FAILED. I announced my latest attempt to make kojeese a failure. But I still believe it’s important to share my thoughts so we all can learn and be more clever next time. Or just luckier. :)
I did my fresh cheese as usual. Nothing new – i have the method written down in some of my previous posts.
Bought raw milk. Made kojeese using 2 litres of raw cows milk, coagulated and inoculated with clean luchuensis spores then left the cheese out at room temperature to dry for 24 hours. Dusted with toasted rice flour and placed it in the fridge for ageing – flipping every second day. After 2 weeks -bit wet bit slimy – started to have some ‘raw fresh cheese smell’ and looks like some mould appeared on some of the wheels. Gave a bit of love, add a second round of spore dust to the surface with some more toasted rice flour (trying to feed my spores) and placed it back in the fridge (temperature there: 7 degrees).
After a week later – cheese looks contaminated with more than 3 different types of moulds – most of them not related to any cheese lover microscopic fungi. At this point, i asked my CheeseMaster Friend’s opinion. “bin it”. At this point, the kojeese did have some sexy smell but honestly – nothing even close to what i was aiming for in the first place. BINNED.
Troubleshooting. Here we go.
There is a reason why there isn’t any kojeese in the market – not even in the Asian countries.
Koji is a carb mould. Not a protein mould (like Roquefort).
It loves subtropical heat – anything above 20degrees (at least) with heavy humidity. Not like dairy cheeses which require refrigeration (at least) – or cave temperature not more than 12 degrees. ‘ish.
That’s problematic enough. Makes it pretty difficult to find the way. But when one door closes another one opens, right?
Well – the dairy kojeese seems not to work in the way i wanted to (for now :))… but on the other hand, my vegan nutji’ was working with joy and happiness. I even managed to get that far to claim out loud that i can make that happen in a uniform and steady way again and again. After a million lessons and experiments of course – but now i know. Working with a ‘living creature’ is never easy but pays back big time.
It works because: my base is nothing that i have to keep at low temperature (like milk). On the contrary – nut can stand a bit of a sweat (the heat that my koji loves). Also, i just googled a few very interesting numbers about nutritional values;
250g of milk contains 12g carbs, 8g protein and 8 g fat.
30g cashew contains 9g carbs, 5g protein and 12g fat.
SO BY THIS, THE MILK IS BETTER FOR CARB-LOVER-KOJI WITH MORE CARBS. But also milk is almost 90% water – which is mostly gone by the cheese-making process so:
30g of fresh mozzarella contains 1g carbs, 6g protein and 6g fat.
30g of feta contains 1g carbs, 6g protein and 5g fat.
Pretty straightforward. Nuts are better food for my spores. Also texture-wise easily ‘upgradeable’ by blending some freshly cooked rice in there to increase even more the carb value of the block of your nut paste. So yes. The future is in my nutji’. For sure.
(footnote: just spent some money on a few new books to extend my knowledge towards starch-based ‘cheeeze blocks’ which could work even better as koji LOVES starches!!! keep continue asap i put my hands on those books….)
p.s.> I’m not givin’ up fully the dairy koji trials. I have a more realistic idea in my crazy brain cells – by making some simple semi-hard cheese first then inoculate the surface with koji. At this stage, i believe the wheel of cheese can stand the room temperature for a few days till my spores got stronger and their enzymes start to kick off. Also, i love a good blue stilton – when I first tried kojeese project in a previous blogpost i had some results with serious blue-cheese notes and i loved it. So what if i make a stilton then inoculate some spores in the ‘blue mould holes’? It is possible that PENICILLIUM ROQUEFORTI is way more stronger than my ASPERGILLUS ORYZAE but at that stage, i only want delicious ‘food-grade moulds’ in my cheese. The issue now I’m facing is mainly in the milk and that i haven’t got a strong cheese mould that can take over and demolish all the other unwanted fungus. The same story with the koji – if you want to make sure you have a safe koji (even when the environmental circumstances are not 100% great – like growing on a piece of steak?!)) you just have to make sure to use a massive amount of it so it will rule above all.
We see – but projects are still on. Keep pushing the limits. You never know till you try.