This Wiki Article discusses the practice of turning or flipping a cheese normally upside down, which occurs at several cheese making steps depending on cheese type and recipe. Soft non-formed cheeses like yogurt and cream cheese are not turned. While a relatively simple subject there are some best procedures which if not followed can result in damage or defects to the cheese.
For all the Descriptions, Reasons, Methods, and Frequencies detailed below i) keep records for next cheese make of same cheese type, and ii) do not “sweat” attaining the exact time to turn, high accuracy is not critical.
Turning Unpressed Cheeses During Forming
Soft formed cheeses such as when making Camembert, Feta, or Ricotta are normally turned during draining in unpressed type mold or hoop.
To enable gravity to provide:
- An evenly shaped versus lopsided shaped cheese for proper development and for better aesthetics.
- Even moisture, fat, and protein distribution throughout the cheese and thus proper development of the cheese.
- If using unpressed draining mold such as for Ricotta or Feta making, then turn mold upside down and catch cheese in hand and then drop cheese back into the mold but top down, turned.
- If using hoops such as for Camembert making, to hold curds together and avoid cheese going lopsided, place second mat over top of hoop, hold mat-hoop-mat sandwich with both hands, then lift quickly into air, then cheese is “weightless”, quickly turn the cheese then lower and allow cheese to slide down inside hoop. Similar to single handed flipping a pancake in a frying pan.
For both methods, initially on first turn the cheese will be soft and poorly formed but will gain firmer shape as drained further.
If no turning schedule in recipe then turn after ½ hour, 1 hour, 2 hours, 5 hours, 12 hours, 24 hours, 3 days, etc.
Turning During Brine Bathing Cheeses
Some cheese making recipes such as Gouda’s use brine bathing as a method salting cheeses and building a dehydrated hard rind as protection against surface molds. Cheeses during brining are periodically turned.
As cheese is less dense than brine, during brining the cheese floats with the top above the surface of the brine similar to an iceberg where 10% is above the surface and 90% is in the sea. Here the cheese should be periodically turned to ensure even brining and thus even rind development of all surfaces.
The easiest is to push cheese down into the brine and turn under the brine before resurfacing. Cheeses can also be lifted up out of the brine and turned and replaced into the brine, but if done they should be lifted from the bottom and thus placed in compression as pinching the top of a cheese to lift it can result in tears in the oft young cheese as it weak in tension.
If no turning schedule in recipe then if brine bathing for days, turn minimum every half day, if small ~2 pound/1 kg cheeses and brining for few hours, then turn every hour.
Turning Cheeses During Pressing
As cheese is moist and weak in tension yet strong in compression, lift cheese from bottom and turn with hands, do not pinch and lift vertically as cheese is weak in tension and can crack.
If no turning schedule in recipe then turn after 1/2 hour, 2 hours, 4 hours, 8 hours, 1 day, etc depending on duration of pressing.
Turning Cheeses During Air Drying And Aging
Cheeses after forming are commonly air dried and then aged during which the cheeses are turned, common examples are Gouda and Edam.
The reasons for turning formed cheeses during air drying and aging are to:
- During air drying to allow all surfaces of the cheese in early aging days to dry evenly and to minimize the cheese having a damp bottom and high risk of yeast infection developing on the bottom against the draining mat or board.
- During aging to minimize gravity causing a lopsided pear shaped cheese resulting in:
- Uneven moisture, fat, and protein distribution throughout the cheese and improper development of the cheese.
- Aesthetically unpleasing cheese.
When young and cheese is moist, as strong in compression, lift cheese from bottom and turn with hands, do not pinch and lift vertically as cheese is weak in tension and can crack. As cheese ages and looses moisture it generally has more tensile strength and can withstand more robust handling.
If no turning schedule in recipe then turn after 2 hours, 6 hours, 12 hours, 24 hours, 3 days, 1 week etc.