Author Topic: First cheese -- not very good  (Read 1521 times)

Offline valereee

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First cheese -- not very good
« on: February 24, 2009, 07:05:18 AM »
I tried my first farmhouse cheddar today, a month after putting it in to age.  It's kind of sour-tasting.  This is one of the ones I'd been pressing at the wrong weights (put it into a 6" mold, then pressed it at weights that were probably for a 4" mold).  Looks good, though, and the texture isn't bad.  There's a definite cheddar undertone, and once you've eaten the first bite, the second one tastes good and you don't get that sourness so much but more of the cheddar.  Not sure what to make of this.  And it's unfortunate because when people try a bite, they don't like it and of course don't go back for a second bite. 

Any insights?

Val

 


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Offline Brian

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Re: First cheese -- not very good
« Reply #1 on: February 24, 2009, 09:13:23 AM »
I have the same problem with my farmhouse that I tried last night.  I posted here somewhere about it.  Mine is more cheddar than sour and I'm hoping that it needs to age more.  Mine has been in a constant 50-55 degree range for a month and a half.

Brian

Offline Estes

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Re: First cheese -- not very good
« Reply #2 on: March 20, 2009, 05:07:36 PM »
I have had the same problem.  Very frustrating...

Offline Wayne Harris

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Re: First cheese -- not very good
« Reply #3 on: March 20, 2009, 06:23:10 PM »
Someone else said this in another thread that I am too lazy at the moment to go look for, but is worth repeating here.  cheddar, while most popular, is not an easy cheese to start with. 

It is very susceptible to very subtle changes and deviations to your cheesemaking process.

I have plenty of wheels of sour, overly tangy, too sharp crumblier cheddar.
I have some wheels that are fantastic. 

The difference?   Acidification. 

The pH of my bad cheese's are all less than 4.7. 
The pH of my good cheeses are over 5.1.

If I had to recommend anything it would be to be patient, consistent and get a pH meter.  (and by all means.  take pictures!)



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Offline Estes

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Re: First cheese -- not very good
« Reply #4 on: March 21, 2009, 02:07:28 PM »
This may be in another thread, but I can't seem to find the specifics.
Say I get a Ph meter and find that I am in the middle of the process and the Ph is too low.  What are my options in changing this?  How do I specifically go about bringing it back up?  Does it depend on what type you are making or can you use the same technique regardless of what you are making?

I will start posting pics.  I really like the curd I am getting, but something doesn't quite translate just yet.

Thanks


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Offline Wayne Harris

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Re: First cheese -- not very good
« Reply #5 on: March 21, 2009, 03:09:15 PM »
You are right in that discussions of pH are located in various threads throughout the forum. 

I am not an expert, but I do not know of a way to "fix" a batch once it gets too acidic.

If the pH is not too low, you might adjust other parts of your recipe to stop the acidification process or move the recipe to completion, faster, in other ways.

I do not believe that controlling acid production in cheesemaking is akin to that in winemaking, where one might add something like calcium carbonate or potassium bicarb to bring the acidity levels back down.



Wayne A. Harris - in vino veritas

Offline thegregger

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Re: First cheese -- not very good
« Reply #6 on: March 21, 2009, 04:01:59 PM »
Guys:

My understanding is that once a pH is too low, you're out of luck.  The value of a pH meter is that you can monitor the acidification during the process, and adjust the time/temperature in order to keep the pH in the desired target range.

If the pH dips below 5.0, just tell your friends it's Feta, and make a big Greek salad.

Greg

Offline DeejayDebi

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Re: First cheese -- not very good
« Reply #7 on: March 22, 2009, 06:16:02 PM »
Professor Arthur R. Hill, Dept. of Food Science, University of Guelph, Canada has some interesting infomation about cheese you may find helpful. He's a really nice guy too!

http://www.foodsci.uoguelph.ca/cheese/sectionb.htm

I think you'll find most of your answers here.

Offline DeejayDebi

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Re: First cheese -- not very good
« Reply #8 on: March 22, 2009, 06:38:53 PM »
Here's is some information I got from Dr. Hill awhile back that I have found very useful.


http://www.deejayssmokepit.net/CheeseDownloads_files/cheesefamilies.pdf


Offline Possible

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Re: First cheese -- not very good
« Reply #9 on: March 25, 2009, 11:49:39 AM »
I sampled my first farmhouse cheddar today, and I have the same problem. It's definitely sour and impossible to eat, but has a nice cheddar-y smell.

I aged it two months. Do you think it would have been better if aged for longer? Or, if the pH is too low, is the cheese just a lost cause?


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Offline Wayne Harris

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Re: First cheese -- not very good
« Reply #10 on: March 25, 2009, 12:53:29 PM »
"Lost" is a pretty subjective word.  It will probably eadible to someone like me,  but probably not something you want to share.

I do not believe that you can ever get a spontaneous rise in pH.  But keep in mind that the taste, texture, feel,  and aroma of your cheese are largely a RESULT of the pH in the vat.  So even if one could raise the pH (lower the acidity), the damage is likely already done.


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Offline Possible

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Re: First cheese -- not very good
« Reply #11 on: March 25, 2009, 01:12:13 PM »
I'm going to have to explore some sour-cheddar-friendly recipes. Perhaps the alchemy of cooking can salvage my poor cheddar.

Also, I think I may invest in a ph meter! I'd like to be able to pinpoint where in the process it became too acidic.

Offline DeejayDebi

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Re: First cheese -- not very good
« Reply #12 on: March 25, 2009, 01:21:13 PM »
Just a though and maybe a bad one but - would it be posible to re-introduce the cheese back into the whey again in hopes of changing the ph?

Offline Wayne Harris

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Re: First cheese -- not very good
« Reply #13 on: March 25, 2009, 01:27:03 PM »
One reason folks here in this forum recommend using Whey as the liquid for a cheese's subsequent  Brine solution is that they cheese and the whey share the exact same pH. 

So, putting the wheel back into the whey should not do anything to lower the pH.

And, like I said, the textures, hardness, the look and feel, the taste and smell of a cheddar are largely the result of the acid that is developed prior to the cooking phase. 

So,  changing a cheese by reducing the pH is kinda like pushin a rope.  It really only works in one direction.

Wayne A. Harris - in vino veritas

Offline thebelgianpanda

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Re: First cheese -- not very good
« Reply #14 on: April 01, 2009, 09:57:31 PM »
I could be way off base here since I'm just using my experience as a brewer as a guide, but it was my assumption that the lowered pH is due to the culture consuming lactose and excreting lactic acid.  And since that process is destructive.e. lactose is broken down and can't be reformed--then once your pH goes too low there is no going back.  The only way I could think of to remove acidity from a cheese that was too sour would be to re-mill it, soak the 'curds' or whatever you would call them in a higher pH liquid, then re-press.  Again, this is assuming that the lactic acid would want to maintain an equilibrium with the liquid you were soaking it in, and again assuming you could re-press it at all.  I've never tried, though I have a couple of loaves that are way too sour that might be candidates.

In any event, the flavor would likely take a hit as well, since this would essentially dilute the flavor compounds that had developed during the initial aging.  Again, I could be totally wrong since I am basically pulling this out of my posterior.