
The flavor is *fantastic*. It is similar to a mild white cheddar crossed with the nuttiness of Swiss. I know this isn't correct for the style and I let it get too acidic (now I have a ph meter that won't happen), but it is a happy mistake. The texture isn't quite there yet, it is still a tad crumbly. But in my short experience another month of aging should do the trick.
It isn't a perfect wheel, but it is a delicious wheel--one that I will be proud to give out on Thanksgiving and Christmas as a hand made gift of friendship and family.
Cheese A Day by Jeremy Pickett is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 United States License.
Based on a work at cheeseaday.blogspot.com.