Author Topic: Off smell on day 4 air drying FH Cheddar  (Read 377 times)

Offline DarlaJean

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Off smell on day 4 air drying FH Cheddar
« on: October 11, 2013, 10:46:50 AM »
Ok, HELP! After successful moz and ricotta I attempted a Farmhouse Cheddar and on the 4th day of air drying it developed a stinky feet smell and some mold.
I used a Ricki kit. Yes, I'm finding out there can be issues with those but it was there and I wanted to make cheese NOW  :). I used a low pasteurized cream on top whole milk from a local dairy. I followed the instructions as closely as possible, as they are a bit vague, and everything went fine until day 4 of air drying prior to waxing. The directions did not specify what temp and humidity is best for air drying prior to waxing so I checked with several sources online. Many people just leave them out or in a cupboard - um, hello airborne bacteria, meet a perfect host - but I have cats and a good supply of fruit flies (brew kombucha and you learn to live with them) so there went the 'just leave it out method'. I then read the the optimum air drying temp and humidity is 70F and 70-80% humidity which is not at all what I have in my home so I turned the temp in my wine fridge aging cave up to 66 F - although it never got above 64F. And used a cup of water to get the humidity up. Once I put my cheese in it rose to 90% quickly so I removed the cup of water. So for those 4 days it was at 64F and 82% humidity. I had it on a plastic strainer and turned it 4 times during each day. It was only hardening around the edges and the top and bottom would always be a little slippery wet when I turned it. I wasnt sure what to do about that so I ignored it and then it went from smelling like a good sour/sweet milk smell to a weird bad cheese/stinky feet smell. I inspected and found a small spot of bluish mold. I wiped the cheese with a saturated brine, patted it dry, and put it in the oven (off of course). I figured it was the best spot away from gnats and cats and less humidity to dry out....better? Uggg. Now today, the 5th day, it smells even worse. It was just the bottom on the 4th day that smelled but now the whole thing smells. It's turned it on its side so theres less surface area touching a surface. Should I place it in a brine and try re-drying it somewhere? Is it normal for cheddar to smell? I'm lost.
« Last Edit: October 11, 2013, 12:03:53 PM by DarlaJean »


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Offline Boofer

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Re: Off smell on day 4 air drying FH Cheddar
« Reply #1 on: October 11, 2013, 07:01:43 PM »
Wow, Darla, seems like your posting was radioactive...no responses all day. ???

Sounds like you're doing a washed rind Cheddar...not unheard-of, but unusual nonetheless. ::)

When I have to airdry (like now), I'll ensure that the cheese wheel goes into the minicave DRY. I do this by dabbing and blotting with paper towels. The wheels are going to weep a little whey while they dry so I'm going to blot them dry when I flip them. I'll also dry any accumulated whey in the minicave. Why use a minicave (plastic ripening box)? It allows for the collection and disposal of dripped whey, keeps birds away from the cheeses, makes it somewhat more difficult for fruit flies to find the cheese, helps regulate humidity, and prevents airborne flotsam & jetsam from landing on the cheeses.

If you do not want the B. linens/stinky feet characteristic in your rind, I would add some salt to vinegar and gently wipe the cheese down. The goal after that then is to make sure that you're keeping the humidity down and the cheese dry. B. linens thrives in a moist environment.

Tell us how the cheese progresses.

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Offline DarlaJean

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Re: Off smell on day 4 air drying FH Cheddar
« Reply #2 on: October 11, 2013, 07:23:08 PM »
Boofer! Thanks for responding. I think maybe I was too long winded so nobody wanted to touch that post. Ha.
No, I was not intending on a washed rind. The recipe said to "air dry" for 3-5 days before waxing (I'm not sure about the why's - just doing what the directions said). I put it in the wine fridge because I read somewhere that air drying before waxing requires high humidity or the developing rind may crack. My house humidity is about 50% so it went in the fridge but I did not have a clue what to do with that dripping whey because the directions did not mention wiping it off so I will do that in the future. I have done 2 salt/vinegar/cal cholor wipe downs now and the cheese is bouncing between my oven and out on the counter when I need the oven. It still stinks but I am happy to now know the name of the stink. B. Linens...hmmm. So I can put it in a plastic box on a mat, wipe it daily, wipe with brine as needed, and then once a better rind has developed I can wax, ya? Will the B. Linens smell totally go away or is this what my cheese may end up tasting like? Since I have already been wiping some mold spots are those likely to grow under the wax?

Offline Lynda Garneau

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Re: Off smell on day 4 air drying FH Cheddar
« Reply #3 on: October 11, 2013, 08:35:22 PM »
I made about 30 different type of cheese since last November and I find that it is easier in the winter. I never had problem air drying in the winter because the air in the house (in Ontario, Canada) is so much more dry.

Offline Boofer

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Re: Off smell on day 4 air drying FH Cheddar
« Reply #4 on: October 12, 2013, 09:01:00 AM »
Darla, do you have details of your make? Photos?

A minicave makes it so much easier to handle your cheese so that it is less subject to infections. I use binder clips or chip clips to hold the lid slightly open. You want to allow an exchange of air, gases, and moisture. Too high humidity will block the cheese's ability to evaporate the excess moisture.

The forum has tips about what to use for draining your cheese. Some cheesemaking retailers offer draining mats. Michael's sells needlepoint mats which I use along with other types of mats. From Walmart I bought some Rubbermaid mats which slightly elevate the mat so the cheese isn't sitting in the whey that it expels.

I use blue nitrile gloves as an added disinfection assist. If I come down with a headcold during the cooler months while I still have cheeses that need tending, wiping, washing, and rubbing, I'll don a throwaway surgical mask so that I don't breathe on the cheeses.

Brevibacterium linens is apparently what you have been blessed with in your cheese. It is one of many cultural rind manipulators that a cheesemaker may employ to develop a cheese. It works from the outside towards the inner paste where it transforms the former curd into a finely nuanced dairy miracle. Someone else wondered about it a while back.

In some cases, I will let a cheese be worked by the linens and then at some point I will brush/wash off the reddish-orange color and most of the odor.

Hope that helps,

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Offline DarlaJean

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Re: Off smell on day 4 air drying FH Cheddar
« Reply #5 on: October 12, 2013, 01:04:05 PM »
Well, I'm not sure if pics could help but here they are. I had just wiped it before the pics. Maybe I can get some in a couple days of some of the small blue spots that have been appearing. I feel like this poor cheese has really been through the ringer from the beginning.
Gloves are a fantastic idea and I had thought about that but none of the instructions I read suggested gloves - strange given how sterile everything must be. I am a soap maker, at the professional level, and I wear gloves from start to finish of every batch to protect me from the alkaline lye as much as to protect the soap from contaminates which could ultimately cause oils to go rancid thereby spoiling the batch. So I'm wondering why directions don't suggest to wear them.
Here are the "stats" for this cheese batch:
Uses ricki kit
*2 gal Tunawerth, LLC whole milk low pasturized cream on top
*Used Mesophilic direct set
*I followed the directions - heat to 90F, add cal chlor, stir, culture, stir, rennet w careful stirs then top stir. Cover & rest 45 min, cut into 1/2in blocks. Place pot in sink of hot water raise 2F every 5 min up to 100F, cover & rest 5 min, pour into cheese cloth, knot and hang for 1 hr, curds to bowl & broken into walnut size pieces & salted., and packed into cheesecloth lined basket mold.
*Pressed @ 10lbs for 15 min, turned (my press was just another container that fit in mold topped w a cutting board and filled jugs for weight-a method I will not use again)
*Pressed @ 20lbs for 12 hrs, turned
*Pressed @ 20lbs for another 12 hrs
*Air dried at 64F/82% humidity in wine fridge on a plastic strainer 5 days (directions say 3-5)
*Removed, due to stink and wetness, at day 5 and placed in an off oven where it remains
Should I even try to wax or just go with a natural rind? Its starting to develop a harder rind but I am nervous about the mold coming back under the wax.

Thanks so much Boofer. I followed all those links and feel better informed although I wish I could find someone who has experienced the b.linens on their cheddar. I guess we'll see in 2 months if I don't toss it before then. Before I begin my next batch I am going to look up some directions here.

Offline DarlaJean

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Re: Off smell on day 4 air drying FH Cheddar
« Reply #6 on: October 12, 2013, 01:11:00 PM »
I made about 30 different type of cheese since last November and I find that it is easier in the winter. I never had problem air drying in the winter because the air in the house (in Ontario, Canada) is so much more dry.

Lynda, do you ever have problems with the rind cracking? I was hesitant to air dry in regular house temp due to our 50% humidity and because of cats & gnats. I had read that the rinds dry too fast and crack. I guess air drying in a container, as suggested by Boofer, could bump the humidity up a bit. Maybe these cracked rind problems I read about were in desert climates.

Offline Boofer

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Re: Off smell on day 4 air drying FH Cheddar
« Reply #7 on: October 13, 2013, 09:23:22 PM »
has really been through the ringer
Not to put to fine a point on it...it's "wringer"...as in the attached pic of an early wringer-washing machine. The wringer, as demonstrated in the photo, squeezes the wet fabric between two rollers to pre-dry the clothes. They are then hung on a rope clothesline to dry and become as stiff as cardboard. The phrase tries to capture the human feeling of having been put under extreme stress and pressure. A)

*2 gal Tunawerth, LLC whole milk low pasturized cream on top
You know, when I saw this and wondered what it was, I was tempted to ask "What's a tuna worth?". Then I thought better of it. ;)

I'm kind of in the same microclimate with you and I haven't had any problems of cracked rinds. As with all the cheese makes you embark upon, monitoring the cheese daily is key to averting a lot of disasters problems.

If you can, please make and post your photos with a higher resolution. Thumbnails don't work for me.

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Offline High Altitude

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Re: Off smell on day 4 air drying FH Cheddar
« Reply #8 on: October 13, 2013, 09:55:38 PM »
Sorry, late to this thread. DJ, I have made a couple of farmer's cheddars, though I've only opened one (and it was kind of crumbly and slightly acidic). Anyway, our house is around 28-30% humid on any given day, and I find that I can leave most any of my cheeses out drying in their open box during the day (when I can keep a watchful eye on them, flip and pat dry as needed), and then overnight I put the lid on askew to allow some air in.  This prevents overdrying and cracking.  With this procedure, many of my cheeses take from 3-8 days of counter drying at room temp, and generally no molds form (until affinage in the "cave"). 

Wax the farmer's cheddars as soon as they have developed a good firm exterior (and darken in color), when you are certain there will be no further whey leaking. Since you have already been dealing with some mold, you could first cover your wheels in a cream wax with mold inhibitor, which provides a "safety layer" before hard waxing (which you could then do a week or two later). 

Don't fear your home's dry environment (as I did initially too, after my first Parmesan cracked on the outer edges...it wasn't the end of the world though)...it can actually be very helpful for a whey-dripping cheese!  Just monitor the drying carefully in the micro environment.  Oh, I forgot about your fruit flies.  Cover the entire set-up with cheesecloth....it keeps them off your precious cheesy-gold!
Have some (homemade) wine with that cheese!

Offline DarlaJean

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Re: Off smell on day 4 air drying FH Cheddar
« Reply #9 on: October 14, 2013, 04:45:13 PM »
has really been through the ringer
Not to put to fine a point on it...it's "wringer"...as in the attached pic of an early wringer-washing machine. The wringer, as demonstrated in the photo, squeezes the wet fabric between two rollers to pre-dry the clothes. They are then hung on a rope clothesline to dry and become as stiff as cardboard. The phrase tries to capture the human feeling of having been put under extreme stress and pressure. A)

*2 gal Tunawerth, LLC whole milk low pasturized cream on top
You know, when I saw this and wondered what it was, I was tempted to ask "What's a tuna worth?". Then I thought better of it. ;)

I'm kind of in the same microclimate with you and I haven't had any problems of cracked rinds. As with all the cheese makes you embark upon, monitoring the cheese daily is key to averting a lot of disasters problems.

If you can, please make and post your photos with a higher resolution. Thumbnails don't work for me.

-Boofer-
Ha! Thanks for the clarification Boofer. I started that post in the mourning while my too year old was hanging off my leg, the phone was wringing off the hook, and solicitors we're knocking at my door to sell me there wears.  ;D
Yes, I'm going to try the plastic container and just leave it out next time. I will post higher res pics in the future.


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Offline DarlaJean

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Re: Off smell on day 4 air drying FH Cheddar
« Reply #10 on: October 14, 2013, 04:54:46 PM »
Sorry, late to this thread. DJ, I have made a couple of farmer's cheddars, though I've only opened one (and it was kind of crumbly and slightly acidic). Anyway, our house is around 28-30% humid on any given day, and I find that I can leave most any of my cheeses out drying in their open box during the day (when I can keep a watchful eye on them, flip and pat dry as needed), and then overnight I put the lid on askew to allow some air in.  This prevents overdrying and cracking.  With this procedure, many of my cheeses take from 3-8 days of counter drying at room temp, and generally no molds form (until affinage in the "cave"). 

Wax the farmer's cheddars as soon as they have developed a good firm exterior (and darken in color), when you are certain there will be no further whey leaking. Since you have already been dealing with some mold, you could first cover your wheels in a cream wax with mold inhibitor, which provides a "safety layer" before hard waxing (which you could then do a week or two later). 

Don't fear your home's dry environment (as I did initially too, after my first Parmesan cracked on the outer edges...it wasn't the end of the world though)...it can actually be very helpful for a whey-dripping cheese!  Just monitor the drying carefully in the micro environment.  Oh, I forgot about your fruit flies.  Cover the entire set-up with cheesecloth....it keeps them off your precious cheesy-gold!
Thanks, yes, cover the container with cheesecloth - great idea!
What is a cream wax? Coconut oil maybe? It's hard at temps below 70F and has anti bacterial properties.

Offline Boofer

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Re: Off smell on day 4 air drying FH Cheddar
« Reply #11 on: October 15, 2013, 09:04:08 AM »
Ha! Thanks for the clarification Boofer. I started that post in the mourning while my too year old was hanging off my leg, the phone was wringing off the hook, and solicitors we're knocking at my door to sell me there wears.  ;D
Funny...you're killin' it, DarlaJean! :D

What is a cream wax?
Here's an example of cream-coating. Some call it "cream wax", but there's no wax in it...it's a polymer-based coating, usually with natamycin in the make-up to forestall infection. Two or three coats protect the cheese while allowing a slight exchange of gases. If left too long, the cheese may dry excessively as it loses moisture through the cream coating. I will sometimes cream coat after the rind has developed on a semi-hard or hard cheese. Then, after some time, I will vacuum-seal the coated cheese. The Beaufort #7 in the example above has been given that treatment. Looking through the vacuum-sealed plastic, it's easy to see that there is no evidence of errant molds or bacterial infection. Should be ideal for cheeses intended for long-term affinage.

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