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My hope is to inspire you to be fearless in the kitchen, to try new things, to take the time to make things the homemade way and most importantly, to have fun doing it!

Triple Pepper Jack Cheese (+ One Hour Cheese Review & Giveaway!) Cooking View

My blog email inbox is clogged daily with PR pitches, recipe contests, and review opportunities.  I am pretty quick to delete the majority of them because that’s not why I’m here and I know that’s not why you are here.  However, every once in a while an offer will catch my eye.  That happened recently when I had my finger hovering over ‘delete’ and then reread the title – One Hour Cheese by Claudia Lucero.  Hello?!  As someone who adores cheese and loves making everything from scratch, this seemed right up my alley. This book recently launched and to celebrate its release, myself along with several other awesome bloggers are doing a blog tour with our reviews of the book.  I’m very excited to be kicking off the tour!  I also have to give huge props to the author Claudia Lucero.  She is a really inspiring person who took something that she was interested in and passionate about  and turned it into a business venture by making it accessible to regular people.  Learn more about her here in this video or in her Etsy shop.

I have minimal experience with cheese making (only ricotta, but that’s so easy I don’t really count it.)  Last summer I was absolutely determined to make homemade mozzarella from scratch.  I tried but failed, and it was very disheartening.  I felt really unsure of where to go from there since that recipe was from a usually trusted source (I know now though, it was definitely my mistake and not a fault of the recipe.)  Anyway, I read the premise of this book and knew it was precisely what I needed to get more practice with cheese making.  It includes very clear instructions (a must!) and step-by-step photos of the entire process for every single cheese.  There is also a very thorough introduction detailing the different ingredients and equipment needed. And in case you were thinking homemade cheese needs a bunch of special equipment or supplies, think again. I only needed one specialty item for this recipe.  Everything else was already in my kitchen.

The book includes recipes for 16 different cheeses as well as excellent follow up recipes for what you can do with the lovely cheese you just made.  I’ve talked before about how I like to determine the percentage of recipes I truly want to try as a measure of a cookbook’s worth.  I can tell you with complete honesty that I want to try every.single.recipe in this book.  I had the hardest time deciding which recipe to try first but eventually landed on this triple pepper jack because I just can’t resist a good spicy cheese. (The brown butter burrata was a very close second though.)  I have every intention of trying all of them!

I’m telling you, I was nervous.  I didn’t want another failure like last summer.  Thankfully this recipe was a resounding success and we were amazed with the results.  It is so, so good!  Ben and I both just kept looking at it like – did I really just make legit cheese?  And yes, it truly took less than an hour to make.  So fun!  Cheese making may very well become another routine weekend activity in our house along with bread baking.  Oh yes, that would be very nice indeed.

So, are you interested in winning your own copy of One Hour Cheese?  If so, head on over to the giveaway page to enter!

Full disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of One Hour Cheese for the purpose of this review.  All opinions are 100% my own.

Triple Pepper Jack Cheese
Yield: about 12-16 oz. cheese

Ingredients

1/2 cup plus 1/4 cup water, divided
1½ tsp. citric acid
¼ tablet rennet
1 gallon whole milk, not ultra-pasteurized*
1 cup low-fat yogurt (I used greek yogurt)*
2 tbsp. diced pickled jalapeño peppers
1 tbsp. red pepper flakes
1 tsp. coarsely ground black pepper
2 tsp. kosher salt

Cooking View

Directions

  • Place the ½ cup of water in a small bowl. Stir in the citric acid and set aside. In a separate dish, dissolve the rennet in the ¼ cup of water and set aside.

  • Combine the milk and yogurt in a large stockpot over medium heat.  Whisk to blend well.  Whisk in the citric acid mixture.  Continue to heat, stirring frequently.  Carefully monitor the temperature until the mixture reaches 90˚ F.  Make sure you take the temperature in multiple places in the pot since some areas will be hotter than others.

  • Once the mixture reaches 90˚ F, stir in the rennet solution in 20 quick strokes to ensure even mixing. Continue to heat without stirring until the mixture reaches 105˚ F.  You will see the curds beginning to form.

  • Once the milk reaches 105˚ F, reduce the heat to low to maintain that temperature.  Very gently stir the curds in the pot until the texture is similar to scrambled egg rather than soft yogurt.

  • Use a slotted spoon or skimmer to scoop the curds into a microwave-safe bowl. Drain off any excess whey into the pot, holding the curds back in the bowl.

  • Microwave the curds for 1 minute on high. Fold the mixture over on itself five times to help evenly distribute the heat. Drain off the whey that has been released.  Microwave 30 more seconds.  Immediately drain off the whey that is released.

  • Sprinkle the jalapeños, red pepper flakes, black pepper and salt onto the curds.

  • Fold the curds over the peppers about 10 times to mix them in evenly.

  • Microwave for one last 30 second interval. There should not be much whey at this point. Fold and knead the curds to distribute the heat evenly. (If the curds are too hot to handle, consider wearing clean kitchen gloves to do this.) Eventually a smooth, springy mass will form (this may take up to 30 folds depending on the milk used and the temperature.)

  • Line a loaf pan or other dish with plastic wrap or parchment paper.  Pack the smooth curd mixture into the pan.  Transfer to the freezer for about 10 minutes to set before unmolding.

  • *Lower fat milk may be used, but the texture will be slightly firmer.

    The yogurt is added for a tangier flavor but can be omitted if you prefer.  

Source

  • Abigail Hoppen

    If I could eat one thing the rest of my life it would be cheese and cheese alone.

    I never knew you could make this! I’ve always made goat cheese or mozzarella and ricotta.

    this shall be on my new cheese bucket list!

  • Carole

    I wanted to try making mozzarella but the recipe I had called for raw milk and I couldn’t easily get that so I never attempted it at all. This book sounds like it would be a great way to try cheese making and boy, does that grilled cheese look amazing!

  • Emma

    Your integrity as a blogger is one of the (many) reasons why you and Smitten Kitchen are my favorite food blogs, out of the dozen or so that I read. It’s hard for me to trust recipes that come from blogs that are crammed with giveaways and sponsored posts — I almost feel like I’m being spammed. So, thanks for being so awesome! It was your beautiful food and reliable recipes that first brought me here (actually, your Brazilian shrimp soup was the very first food blog recipe I ever tried!), and it’s your wonderful recipes and photos that keep me here, years later. :-)

  • annieseats

    Emma, thank you so much for this. You have no idea how much I appreciate it!

  • Shari

    Wow, simply wow!

  • Liz N.

    I, too, have appreciated how you have maintained your integrity as a blogger, stayed true to yourself and your readers. I trust your recipes implicitly because they have never let me down. This is another example of a recipe that causes a little discomfort in my mind but inspires me to give it a go. Your detailed recipes always make me feel like I can never fail! Thank you!

  • Dalia Elsherbeni

    Where can you buy citric acid and not ultra-pasteurized milk ? does this mean raw milk?

  • annieseats

    Citric acid should be available in most stores with the canning supplies, or you can buy it online. Non-ultra pasteurized milk is not raw milk. Just regular pasteurized. I have seen it at Whole Foods, Fresh Market, and I know Oberweis is also not ultra pasteurized. A lot of stores probably have it, you just have to read the label.

  • annieseats

    Thank you so much Liz!!

  • rita

    Hi Annie,
    A couple of questions: 1) Where did you find the citric acid? I don’t recall seeing that in my local grocery stores. 2) After 10 min in the freezer, the cheese is ready to eat? If so, WOW!

    Thanks.

  • annieseats

    It’s usually with the canning supplies. Yep, ready after 10 minutes in the freezer.

  • Kari

    Thank you for being picky about doing sponsored posts — it gets so annoying on other food blogs! I know some food bloggers have to rely on the income, but it feels like we can never get away from commercialization from big businesses. When you have a giveaway, I actually pay attention because I know you must love it :)

  • Judith M.

    Thank you for this recipe and the giveaway.

  • Leah

    I can’t wait to try this! Not only does it sound fun to make, but it looks like it melted really well too. One question: do you think that this would hold up to shredding like store bought pepper jack, or is it on the softer side?

  • Robin Chedister

    This looks yummy! Does the book contain directions for making this using a method other hn microwaving it? Would love to try it but we don’t have a microwave

  • Colleen

    I have made your ricotta a number of times-with great success, just wondering how long this would keep in the fridge?

  • Meredith

    Mmmm my favorite : cheese!
    I don’t have a microwave though, are there alternative options indicated in the book?

  • Tracy

    I just added “One Hour Cheese” to my Amazon list! One quick question, I no longer own a microwave, do you think I could continue to heat the curd/whey mixture on the stove as a I fold? Do you think this recipe is possible without microwaving? Thanks!

  • Suzanne

    This looks really good! I would love to make this.

  • annieseats

    Yes! The book actually includes instructions on how to make it without a microwave. I just didn’t include that for the sake of brevity but I think that is the gist of it.

  • annieseats

    Yes, there are! Sorry I didn’t include them here but she includes alternate options in the book.

  • annieseats

    We tried shredding it last night and it was too soft for that. However, I think if you froze it and then shredded, that would work. The book also says the texture will be firmer with a lower fat milk but I made it with whole milk, so that is something to consider as well.

  • annieseats

    Yes! The book does have alternate instructions for those who don’t have a microwave.

  • http://joanne-eatswellwithothers.com/ Joanne (eats well with others)

    I am just so in awe of this. YOU MADE CHEESE. That is just so crazy!

  • annieseats

    That is exactly how I feel about it still! Haha.

  • Claudia Lucero

    Just wanted to say that as the author of One Hour Cheese, it also means a lot that you truly and genuinely like the book and want to try every recipe! It’s a high compliment. Enjoy experimenting Annie! Claudia from Urban Cheesecraft

  • annieseats

    Thanks again, Claudia!

  • SK

    Oh why do you do this… Now I have to try making it….;-) looks amazing! Haven’t been on your site for a while and here is come back to see all these wonderful recipes…… Have to hunt down this book too!

  • annieseats

    Mine lasted at least that long. Then I started worrying about it going bad so I froze it until I needed it again. I’m glad it turned out well!

  • Khatija A.

    Has the winner been chosen yet?

  • sweetsugarbelle

    I’m totally buying this book!

  • annieseats

    Yes, they were notified last week.