Author Topic: Vacuum bagging  (Read 1145 times)

Offline John@PC

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Vacuum bagging
« on: June 22, 2013, 07:12:37 AM »
I just joined the forum, but of all the neat tricks and tips I've seen here is the popularity of vacuum bagging.  I've scanned through many posts that refer to it but there's still some things I'm missing.  Some questions:

1. Vacuum bag material inherently has very low moisture and gas permeability.  Does this affect affinage negatively?
2. I can appreciate the simplicity of vacuum bagging vs. waxing, but other that that and the prevention of surface mold are there other advantages?
3.  When is the best time to bag?  Is there a rule of thumb that applies to desired aging time (i.e. bag half-way through aging_?
4.  Can you pull a cheese out of the bag, cut a chunk to enjoy, and re-bag what's left and put it back in the cave?  Kind of a dumb question but was curious if there is any negative effect on the exposed paste over time.

I've got a Foodsaver rechargeable vacuum but I've only used it to vacuum bag my cultures and to store cheeses that I've pulled from the cave.

Thanks.  One more post and I get my "cheese" privileges  8)!

Offline tnbquilt

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Re: Vacuum bagging
« Reply #1 on: June 22, 2013, 07:45:25 AM »
I have waxed more cheeses than anything, because of the kind that I make. When I wax I wait a week. I have a couple of Gruyere's and a Swiss that I vacuum sealed to get the mini caves out of the aging area. I waited two months on the Swiss and about 6 weeks on the Gruyeres. I was doing a washed rind and watching the white develop, and then I let them dry slowly in the plastic boxes before I sealed them.

Sealing also has the advantage of not having to maintain the moisture level in your cave, but so does waxing.

I do not vacuum seal Monterey Jack, I had a bad experience with that. I think I didn't let it dry out enough and the bag filled up with whey. The cheese tasted soured.
Tammy

Offline Tiarella

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Re: Vacuum bagging
« Reply #2 on: June 22, 2013, 12:03:52 PM »
John, I hope Boofer will chime in since he has done a lot of vacuum sealing of his cheeses.  He'll have a lot of I fo for you.  I know he often vacuum seals wedges of a cheese once he's opened it.  I find that it cen make a cheese seem more moist and some folks say vacuum bagged cheeses sometimes need to be aired out between opening and eating.  It certainly doesn't work to bag too soon and you do need to watch it for a while to make sure no whey is collecting in the bag.  Good luck and welcome to the forum!    :D

Offline Boofer

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Re: Vacuum bagging
« Reply #3 on: June 22, 2013, 01:55:02 PM »
some folks say vacuum bagged cheeses sometimes need to be aired out between opening and eating.
Any cheese removed from the cave or fridge needs to be "aired out" or brought to room temperature before eating in order to maximize the taste and eating pleasure. ;)

I started out by waxing my cheeses because that's what I thought you were supposed to do. Since then I have been vacuum-bagging and cream-coating my cheeses. In either case, the cheese needs to have a chance to dry its rind sufficiently to reduce the incidence of mold, bacterial, or fungus growth. The vacuum approach works well to retain moisture in the paste and permit the cheese to age gracefully with minimal supervision (although I still get into the cave and turn them regularly).

Cream-coating cheeses protects them from excessive moisture loss but not totally. The coating is somewhat permeable and allows for some gas exchange. The cream coatings I use also have Natamycin (a mold inhibiter) as part of their makeup.

Here are some recent examples of vacuum-bagging and cream-coating:
If you have bagged a cheese and whey collects in the bag, open it, dry it off, and reseal it.

HTH.

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Offline MrsKK

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Re: Vacuum bagging
« Reply #4 on: June 24, 2013, 09:00:40 AM »
Like Boofer, I started out waxing my cheeses because that's what you are "supposed" to do.  I graduated to vacuum sealing cheeses due to issues with mold and moisture under the wax and cracked wax which wasn't doing its proper job.

With moister cheeses, such as Lancashire and Colby, I generally allow them to age in the cave with a natural rind until at least two months old.  I've been able to enjoy Lancashire longer than the recommended 3 months by vacuum sealing it and keeping it in the regular fridge and frequently open vacuum sealed cheeses to take a wedge out then re-seal them and put them away until needed again with no adverse effects.

The dryer cheeses can be vac sealed at a month or so.  As stated above, you just need to keep an eye out for moisture showing up in the bag - that will sour a cheese very quickly and make it inedible.  When I've seen moisture collecting, I take the cheese out, dry it off, and put it back in the cave to age with a natural rind for another few weeks before trying to re-seal it.

Offline dirigoma

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Re: Vacuum bagging
« Reply #5 on: February 21, 2014, 01:23:08 PM »
I'm hoping to open this topic back up - I've used vacuum sealing successfully, until a recent Gouda.  This had an oiled rind, just at ripening (a bit dry if anything) and I repacked 1/2 the wheel and stored at 55 degrees.  It looked great - but the rind had 'soured' when I opened it, and even though the cheese still looked and tasted great, the pasty rind smelled nasty.  I scraped it down and let it air dry, but am trying to hold on to some of this wheel for my parent's visit!  Anyone have tricks for vacuum packing or should I try foil?  Should I have stored it in the regular fridge at 35 degrees?

Have a Manchego I just opened to save also -- don't want to make the same mistake.

Thanks!
Milking Nubian Goats in western MA and trying my hand at fresh and aged cheeses

Offline John@PC

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Re: Vacuum bagging
« Reply #6 on: February 21, 2014, 03:50:10 PM »
This had an oiled rind, just at ripening (a bit dry if anything) and I repacked 1/2 the wheel and stored at 55 degrees.  It looked great - but the rind had 'soured' when I opened it, and even though the cheese still looked and tasted great, the pasty rind smelled nasty.  I scraped it down and let it air dry, but am trying to hold on to some of this wheel for my parent's visit!  Anyone have tricks for vacuum packing or should I try foil?  Should I have stored it in the regular fridge at 35 degrees?
Thanks!
I've not vacuum packed a cheese that had been oiled, but while it may not necessarily the cause of the nasty rind it was present at the scene of the crime :D.  I do know that vacuum bagging is generally preferred to foil because it does allow for a little bit of oxygen transfer, and you can see if somethings going on under the covers, so to speak.  After I started this thread last summer I've used the Foodsaver rechargeable (good for the money) but finally broke down and got a Vacmaster.  This coincided with a renewed interest in sous vide cooking so the bagger sees double duty (triple if you add for freezing meats and vegetables).  We want to pick a good, low-cost edge vacuum bagger (the Vacmaster looks good so far; willing to look at others if anyone has suggestions) and order the rolls in bulk so we can offer them on the website for both cheese and SV at a competitive price.

Offline Boofer

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Re: Vacuum bagging
« Reply #7 on: February 25, 2014, 08:57:16 AM »
it does allow for a little bit of oxygen transfer
??? Um...no. ???

There is no exchange of gases. The cheese is sealed.

Anyone have tricks for vacuum packing or should I try foil?
The cheese being vacuum-sealed should be dry. If there is residual moisture weeping out of the rind, that will result in a pasty rind over time. The pastiness is accompanied by a sour character. If you have vacuum-sealed a cheese and it develops moisture in the bag, open it up, dry the moisture, and reseal. If need be, replace the vacuum bag.

If this is a washed rind, that too can be vacuum-sealed, it just has to be dry and stable when going in. There still may be some tendency to pastiness, but I have had some success and produced some very nice vacuum-sealed cheeses.

After the vacuum-sealed cheese has aged in the cave, it gets moved to the cooler big fridge for longer term storage. Seems to work out well. I sampled some 3 year old Tomme de Merlot yesterday and the vacuum sealing had protected it very nicely.

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