Author Topic: Hard rind and a small cheese  (Read 1080 times)

Offline JimSteel

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Hard rind and a small cheese
« on: January 15, 2013, 04:51:54 PM »
New cheese maker here.  Tried a few fresh cheeses and completed my first Colby which I let age for 3 months. It was great.  I'm aiming to make 1 cheese per weekend now.  I have another Colby air drying and am going to move into the gouda/edam direction next.  My favourite cheese is Gruyere and the recipe from 200 easy cheese recipes looks easy enough to handle(other than the aging at least).

Problem.  I don't have the facilities to deal with 16L or even 8L of milk.  Every recipe I've made so far I've shrunk down to a 4L or 2L volume of milk.  I currently have a 5 inch by 2inch tomme mold that I am using.  If i try to age a cheese like Gruyere at that size, will it all just dry out into rind?  I can't find any information on aging small cheeses.

My biggest pot could maybe hold 6L of milk... what should I do?


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Offline AndreasMergner

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Re: Hard rind and a small cheese
« Reply #1 on: January 15, 2013, 08:17:21 PM »
Buy a bigger pot? :)

Smaller cheeses will dry out more making longer aging difficult with natural rinds . You may want to check out the washed rind section to read up on Alp' s washed rind thread . It is pure gold and what you want to do for Gruyere.

Offline MrsKK

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Re: Hard rind and a small cheese
« Reply #2 on: January 16, 2013, 08:22:26 AM »
I found the greatest asset in keeping thinner rinds and cutting down on loss of moisture is a ripening container.  All you need is a plastic box with a lid, plus a rack to put on the bottom to keep the cheese out of any moisture.  The box needs to be big enough to leave at least an inch of space on all sides of the cheese.  I purchased "egg crate" plastic grid for covering fluorescent light fixtures and cut it down to fit into the box.

The ripening container goes in your cheese cave.  Monitor moisture levels in the plastic box - if moisture beads up on the top or sides, wipe it off and leave the lid open a quarter inch or so.  If moisture still builds up, open it even more.

I started doing this with Gouda and came up with rinds that were almost like thin leather.  Just amazing.  No more tiny wheel of cheese after paring away all the hard crusts.

Offline Boofer

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Re: Hard rind and a small cheese
« Reply #3 on: January 16, 2013, 08:34:40 AM »
Welcome to the forum, Jim.

Where are you from? Would you please edit your profile to include your location? Thanks.

If you are truly a new cheesemaker, why not attempt other cheese styles that permit you to judge your efforts and techniques sooner than you would see with a Gruyere? There are quite a number of excellent cheese styles that adapt fairly well to smaller milk volumes and age out within a few weeks or months. If you followed that course, you could develop the confidence needed for the rest of your cheesemaking endeavors. Along the way you might have occasion to acquire a larger pot/kettle that would accommodate the milk volume more suitable to a longer-aged cheese such as Gruyere.

-Boofer-
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Bread, beer, wine, cheese...it's all good.

Offline AndreasMergner

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Re: Hard rind and a small cheese
« Reply #4 on: January 16, 2013, 09:57:32 AM »
I'm doing Caerphilly if you need a suggestion for a cheese ready in 3 weeks aging . I have personally messed up 3 washed rinds, so they are not the easiest of cheeses .


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Offline JimSteel

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Re: Hard rind and a small cheese
« Reply #5 on: January 16, 2013, 03:23:39 PM »
Alright, I've done some more reading (alp's article) and with some advice I think I'm going to give this week's Gouda a shot at a natural rind.  If I really blow it, I guess it's only 5 bucks of milk and a couple hours of a hard earned lesson.  I will try the ripening container since my current cave is not ideal.  Looking for an upgrade.

About the bigger pot... I have a canning pot, which is huge, but covered with that black enamel coating.  I also wouldn't have the option for a double boiler water bath, which is what I've been using.

Thanks for the comments, been reading the forums for a while, glad to finally participate.

Offline AndreasMergner

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Re: Hard rind and a small cheese
« Reply #6 on: January 16, 2013, 07:48:50 PM »
Jim, take a look at LB' s post here: http://cheeseforum.org/forum/index.php/topic%2C10722.msg81736.html#msg81736

I think it might convince you to try something other than a natural rind . Gouda is usually covered in wax for good reason.  Could also vac bag it.  I tried a 1 LB natural rind Gouda as my first pressed cheese and it was hard like parm. 

Offline JimSteel

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Re: Hard rind and a small cheese
« Reply #7 on: January 17, 2013, 04:35:35 PM »
There's a wrench in my gears.   But i'll never come up with anything creative if I don't take chances.

Are there any washed rind cheeses with a short ripening period that might work for this?

Offline AndreasMergner

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Re: Hard rind and a small cheese
« Reply #8 on: January 17, 2013, 07:41:10 PM »
You are right about taking chances.  If you are going to make a cheese a week, you might as well go for it and see what happens with a washed rind.  If you don't mind the risk of losing a cheese or two, give it a try.  I would think a moister cheese would age faster.  You can't really learn unless you fail so go for it!  Just make a thread so others can help guide you along.

You might consider making a few different kinds of cheeses instead of just washed rind types so you can have some successes.  Also you can find Ziploc manual vacuum bags here in t he store in the US.  You would only have to invest $10 to get started.  I had to put a bit of tape over the opening to get it to seal long term.  You could vac bag after a different rind treatment too. I've seen some other people do that too.

Offline JimSteel

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Re: Hard rind and a small cheese
« Reply #9 on: January 18, 2013, 06:01:24 PM »
Hmm, i'll look into the do it yourself vac bags.  I've waxed my first two colby's, so I don't have a problem with that, but that option isn't really available for natural rinds.  I think I'm going to make a waxed gouda this sunday since i haven't made any yet.  Maybe the week after I'll experiment.  My cave isn't ideal right now anyway.

Thanks for all the help.


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Offline MrsKK

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Re: Hard rind and a small cheese
« Reply #10 on: January 21, 2013, 06:09:50 AM »
I've never waxed or vac sealed a Gouda - at least not until it's been cut into.  I love the natural rind on it.  But you do need the ripening container.

With vac sealing, the cheese has to be pretty dry - at least 4-6 weeks - otherwise, it will pull whey out of the cheese and it will sour unless you are constantly removing the liquid.  IMHO, that just exposes the cheese to more contaminants and isn't a good option.

As long as your canning kettle's interior surface isn't chipped or has rusty spots, you can easily use it for making cheese.  I use my big kettles in a utility sink of hot tap water to warm the milk.  The only time I really use a stove is when I make mozzarella or Parmesan,, which need higher temps than my tap water can provide.