Want to take your passion for cheese to the next level? Try ripening your own cheese at home! The Cheese Grotto creates the perfect humid environment for young cheeses to mature.
Here’s a home cheesemaking tip: Using a digital hygrometer thermometer to measure cheese humidity and temperature will take your DIY cheese projects to the next level. Check out our guide to cheese and humidity for more, and read on to learn how to ripen fresh crottin cheese in your Cheese Grotto.
Fresh Crottin by Vermont Creamery
This history of crottin cheese dates back to before the 8th century in Loire Valley, France. The small rounds of ripened goat cheeses originate with the Saracens of Arab descent, who populated the Loire Valley at this time, and migrated to the region with their herds of goats. When the Saracens were forced to leave the valley, they left their goats and cheese making traditions behind for the French to follow suit.
Fresh Crottin, 3 days ripened
Vermont Creamery's Fresh Crottin is modeled after the region's Crottin de Chavignol, and it is inoculated with all the cultures necessary to eat fresh and rindless, or to ripen over a week to one month. If Vermont Creamery's Fresh Crottin is not readily available, you can ask your local monger if they have any fresh French goat cheese already inoculated with cultures for ripening, and many of the top cheese counters do.
When ripened in the Grotto, the transformation of the crottin is gratifying and delicious at every stage. Store the Crottin at approximately 60 to 65 degrees Fahrenheit and 80% humidity, flip the Fresh Crottin once in the morning, once at night, and it will develop a wrinkly rind within a week's time. Store it for longer between 70% to 80% humidity, and the crottin will slowly become denser with time, becoming more flavorful and complex. The rind will become mottled with blue and gray molds within week three, which is completely normal and not to be feared.
Fresh Crottin, One Week Ripened
Before refrigeration existed, the crottin was an important cheese that, as it became denser with age, also increased its overall shelf life, making it a cheese that could preserve for over 3 months time. It will become more piquant as it ages, transforming from a snacking cheese to something to grate over a salad or pasta. It is an absolute treat to enjoy the crottin at any stage along the way.
Fresh Crottin, 3 weeks ripened
3 Week Old Crottin, cut in half.
I made a two video tutorials on how to best ripen the Crottin in the Grotto, watch along as I offer tips along the way so that you get your most desired result.