Author Topic: Cheese... slight collapse!  (Read 1021 times)

Offline bgreen

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Cheese... slight collapse!
« on: May 20, 2013, 12:21:35 AM »
Hi All

I am new to cheese making in case the photos were not proof enough..... and learning its quite a science/art.  My question is in relation to 2 Cheddars that i have recently made.  When the cheese comes out of the press it looks like the photo in "cheese 1" then several days after drying it looks like the photo in "cheese 2".  I have included a photo side by side of the two cheeses(made 3 days apart)  for comparison of height... form etc.  I was only able to get a press weight of 17kg for the first hour and 25kg for 12hrs.

The recipe was for Cheddar in the "200 easy homemade cheese recipes " book by Debra Amrein-Boyes Book.  6inch diameter mould using 16 litres of raw milk.

Should the cheese remain as in photo one or do you always expect some loss of form as it dries?  And will the cheeses still be OK?  Is it lack of pressure or some other reason?  Steps to improve would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks for your advice
Regards Bruce ( New Zealand )


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Offline Tiarella

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Re: Cheese... slight collapse!
« Reply #1 on: May 20, 2013, 05:53:25 AM »
Hi Bruce,
Hmmm!  I am NO expert but when this happened to me the responses I got to my questions were about the curd holding onto too much moisture and that I could have cut the curds sooner or used less rennet to have the curds release more of their moisture before moving onto the  next step.  The make is impacted by the milk....season, species, feed, etc. So even doing exactly what has worked before is no guarantee of the same outcome.

So try again and cut the curds earlier.  And post results here so we can see if this worked.  or maybe someone with more experience will have a better suggestion for you?
« Last Edit: May 20, 2013, 08:30:20 PM by Tiarella »

Offline george (MaryJ)

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Re: Cheese... slight collapse!
« Reply #2 on: May 20, 2013, 06:05:03 AM »
Along with the moisture issue, I think you need more pressing weight as well.  25 kg is only about 55 pounds - I do all my stirred-curd cheddars (not traditional cheddars) with about 80 pounds or so and usually get a good knit.  For a "traditional" one, you need a lot more than that, usually, depending on how warm you've kept your curds before and during pressing.  See if you can add at least 25-30 pounds more pressing weight (at LEAST).  Otherwise cook/stir for a few more minutes - or both.  Don't go overboard on the extra cook/stir, though, or you'll end up with something too far at the other end of the scale.
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Re: Cheese... slight collapse!
« Reply #3 on: May 20, 2013, 09:04:58 AM »
Hi Bruce. Welcome to the forum.

I've experienced this change in form quite a bit. Some of it is to be expected as the cheese comes out of the mould or brine and "settles". Cautions to the normal, expected settling are wisely detailed by george and Kathrin. If you've observed these cautions and taken everything else into account, I wouldn't be worried.  ;)

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Offline Tiarella

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Re: Cheese... slight collapse!
« Reply #4 on: May 20, 2013, 09:08:54 AM »
Hi Mary,

I never get that high in weights for my Caerphilly makes which are similar....but I'm not sure how similar. I never have trouble with knitting of curds.....knock on wood.   ;)  It does help to press warm but I haven't been doing even that lately.  You are right that something kept his curds from knitting fully.......not sure if more weight is the answer when I think of my experience....however, you have  LOT more experience than I. 

Bruce, I agree with Boofer that your cheese should be alright and perhaps you can work with it's unique qualities and invent a new cheese. 


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Offline Alpkäserei

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Re: Cheese... slight collapse!
« Reply #5 on: May 20, 2013, 11:32:29 AM »
More weight is not necessarily the solution
What is more important for a good knit is that the cheese retains its internal temperature -as the curd cools, it loses its ability to knit together (a simplified explanation)

We cover ours with a thermal blanket, other who make smaller cheese press under warm whey.

Personally, I would't like a cheese with that high a form factor (height compared to width) as it would be prone to going wonky like you have shown. But that's my opinion I know others make them that tall all the time. But also height is important for the internal ripening and moisture content of the cheese -for example an Alpine style cheese make should always be somewhere in the neighborhood of 4 to 6 inches in height (unless super small)
I also realize you are limited to what forms you own.
But when it is so high, the sides of the cheese aren't so easily able to hold up its own mass, so it collapses. You will learn that a cheese wheel that may seem solid is almost in the state of a thick liquid-like substance. If you sit it in one position and leave it there for a time, the cheese will 'flow'
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Offline bgreen

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Re: Cheese... slight collapse!
« Reply #6 on: May 20, 2013, 03:24:54 PM »
Hi all

And thanks for your very informative replies. 
Re the increase in weight i will try and see if i can add at least 25-30 pounds more pressing weight (at LEAST)

Regarding when to cut the curd and moisture content... i followed the recipe  which stated 30Min's.. which as you state does not take account of individual variations in milk, culture, rennet, etc as pointed out... Should i use a method to work out Flocculation Time?  I will also try to keep the curds warmer.

Re the height of the cheese.....  if all the above work out... is there also any problem in cutting a wheel this size into two separate rounds?  Does that effect the cheese in any adverse way? 

I have also seen many people discussing the merits of a PH Meter... again would this be useful?

It seems more answers have lead to more questions.  Thanks for your patience and great responses.

Regards Bruce... ohh and i will work on a name for this cheese... for all the variables... i seem to be able to make it consistently!  :)

Offline tnbquilt

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Re: Cheese... slight collapse!
« Reply #7 on: May 20, 2013, 05:57:21 PM »
If the PH is too high, the cheese is too soft to hold it's shape. It means you didn't cook it long enough. I believe that the 200 cheeses recipe says to cook 30 minutes and cheddar for 1 hour. Do you know what the PH level was when you drained? I think that's the clue. I found this on the internet one time but don't remember where.

If the pH of cheese curd before salting is in the high range (6.0-5.8), then the cheese will be softer, and may even lose its shape during ripening and taste really bitter.
(Yes I have done this. The cheese was drying on the counter and it kept sinking down until the bottom was real big around)

At the pH range 5.2-5.6 there is a balance between the calcium ions and hydrogen ions to bind the optimum amount of sodium to provide for a satisfactory body and texture.

If the ph level is too low, <5.2, the cheese will be hard and brittle and taste very tangy. (I have done this before also)
Tammy

Offline bgreen

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Re: Cheese... slight collapse!
« Reply #8 on: May 20, 2013, 08:16:26 PM »
Hi Tammy

Thanks very much for the additional info.  I don't know the PH levels sorry as i don't have a meter and that was one of my queries...  do you think it is an essential piece of equipment?  I am wondering how easy they are to use.... how long they last and what the ongoing costs are ... in relation to calibration solutions etc... do you have any thoughts?

Thanks again... regards Bruce

Offline Tiarella

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Re: Cheese... slight collapse!
« Reply #9 on: May 20, 2013, 08:39:23 PM »
Hi Tammy

Thanks very much for the additional info.  I don't know the PH levels sorry as i don't have a meter and that was one of my queries...  do you think it is an essential piece of equipment?  I am wondering how easy they are to use.... how long they last and what the ongoing costs are ... in relation to calibration solutions etc... do you have any thoughts?

Thanks again... regards Bruce

Hi Bruce, many swear by pH meters but some of us don't use them and seem to do okay.  using floculation method to determine cut time will help and is easier. (I don't mean easier and you get the same helpful information....just that it's easy and will get you some help in deciding cut time.)  I use a plastic lid that I've cleaned well and place it on the surface of the milk immediately after stirring in the rennet.  I mark the exact time the rennet was added.  I keep giving the lid a spin and wait until the milk is coagulating and keeps the bowl from spinning.  I write this time down too.  I take the number of minutes that have passed and multiply it by the cheese multiplier.  Someone will be glad to tell you where to find the multipliers listed.

Oh yes, and a name is eagerly awaited.   :o

By the way, my slumped cheese turned out great.   -Kathrin
« Last Edit: October 29, 2013, 06:36:49 AM by Tiarella »


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Offline george (MaryJ)

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Re: Cheese... slight collapse!
« Reply #10 on: May 21, 2013, 04:49:44 AM »
One other thing - if we're assuming that there is a higher-than-normal moisture content in this cheese, it's going to age a bit faster.  Keep that in mind when you're deciding when to cut it.  I age cheddars anywhere between 8-12 months, but you might want to try this one around six months maybe?
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Offline bgreen

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Re: Cheese... slight collapse!
« Reply #11 on: May 21, 2013, 02:34:31 PM »


Hi Bruce, many swear by pH meters but some of us don't use them and seem to do okay.  using floculation method to determine cut time will help and is easier. (I don't mean easier and you get the same helpful information....just that it's easy and will get you some help in deciding cut time.)  I use a plastic lid that I've cleaned well and place it on the surface of the milk immediately after stirring in the rennet.  I mark the exact time the rennet was added.  I keep giving the lid a spin and wait until the milk is coagulating and keeps the bowl from spinning.  I write this time down too.  I take the number of minutes that have passed and multiply it by the chess multiplier.  Someone will be glad to tell you where to find the multipliers listed.

Oh yes, and a name is eagerly awaited.   :o

By the way, my slumped cheese turned out great.   -Kathrin
[/quote]

Hi Kathrin

One thing i am finding is cheese making is anything but easy!  Thanks again for the additional info... and i will give some thought to the name... perhaps i should post a separate and competition?  And very reassuring about the results of your slumped cheese :D  Kind Regards Bruce

Offline bgreen

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Re: Cheese... slight collapse!
« Reply #12 on: May 21, 2013, 02:37:51 PM »
One other thing - if we're assuming that there is a higher-than-normal moisture content in this cheese, it's going to age a bit faster.  Keep that in mind when you're deciding when to cut it.  I age cheddars anywhere between 8-12 months, but you might want to try this one around six months maybe?

Thanks George... i will try to wait 6months.... i think curiosity will get the better of me though.... am also learning cheese making is patience forming....... am still unsure if patience or curds are easier to form.  :)