Author Topic: Cheese to hard/dry  (Read 659 times)

Offline tal_d1

  • Medium Cheese
  • ***
  • Location: Israel
  • Posts: 73
  • Cheeses: 7
  • Default personal text
Cheese to hard/dry
« on: October 22, 2012, 11:00:08 AM »
2 days ago i cut 4 month Emmental: http://cheeseforum.org/forum/index.php/topic,10305.0.html
The cheese turn out too dry/hard end the rind is inedible. I have 2 more cheese in my fridge: Romano and
Parmesan.  This 2 have too very hard rind and the Parmesan has rind hard like rock! and i afraid that
those cheese are lost.
Now i want to learn what i did wrong. those cheese were made from 4 gallons and press at Tomme mold (7.5" diameter)
under 130lb.
What is the reasons for the hard results ? (too much rennet, over cooked, over pressed, low humidity, cut the curds too small, etc)
« Last Edit: October 22, 2012, 11:13:58 AM by tal_d1 »


Guests, join the CheeseForum.org community to remove this ad.


Offline Alpkäserei

  • Old Cheese
  • *****
  • Location: Indiana/Kanton Bern
  • Posts: 569
  • Cheeses: 58
  • Default personal text
    • https://www.facebook.com/Kaesereigrimwald
Re: Cheese to hard/dry
« Reply #1 on: October 22, 2012, 11:52:29 AM »
Could be a number of things.

Too much rennet could be a problem, but looking at it I would say it is something else, such as:

The curd could have been raised to the cooking temperature too slowly (do not exceed 40 minutes). This is a very very easy mistake to make, and one you might not even realize you are making.

The curd was cooked to too high a temperature

You listed the diameter, but what is the height of your cheese? Too short a wheel will loose moisture and dry out. I'd say no shorter than 4 inches if you are going to age it a long period of time.

Pressing should not dry out the cheese, it pushes out the free whey that has already been sweated out of the curd, but it can make it overly compact and hard.

Too much of too strong culture can also dry out your cheese.

What size did you cut the curd? for a large cheese, we cut to the size of a wheat grain or a little bigger (this for a 30 pound cheese) for a smaller cheese we cut maybe to the size of a coffee bean (this for a 15 to 20 pound cheese) for a very small wheel, the curd needs to be much larger, say 1/2" or so. Too small a curd size will make your cheese dry out as it ages. Too large a curd size will make it too soft. (for American consumption, we cut our curds a little bigger than how it would be done on the Alp, as Americans do not like their cheese as dry and hard as the Oberlanders)

From the appearance of the cheese, I would guess multiple factors. My suspicion would be that the curd is undersized and overcooked.

Don't let this failure discourage you though, learn from it and apply these lessons in the future.

For future cheeses, it is better to ere on the side of a little too wet than a little too dry. a too soft cheese is still edible and even can be very good. A too dry cheese is fit only for shredding over pasta, if even that.

Practice makes perfect.

As for cutting the curd to the proper size, this is one of the most difficult tasks to get right. It comes only through much experience. If you plan on always making cheeses out of the same volume of milk, then you can get a consistent size that you find always works for you. We have to figure this on the fly, as our batches are always changing over the course of the season.
Guät git's dr schwiizer Chäser

Offline tal_d1

  • Medium Cheese
  • ***
  • Location: Israel
  • Posts: 73
  • Cheeses: 7
  • Default personal text
Re: Cheese to hard/dry
« Reply #2 on: October 22, 2012, 01:12:00 PM »
Thanks Alpkäserei,
I made the Parmesan from 2G of 3% milk and 2G of 1% milk. all h/p milk. The receipt is
from 200 easy homemade...
I use 1ml of LH100 + 0.5ml of ta062.
1.25ml lipase. 1.9CC double strength rennet.
floc time usually takes 15m but this time it was 8m. (maybe because of the 1% milk that i used for the first time). 
The receipt instruct to cut to lentil size which is very small and it's get
much smaller with the process.
The final cheese height is 2.5".
cooking time took 60 minutes as the receipt says but i do think that i cooked it too much.
Brine for 20 hours at 20% solution.



 

Offline Alpkäserei

  • Old Cheese
  • *****
  • Location: Indiana/Kanton Bern
  • Posts: 569
  • Cheeses: 58
  • Default personal text
    • https://www.facebook.com/Kaesereigrimwald
Re: Cheese to hard/dry
« Reply #3 on: October 22, 2012, 01:38:09 PM »
Also, what has been your washing regiment for these cheeses?

For a few months at least, the cheeses need washed down a little to keep the rind in good shape.

For what volume was the recipe?

I would say 2.5" is too short.

When referring to the curd size when making the cheeses I am familiar with, the specified size is the final size the curd should be after all working is done.

If your curd continues to get cut into smaller pieces, then you need to use a different tool for stirring that will not allow this to happen. There is a simple tool you could make yourself that works well for stirring without breaking the curd, I could tell you how to make one if you would like.
Guät git's dr schwiizer Chäser

Offline tal_d1

  • Medium Cheese
  • ***
  • Location: Israel
  • Posts: 73
  • Cheeses: 7
  • Default personal text
Re: Cheese to hard/dry
« Reply #4 on: October 23, 2012, 03:43:54 PM »
Thank you Alpkäserei for all your advices. I really think that
my problem is curd size and curd over cooked and i will
be glad if you could tell me how to build the stirring tool.


Guests, join the CheeseForum.org community to remove this ad.


Offline iratherfly

  • Old Cheese
  • *****
  • Location: The Cheese Caves underneath Manhattan; New York City NY
  • Posts: 1,913
  • Cheeses: 108
  • Cheese, milk's leap toward immortality (Clifton F)
Re: Cheese to hard/dry
« Reply #5 on: October 23, 2012, 11:39:46 PM »
Is the cheese just hard and dry? Or is it crumbly/brittle and possibly cracking. Can you post a photo?

This may be an acidity issue. Which cultures did you use?

Additionally, on another thread you said that your fridge runs at 70% RH which is far too dry (unless the cheese was waxed or vacuumed) - that can certainly cause dryness and hardness.

In homogenized milk the fat globule micelles have been burst open so the cells cannot contain the fat. This can seriously effect texture, moisture, and softness of the final product (as well as flavor development which is made when the fat lipids are breaking down in aging - lipolysis).

To top it off, flavor and texture can be affected by pasteurization. Industrial milk grades and ultra-pasteurization are bad candidates for flavor development in cheese. Manufacturers want them to be white like snow, sweet like juice and otherwise show as little character as possible so they can be used in cooking, coffee, cereals and present no flavor. The average supermarket milk consumer doesn't care for notes of herbs and fresh grass in their cream colored milk with floating islands of fat. Sad, but true.

Do you need help getting good farmer's milk where you are?  I may be able to help. Send me a private message

Offline tal_d1

  • Medium Cheese
  • ***
  • Location: Israel
  • Posts: 73
  • Cheeses: 7
  • Default personal text
Re: Cheese to hard/dry
« Reply #6 on: October 24, 2012, 04:19:13 AM »
The Emmental is not crumbly/brittle. it's actually has a very good and spacial taste and
everyone like it. It is just to dry for 4 month cheese. The texture is like an old Parmesan.
you can see above the cultures i used and links to photos.

Offline iratherfly

  • Old Cheese
  • *****
  • Location: The Cheese Caves underneath Manhattan; New York City NY
  • Posts: 1,913
  • Cheeses: 108
  • Cheese, milk's leap toward immortality (Clifton F)
Re: Cheese to hard/dry
« Reply #7 on: November 17, 2012, 02:27:58 AM »
Missed your post. Just saw the cheese now. I must say that for 70% humidity and H/P milk it looks nice!
I agree with Alpkäserei; The lackluster flavor is related to the overcooked curd, low moisture aging, using H/P milk and the lack of wash.  The wash gives it much of its character.

I think that cutting and pitching the curd at the right time takes a lot of sensory experience and it is one of the most difficult things to learn on your own as a cheesemaker without any guidance. Doesn't matter much with Camembert or Crottin, relatively easier with Tomme, but really important with alpine cheeses like this.  I also think that selecting the correct cultures can give you lots of the character you are looking for in terms of flavor, texture, aroma and appearance.

Offline Alpkäserei

  • Old Cheese
  • *****
  • Location: Indiana/Kanton Bern
  • Posts: 569
  • Cheeses: 58
  • Default personal text
    • https://www.facebook.com/Kaesereigrimwald
Re: Cheese to hard/dry
« Reply #8 on: November 18, 2012, 10:01:12 PM »
The Alp cheeses are famously difficult to master. dont be discouraged by a failure. there is a good reason why American Swiss cheese is made differently than a true Emmentaler, it is too much fuss and doesnt lend itself well to mass production. it requires the cheesemaker to be intimately involved with the cheese
that all said, Emmentaler is one of the easier Alp style cheeses to produce. largely because it is often only being made to age for 3 months, and so doesnt have as high requirements.
Also, Emmentaler is not a true Alp cheese. it is a Talkäse, a cheese made in the low country. this is more significant than you might think. the valley cheeses are geared toward large scale production, making a lot of cheese from the milk of many different local farmers. the alp cheeses are made by the farmer typically from his own herd, out of super frsh milk (the law concerning Berner Alpkäse allows only for a maximum age of 15 hourxs for the oldest milk to be used.
there's my ramble for the day, not sure if it actually has anything to do with, well, anything.
Guät git's dr schwiizer Chäser