Author Topic: Mats - Bamboo  (Read 2851 times)

Offline Cartierusm

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Mats - Bamboo
« on: February 14, 2009, 03:32:24 AM »
I've decided to no longer use bamboo mats for a few reasons. Reason one, they are hard to sterilize, even though I just leave them in star san for a while. Next they are about 1/4" short on each side for my size wheels. Third they do have a taste to them, don't ask how I know, but they are not neutral. Fourth they hold in moisture, by absorbtion. Fifth with the sticks so close together they don't really do much in terms of air surface area. What you are really trying to do is create a lot of surface area for air while minimizing the area the bamboo takes up but still provides enough support to hold the cheese without drooping or sagging. Sixth the string almost creates a barrier to keep whey from dripping off from under the mat quickly,it lingers. Seventh the barrier created by the string doesn't allow as much air in as possible.

So I've machined a couple of HDPE boards for draining, aging and flipping. I made them with 1/4" squares 1/2" apart to hold up the cheese. Better but I think i can do better I just have to do some testing. I want the end result to be less flipping because the bottom of the cheese is too wet.
Life is like a box of chocolates sometimes too much rennet makes you kill people.


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Offline John (CH)

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Re: Mats - Bamboo
« Reply #1 on: February 14, 2009, 07:39:15 AM »
Carter, good post and good thoughts. While they are cheap, readily available, and good for when you are starting to make cheese, I agree that they are not hygenic and have the other problems you state.

My problem is like you said, not getting enough stand off up out of the drained whey, not good for any cheese but especially P candidum type cheeses where having "it's feet in the water" is not conducive to mold growth, at least not on the cheese's bottom.

Offline Captain Caprine

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Re: Mats - Bamboo
« Reply #2 on: February 14, 2009, 10:26:26 AM »
I never liked bamboo, for sanitary reasons mainly, and I found it to be fairly sticky when making camembert.  For a while I changed over to the foam mats that I use for holding wood steady under my router but found like Carter did with the Bamboo that the air circulation was insufficient underneath.  My solution for this was to build a PVC frame to elevate the mat and support from below.  Eventually I got tired of sanitizing the mats as well.  While cruising through a dollar store I found both rectangular and circular plastic colanders.  They are dishwasher safe and at 99 cents and $1.99 respectively you cant beat the cost.  I suspend them over a stock pot for draining curd and then flip them over and they give great air circulation.  Obviously they are not going to work for Carter sized wheels but for the rest of us mortals they are a great alternative to bamboo.  The rectangular colanders are also great feta molds.
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Offline Cartierusm

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Re: Mats - Bamboo
« Reply #3 on: February 14, 2009, 02:17:28 PM »
LOL. Could you post some pics I'm still figuring out what the best design is and seeing as these work for you they should give me some idea, thanks.
Life is like a box of chocolates sometimes too much rennet makes you kill people.

Offline Tea

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Re: Mats - Bamboo
« Reply #4 on: February 14, 2009, 02:28:48 PM »
I have to agree here.  I have perservered with these mats for a while now, and it seems that no matter how I sterilise, whether they are new or reused, I get mould forming, and they also stick to the cheese.  I have ordered in some plastic draining mats that I am going to trial, and hopefully it will be better than what I have been doing.


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Offline stuartjc

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Re: Mats - Bamboo
« Reply #5 on: February 16, 2009, 02:17:07 PM »
I am using cooling rack - nice big square holes, and it sits on legs to allow air to circulate beneath.

Plus, I can just chuck it into the dish washer :)

Offline Cartierusm

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Re: Mats - Bamboo
« Reply #6 on: February 16, 2009, 02:23:58 PM »
I would make sure the cooling rack is Stainless Steel and not just chrome as the acids in the cheese might affect it and the cheese.
Life is like a box of chocolates sometimes too much rennet makes you kill people.

Offline stuartjc

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Re: Mats - Bamboo
« Reply #7 on: February 16, 2009, 02:25:43 PM »
good point. I will check when I get home.

Offline H.A.M.

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Re: Mats - Bamboo
« Reply #8 on: February 16, 2009, 02:37:41 PM »
I also use stainless steel baking racks. I used bamboo ONCE. Yuck...they should warn you that they are NOT neutral and will flavor the cheese.

Offline LadyLiberty

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Re: Mats - Bamboo
« Reply #9 on: February 16, 2009, 03:54:50 PM »
These should work just like the expensive stuff from Dairy Connection:

http://craftersmarket.net/plascan102it.html

I don't know if it's food grade, but you will have a rind on the cheese anyway and you can sanitize it easily.  10" x 13" mats for .99 each.


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Offline chilipepper

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Re: Mats - Bamboo
« Reply #10 on: February 16, 2009, 04:26:17 PM »
LL, I use pretty much the same stuff as you posted.  There is a smaller (finer) version as well that I use for soft curd. If I'm draining I'll usually put in on the Parabolic Louvers (for fluorescent lights) cut to fit the particular container they are in.  This give a little more room for whey to accumulate.   

Here is my latest Manchego on the mats.  I actually pressed on the finer mesh mat but I'll need to find something different in the future as now I have hundreds of 'rivets' on the top and bottom of this cheese.




Offline Cartierusm

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Re: Mats - Bamboo
« Reply #11 on: February 16, 2009, 06:20:07 PM »
Ryan, I like the pattern on top it looks cool. I just bought some of the flourescent light materisl for my base and then food grade shelf liner will go on top. I was going to get the chrome version of the flourescent grate as everything shiny goes faster and must make a difference, but decided as I've used the stuff countless times it's liable to chip off, the chrome is just sprayed on.
Life is like a box of chocolates sometimes too much rennet makes you kill people.

Offline chilipepper

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Re: Mats - Bamboo
« Reply #12 on: February 16, 2009, 08:36:37 PM »
Yeah I would definately shy away from the chrome stuff... it does look cool and does look like you are going a 1000 miles per hour but I'm afraid after short order of washing and sanitizing it would be kind of mess.  Maybe you could make a Chrome-schloger cheese!

Did you get the San Jamar food grade shelf liner?

Offline LadyLiberty

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Re: Mats - Bamboo
« Reply #13 on: February 16, 2009, 08:38:31 PM »
LL, I use pretty much the same stuff as you posted.  There is a smaller (finer) version as well that I use for soft curd. If I'm draining I'll usually put in on the Parabolic Louvers (for fluorescent lights) cut to fit the particular container they are in.  This give a little more room for whey to accumulate.   

Here is my latest Manchego on the mats.  I actually pressed on the finer mesh mat but I'll need to find something different in the future as now I have hundreds of 'rivets' on the top and bottom of this cheese.




So I'm gonna have to find louvers now? ;)

Offline Cartierusm

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Re: Mats - Bamboo
« Reply #14 on: February 16, 2009, 09:30:21 PM »
LL, only if you don't want poeple looking in your windows...LOL

Didn't pick it up yet, any suggestions. I asked John about it in another thread and someone else but no one got back to me.
Life is like a box of chocolates sometimes too much rennet makes you kill people.