Author Topic: Hit a "Brick" Wall  (Read 867 times)

Offline JimSteel

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Hit a "Brick" Wall
« on: May 31, 2013, 07:19:13 PM »
Alright, I'll leave it up to you to guess the size of that wheel.  This is my first washed rind cheese, and it's a Brick.  I followed the recipe from 200 Easy and have been following Alp's washing repertoire more or less.

For the past two and a half weeks, I have flipped the cheese every morning and washed the fresh surface with a brine solution  (roughly 90% humidity at 15 celsius).  The B. linens is forming quite well and the cheese stinks to high heavens.  The only issue I'm having is that the edge of the wheel has browned up really nicely while the two flat surfaces are still barely orange.  This makes sense since the edge is washed every day and is always exposed to air.

How do I know when my cheese is done and I can stop schmearing? 
Will the top and bottom turn a darker colour if I let them dry out? 
Every time I flip the cheese, some of the rind gets stuck on the wood panel, leaving behind a white gap and I have to "reapply" the schmear to it.  Is that a normal occurrence?

Thanks in advance.  I've included a picture, but the colour doesn't show up very well,


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Offline Alpkäserei

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Re: Hit a "Brick" Wall
« Reply #1 on: June 01, 2013, 11:28:33 AM »
You have to wash the wood every time you flip as well. Take the same wash solution and rub the wood down with a rag. If you keep the wood wet, the cheese should not stick to it. I am guessing the wood is drawing some moisture out of the rind and causing it to stick

We only wash ours 10 days,
then 2 times a week for the next several months

A lot of the color depends on 2 factors, the strain of linens and the type and concentration of the wine. If you want the top and bottom to darken up a bit, you could use a heavier wine concentration

Ad in general, the color tends to even out as the cheese ages. The side will always be a little darker though.
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Offline JimSteel

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Re: Hit a "Brick" Wall
« Reply #2 on: June 01, 2013, 09:18:51 PM »
Awesome, thanks Alp.  Never would have thought of washing the board.  We'll see what comes of it.

Online JeffHamm

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Re: Hit a "Brick" Wall
« Reply #3 on: June 01, 2013, 10:56:29 PM »
This should be interesting.  Brick is normally, well, brick shaped.  This low profile makes yours quite thin, which will influence how it ripens - basically, your's will be stronger in flavour.  This isn't a bad thing and you may prefer it.  Look forward to seeing how this turns out for you.

- Jeff
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Offline JimSteel

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Re: Hit a "Brick" Wall
« Reply #4 on: June 02, 2013, 02:34:26 PM »
Alp, should the board be relatively clean?  What I mean is that some cheese slime gets on the board occasionally.  Should I remove that slime then wash the board with my solution or rub the slime right into the board?

Jeff, I thought they called it Brick because they weighed it down with a brick during pressing ;)  I only have two molds, both tomme  of different sizes, so I make due with what I can.  In that case, maybe I should go easy on the washing so that the cheese doesn't become too potent.


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Online JeffHamm

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Re: Hit a "Brick" Wall
« Reply #5 on: June 03, 2013, 04:02:00 PM »
Hi Jim,

Yah, one has to use the moulds one has.  Oh, and just to be clear, it wasn't intended as a negative comment as I'm sure the result will still be a very nice cheese.  I made a fairly flat disk butterkase which I then washed with b.linens and it was very nice.  I suspect yours will go along those lines. 

- Jeff
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Offline JimSteel

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Re: Hit a "Brick" Wall
« Reply #6 on: June 03, 2013, 08:34:31 PM »
Jeff, I've been reading these forums long enough to know what an upstanding guy you are.  Certainly no harm done :)

Take everything I say with a grain of salt.... except the above comment....

Online JeffHamm

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Re: Hit a "Brick" Wall
« Reply #7 on: June 04, 2013, 12:55:29 AM »
Cheese needs salt! :)

- Jeff
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Offline JimSteel

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Re: Hit a "Brick" Wall
« Reply #8 on: June 15, 2013, 11:12:15 AM »
After some weeks of meticulous washing and constant second guessing, here's where I stand.

My Brick developed a nice orange rind with a funky smell.  I'm not sure that this is a good funky smell.  I think my brine went bad near the end of the process and lid of the mason jar was starting to rust.  The brine itself smelled awful, kind of like rotting cheese and wet rusty metal.....  Just thinking about it makes me nauseous.  It's a smell that is now burned into my memory for eternity.

Anyway, the cheese only has a slight essence of that odour.  The real problem is that my baby split open.  I took it out of it's ripening box to dry out and I guess the rind shrunk a little too quickly.

I was going to wrap it and keep it in the fridge for a while, but not sure that I can now. 

Do I just bite the bullet and eat it as is?

Offline Spellogue

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Re: Hit a "Brick" Wall
« Reply #9 on: June 15, 2013, 12:21:04 PM »
That's a good looking rind.  A cheese to you for your accomplishment in nurturing it.  Too bad it split on you.  Seems to be only a cosmetic flaw though, you'd be carving it up anyway, eh?  I'd cut it now and commence eating, starting with a chunk from the split section.  Looks like its got a nicely ripened paste from the picture. 

As to the aroma, lets hope your bad memories of the wash are just that, memories.  Even then, sometimes it is tough to disassociate. 

Be sure to post some tasting notes for us. 

I'm thinking of doing a Brick or a Munster for my next washed rind later in the season.
I can resist anything but temptation.      ~ Oscar Wilde


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Online JeffHamm

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Re: Hit a "Brick" Wall
« Reply #10 on: June 15, 2013, 05:30:44 PM »
That looks really good!  I did a washed rind tomme last year, which I under cooked the curds and it ended up splitting as well.  However, it was a fantastic cheese and it had that same creamy looking paste as I looked into the crack.  I bagged it and tried to age it out for awhile.  But, yours looks so good I would just give it a taste.  If it's not ready, cut and bag. 

With harder cheese you can try wrapping them with cheesecloth and sometimes they heal up again, but washed and bloomies, don't think it works once the rind is compromised.  But I could be mistaken.

- Jeff
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Offline JimSteel

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Re: Hit a "Brick" Wall
« Reply #11 on: June 15, 2013, 06:26:57 PM »
Alright, so I sliced into it and had a taste.  It's pretty potent, this was only a 1lb after all, so the flavour permeated, as did the salt.

The paste is to die for.  Slightly creamy with a springiness to it.  It doesn't quite stick to the hand, but very close.
Taste is okay.  It's deep and musty, but overpowered by the salt.  It's not too salty to be unpleasant, but saltier than I'd like.  (I did brine it and then wash it with a separate brine solution)
The rind.... Well I couldn't force myself to taste it.  I literally filleted the paste right off of the rind to get as much as I could.

All in all, I'm pretty happy with my first washed rind.  Next time I might try washing with wine and less salt.

I followed 200 Easy on this one and washed it with an 18% brine, which I regret doing.  The rind came out very nice but:
a) would less salt in the brine allow the same development without over salting my cheese
b) would less salt have prevented my rind from cracking?
c) should I just aim to make larger wheels of this so the volume:surface area ration works in my favour?

Online JeffHamm

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Re: Hit a "Brick" Wall
« Reply #12 on: June 16, 2013, 12:27:11 AM »
Hi Jim,

You're probably getting something closer to a limberger due to the thin profile, hence the strong flavour already.  However, that's not necessarily a bad thing.  It sounds to me like you've done a cracking good job (pun entirely intended).  I think with the larger form factor for brick the salt wouldn't have been so strong.  Perhaps next time go for a 2lbs make and that will double the thickness.  Even a 3 lbs make, if it would fit in the mould, might be worth trying.  Also, I think you could reduce your wash down to a 3-5% brine and that should still get the linens going. It's what I did on my 4th butterkase (here's the thread: http://cheeseforum.org/forum/index.php/topic,8540.0.html ).  Anyway, these can be lots of fun to play with, and I think this is a cheese worthy result.

- Jeff
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Offline Boofer

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Re: Hit a "Brick" Wall
« Reply #13 on: June 16, 2013, 09:13:37 AM »
Wow, what color! I guess I can't blame you for not wanting to sample the rind. I've come to realize that linens-enhanced rind is an acquired taste. I have had several cheeses with heavy linens development which I brushed/washed off. It made the rind infinitely more agreeable. Once the linens has done its work with the paste, quite a few recipes detail washing it off under running water.

The inner paste looks wet and gooey, more like a Reblochon or similar rather than a Brick. I would agree with Jeff that a larger volume/formfactor would improve the texture. You didn't say how long you brined it with that 18%. That's an acceptable salt level if properly timed in the brine according to the size of the cheese. Then 3-5% brine wash would also be okay. Perhaps it just overstayed its welcome in the brine. :P

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Offline JimSteel

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Re: Hit a "Brick" Wall
« Reply #14 on: June 16, 2013, 05:57:50 PM »
Thanks for the tips Jeff, though summer is coming and with all that's going on I don't think I'll be able to try a re-run until September.  It sure is a nice feeling getting some "cheeses" though :)

Boofer, I checked my notes and I guess I forgot to write down my brining time.  I think it was my standard, about 2 hours for this sized wheel.  That has imparted the desired saltiness into my other wheels in the past(Colby, Gouda etc).  I washed this one with 18% brine as well, albeit a different batch with some linens pinched in.  I think that is where the problem lies.

I'll try wiping off some of the rind and see if it is approachable.  I'd be surprised though... this wheel has a stench to it.


I made some pasta last night and whipped up a cream sauce (sauteed onions, garlic, a bit of milk and "brick") which was quite nice.  Very bubbly and melty. (It also had a stench to it, but the taste was much more measured.)