Author Topic: SP's first Blue  (Read 1712 times)

Offline SwiftPint

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SP's first Blue
« on: October 18, 2012, 06:13:20 AM »
Hi, 
I'm completely new to cheese making and have decided to jump right in at the deep end by making a blue as my first cheese.
My recipe is based on Mary Karlin's Artisan Cheese Making, loosely based on the Roquefort & Stilton recipes.

Heres the ingredients I used:
3 litres unhomogenised Jersey milk
300ml full cream
1.2 litres whole homogenised cows milk
3 tsp crumbled danish blue cheese
10g Freeze dried cheese culture
3 drops animal rennet in 1/4 cup water
1.5 tsp salt

I started by mixing the milk and cream in an enamel pot and heating to 32.5C & stirring in the culture & blue cheese.
I then let it rest for 30 mins before adding the rennet & stirring.  I then maintained a temp of 32.5C for 1 1/2 hours.
By that point the curds had formed,  so I cut them and let sit for 15mins.
Curds looked as follows:



I then stirred the curds for a few mins,  the recipe in the book is a bit vague on this.
Then I spooned the cured into a cheese cloth.
The recipe said to hang for 30mins of until it stopped dripping.  The dripping didnt really stop, so I left overnight.
Then I lined two molds with cheesecloth and lightly pressed cured into the molds to remove any gaps.
The mold then sat at room temperature to drain for about 24hours. 
After that I took the cheeses out of the molds and flipped over and put back in for another 12 hours. They were quite firm by this point so held together fine as I handled them.

Next the cheeses were removed from the molds and cheese cloths and sprinkled the sale over them before putting in my "cheese cave". 

This is a large Tupperware tub which is rested above several demijons of beer which are kept cool by a ice/waterbath.
I can measure the temp and RH of this tub, and for the first 24hours it was at about 15C and 95% RH. 
For the last couple of days I've managed to drop the temperature to 13C, but the RH is still 95%, which I think is too high.  I've been leaving the lid on because I thought that would keep the RH down compared to leaving it off surrounded by water and ice!

The cheese has started developing some blue and has a slight PR smell to it. 
The only problem is that its also developing white mold on it.  Is this normal?  I think this may be due to the high RH?  Is there anything to do to drop this down a bit?  I think I need to get a dedicated cheese cave rather than relying on the homebrews ice waterbath. 

It looks like this, you can make out the white mold forming and some patches of blue underneath.  The cheese feels a bit rubbery to the touch,  is that normal? I was expecting something a bit softer,  will that change over time?


I have a few questions about places I might have gone wrong...
Firstly,  should I have left the cheese out at room temperature to develop blue before putting in the cheese cave?

Should I have poked holes before putting in the cheese cave?  The roquefort recipe in the book reckoned I poke then a week after being in the cave,  but I've seen people of the net do the holes first...

Should I have used more salt?  1.5tsp didnt seem like very much!

Should I do something to stop the white mold? 

sorry, so many questions!!   :o


Any help and feedback is greatly appreciated!!





Offline SwiftPint

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Re: SP's first Blue
« Reply #1 on: October 19, 2012, 03:11:09 AM »
Update!
Only 24 hours after the last picture and the cheese is a lot bluer.   8)
Blue is developing where the white mold is,  so I think the white is a pre-cursor to the blue?
Am I right in thinking the blue are the spores from the mold? 
I'm feeling a lot more relaxed now, as I was worried before that the cheese had been taken over by something I didnt want! 

No doubt more pics to follow over the next few days!

Offline SwiftPint

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Re: SP's first Blue
« Reply #2 on: October 20, 2012, 05:02:01 AM »
Its not really showing up in the photos, but theres loads of blue coming through where the white mold is.  Although I'm still a bit worried by the amount of white mold.  ???




Offline bbracken677

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Re: SP's first Blue
« Reply #3 on: October 20, 2012, 07:17:47 PM »
Really interesting looking cheeses! For sure keep us updated on the progress, as I am working on perfecting the blues as well   :)

Offline SwiftPint

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Re: SP's first Blue
« Reply #4 on: October 25, 2012, 08:51:04 AM »
Theres a bit more blue coming through,  but not really as much as I was expecting at this stage. 
I spiked it with holes after a week (about 5days ago now) and there doesnt appear to be any blue growing around the holes which I kind of expected.
My humidity sensor was showing 95% for ages,   but I think that was a false reading.  The sensor's range is up to 95%,  so  I think condensation had gotten into the sensor and caused it to max out.  Now its showing 75%-ish RH however there seems to be a lot of moisture in the box the cheeses are in,  so I'm not confident this is correct.  I've got another one on order so will compare when that arrives.

The cheeses smell quite strongly now,  a bit of a PR smell,  and a bit amonia.   What will happen if my humidity is too high?  or too low?  Which is more likely to ruin my cheese?

I've been flipping them daily and they are softening up a bit,  which I think is a good thing.
When I turned them a few days ago I accidentally broke a bit off the corner of one of the cheeses, underneath texture looked like a brie/camembert which I wasnt really expected,  but exciting that it looks like real cheese!

How much is airflow a problem?  I've got them in a large tuperware tub which is sealed to help hold the temp & RH,  so air exchange onlt happens when I get them out to flip.  Is this going to limit airflow too much? What impact with I get from this?  The main reason for airflow is to supply oxygen to enable PR growth right?

I'm still pretty excited about how this is turning out,  but a little concerned by not really knowing what the RH is...  I'd hate for it to go mouldy and have to chuck them out!

I know that after a while in my cheese cave I need to wrap it in foil and stick it in the fridge to age,  what do I do if I prolong the time in the cave whilst waiting for PR to take hold? Is prolonged ripening in the cave a bad thing?

Sorry,  lots of questions there!    :)
 

Offline H-K-J

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Re: SP's first Blue
« Reply #5 on: October 25, 2012, 10:12:07 AM »
take the cheese out of the fridge and air it out daily,
if you are getting an ammonia aroma :o the humidity is to high in the ageing container loosen the lid and let the air in and humidity out
I usually let my Stiltonesqe cheese air for at least a half hour to an hour this way I get to admire it sniff and smell and smile allot  ;D
its very scary with a first blue just keep an eye (and nose on it) and keep up dating, lots of help here on the forum ^-^
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Offline SwiftPint

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Re: SP's first Blue
« Reply #6 on: October 25, 2012, 10:30:30 AM »
Cheers for the quick response!

The ammonia smell is not overpowering, but still a bit off-putting.
I think I fell foul of a dodgy RH sensor,  so I've been trying to crank up the humidity even though it was probably high enough/too high...

I'll give it a good airing tonight & try to make sure its not too humid when it goes back in the box. Hopefully the new RH sensor will have arrived today....
I've read people refering to "taking their cheese for a walk..."  is that what they mean?

I love the blog HKJ,  I actually used it quite a bit when I was making these cheeses, along with the book, cos you blog has loads of good pictures and guidance.
How old is that cheese now? 

Just out of interest,  the milling and adding salt that you do,  is that a specific procedure?  What impact does that have on the cheese as opposed to springling the salt on the outside per the recipe I followed?


Thanks v much!  O0

Offline H-K-J

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Re: SP's first Blue
« Reply #7 on: October 25, 2012, 11:45:01 AM »
Quote
I've read people referring to "taking their cheese for a walk..."  is that what they mean?
yup, that's what they mean ;)
Quote
How old is that cheese now?
It was born on the forth of August, flipped in the mold for 5 or 6 days placed in ageing container for 18 days holding temp as close to 70º as possible RH was held between 89% to 93% then placed in the cave at 50º to 55º at an RH of 89% to 93% for a little over 2 months now, so on November 4Th it will be  3 months old.
I plan on ageing at least 2 more weeks, possibly 3 then bag it :) if my memory serves me, a Stilton is aged 10 to 11 weeks, so we shall see :P
Quote
Just out of interest,  the milling and adding salt that you do,  is that a specific procedure?  What impact does that have on the cheese as opposed to springling the salt on the outside per the recipe I followed?
that is just assimilating the Stilton process as close as I can, not to sure of the affect of salting the outside although I have read about this process on other blue type cheese.
I am sure the more informed on the forum can chime in on that 8)
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Offline SwiftPint

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Re: SP's first Blue
« Reply #8 on: October 26, 2012, 03:30:24 AM »
Right,  my new hygrometer sensor arrived yesterday,  so I decided to check the humidity of my cheese box & see how it compared to my old sensor.
Old sensor: 75% RH.  New, more accurate sensor: 99.5%   :o

Oops!

So I took the cheeses out to give a good airing and cleaned & dried the box.
I've sealed the box and now its reading a fairly steady 84%,  which isn't ideal,  but better then before & not too far off where I want to be.

Hopefully the really high humidity didnt do too much damage....  Would humidity that high have suppressed the growth of PR? 

Offline SwiftPint

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Re: SP's first Blue
« Reply #9 on: October 28, 2012, 02:54:14 PM »
OK,
Since my last update the cheese has been at 89-93% RH and between 11-13C which I think is the right range for this cheese.  My main concern is that it was too humid and too warm for too long.
There has been little extra blue growth on the outside & it has turned slightly browny/yellow.

The cheeses has a really wierd smell which is slightly offputting & my main concern.
Its hard to describe, I suspect its a mix of different things.
It smells like a mix of a bit PR, a bit amonia, slightly of wet dog hair, very slightly fishy (urea/ammonia?), slightly feet/gym bag-ish.  The smell isn't overwhelming, just when you get up close and have a good sniff.  Its a bit worrying,  as I thought it would smell a bit more cheesey!

I re-poked the holes again today.  When you poke holes,  is it possible to "feel" whats going on inside?  When I was doing some of mine I could feel changes it texture within as I poked the holes.  I tasted some of the cheese that came out on the skewer, and it had a great PR taste to it,  so I think good stuff is happening on the inside.   Hopefully....

Anyway this is what it looks like,  definitely a lot darker in colour that before.  I'm regretting not smoothing it off as it looks a bit of a mess now!



Offline H-K-J

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Re: SP's first Blue
« Reply #10 on: October 29, 2012, 08:46:08 AM »
Quote
It smells like a mix of a bit PR, a bit ammonia, slightly of wet dog hair, very slightly fishy (urea/ammonia?), slightly feet/gym bag-ish.  The smell isn't overwhelming, just when you get up close and have a good sniff.  Its a bit worrying,  as I thought it would smell a bit more cheesy!

I think the only smell's you should worry about would be the fishy smell, maybe try and get the RH down some more, as far as how it looks, NARRLEY  :o
actually they look great (scary huh ;)) unless the fish and the ammonia smell's get worse you should be fine, maybe remove the lid from the container for a couple days, I had to do this on my first one and the smells lightened up.

H-K-J
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Offline SwiftPint

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Re: SP's first Blue
« Reply #11 on: October 30, 2012, 08:13:31 AM »
I think I'm probably just stressing too much as I don't have the experience of how a cheese will progress as it develops.
I gave it a good airing and have the lid on loose.  RH is about 86%.  Its started to smell more cheese like and less scary.  I think I just need to chill out a bit and give it more time!

Thanks for the re-assurance and advice HKJ!

Offline SwiftPint

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Re: SP's first Blue
« Reply #12 on: November 20, 2012, 07:34:08 AM »
Well the smell cleared up just fine.  They now have an amazing PR smell to them. 
Visually they havent changed too much since the last photo:



The cheese is now almost 5 weeks old,  so I think is approaching the end of the cave ageing phase.
How do I know when its ready?  Is is personal preference based on taste?  They are small-ish sheeses so I dont want to destroy them by taking too many samples.

When I age them in the fridge, is is best to age as a whole or to cut up first?  Cutting up would give the advantage of being able to see inside and have a bit of a taste!
Will it be any good to eat at this stage,  or do they really need the colder ageing?

Any advise at this stage would be really helpful.  I dont want to eat too soon, but also dont want to leave them too long.
Any chance they will be ready for Christmas?

 
I've already started my second blue....  8)

Offline Tiarella

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Re: SP's first Blue
« Reply #13 on: November 20, 2012, 10:33:37 AM »
Just saw this thread and want to mention that many folks like to dry the inside of the box when they take the cheese out for an airing.....this can help keep the RH level lower when that's what you're aiming for.

Offline george (MaryJ)

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Re: SP's first Blue
« Reply #14 on: November 21, 2012, 05:19:14 AM »
SwiftPint, a lot of that depends on how strong and/or sharp you like your blues.  If you don't like them to bite you back, then test earlier rather than later.  One of my major cheese disappointments has been discovering that I let any given Stilton age too long and have no choice but to bury it in cooking.   :-\

My experience also has been that cut pieces of blues continue to age and get stronger anyway (albeit more slowly than in the cave).  So not to worry about that.  When I need to test a cheese (any cheese, actually, not just blues), I cut it in half and taste from one half.  Determining if it's ready doesn't take that much actual cheese from that half, so I still have the luxury at that point of having two rather large pieces to age - not as good as a whole, but better than bunches of little chunks, right?  And if it IS ready, then you can portion and package it right then and there.  Seems like that also would mostly solve your problem of not wanting to keep losing cheese because they're smallish and they might need more aging.
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