Author Topic: Colby Cheese Cracking  (Read 1191 times)

Offline Dave

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Colby Cheese Cracking
« on: February 21, 2009, 02:40:34 PM »
I am new to cheese making and I have had some success with cheddar, but the last two batches of Colby have all cracked or split during the drying process...any ideas?


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Offline John (CH)

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Re: Colby Cheese Cracking
« Reply #1 on: February 21, 2009, 02:53:48 PM »
Hi Dave and welcome to the forum, hope you don't mind but I've moved your post to the Cheddared (Milled) Type Board.

Most people (me included) who have cheese cracking problems are due to rapid dehydration from being placed in a very low humidity environment like a household forced air type fridge. The rapid dehydration happens in the outer of the cheese causing it to shrink but the inside stays moist and does not, thus the cracks of fissures on surface. This picture in the top right of this webpage is an extreme case when I first started making cheese.

If you could add some info (batch size, pressing weight and time and if turned, drying environment and when cracks became noticeable) it would help decipher if this the root cause of your problem. Pictures would make it easier.

Offline Dave

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Re: Colby Cheese Cracking
« Reply #2 on: February 21, 2009, 05:27:03 PM »
The picture you have is pretty much what has been happening to me.  I have used the drying method of wrapping the cheese in soft cotton on a bamboo mat turning it and placing a new wrap on when somewhat soaked.  I do have very low humidity in the house do to the forced air of the furnace to deal with.  My batch size is two gallons of whole milk and I use plain yogurt as my starter.  I have even considered getting perhaps a small ice chest to dry in????  Let me know what you think.

Offline Cartierusm

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Re: Colby Cheese Cracking
« Reply #3 on: February 21, 2009, 06:25:20 PM »
Dave, do you have a cheese cave? Where are you aging your cheeses and what temp humidity?
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Offline Dave

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Re: Colby Cheese Cracking
« Reply #4 on: February 21, 2009, 07:14:40 PM »
I have been storing in the refrig untill this batch and I am trying to get to 55 in a garage cabinet with the cheese in a tupperware container; the next try would be to get an ice chest; we have very low humity on a good day and during cold weather it is even worse; but that is the extent of my cave.


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Offline Cartierusm

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Re: Colby Cheese Cracking
« Reply #5 on: February 22, 2009, 12:10:11 AM »
I hate to say it but you're never going to get good results without a controlled humidity/temp cave. When I air dry I air dry in a 55F/85% environment and everything comes out perfect. I've tried out in the open and it never works. Are you getting cracks along where there are defects in the surface, like maybe from wrinkles caused by cheese cloth bunching?
Life is like a box of chocolates sometimes too much rennet makes you kill people.

Offline Dave

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Re: Colby Cheese Cracking
« Reply #6 on: February 22, 2009, 08:39:35 AM »
Much of the time the fissures begin on the outer edges almost like a birch tree bark, in an extreme case (my last wheel) the fissures were in the body of the surface to the point that I had to tie cotton cloth around the wheel to hold it together.  As far as bunching of the cheese cloth, I have tried to be careful of this.  I have such limited space to dry in I am open to anything.

Offline Cartierusm

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Re: Colby Cheese Cracking
« Reply #7 on: February 23, 2009, 01:33:22 AM »
Pics would be very helpful as it seems it may not be a drying problem but a curd knitting problem.
Life is like a box of chocolates sometimes too much rennet makes you kill people.