Author Topic: Curds won't knit so now what?  (Read 1692 times)

Offline bobbymac29649

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Curds won't knit so now what?
« on: August 24, 2013, 11:21:22 AM »
I've been trying to make cheese at least once and sometimes twice a week trying to work on my skills.  I decided to try a Farmhouse Cheddar so chose the recipe in Mary Carlin's book without the chives and annatto.  Everything seemed to go perfectly.  The temps were spot on, my curd cut was the best I've done so far, etc.  I used 2 gallons of raw milk.
I did the first press at 8 lbs per the instructions for one hour.  When I unwrapped it was not knitting at all.  In fact I had to be extra gently when flipping it over to redress as a couple of the "pebbles" fell out.  Then press at 10lbs for 12 hours.  It's been 10 hours so far and this is what it looks like.
I've read all about acidity level, room temps, etc.  Nothing was out of kilter that I know of.
My question is, can I do anything with it?  is there anyway to close the curds at this point?
If not, could I turn it into a bleu ?
Someone please let me know what my options are.  Time's ticking away!  Thanks...
Bobby



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Offline Mike Richards

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Re: Curds won't knit so now what?
« Reply #1 on: August 24, 2013, 11:30:07 AM »
Bobby--hopefully someone will give a more definitive answer than what I've got, but when I have had that happen, I just try to press it really stinking hard--like, as much weight as you can get on it.  There's always the option to dip it in warm water for a few minutes to try to soften the curds before pressing it again.

I think you could turn it into a blue, too, if that's what you wanted to do.  Good luck!
If only I could make cheese as well as I grow a mustache...

Offline Denise

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Re: Curds won't knit so now what?
« Reply #2 on: August 24, 2013, 11:37:11 AM »
I'm no expert, but 10lbs for a final press seems overly gentle to me. Double or even triple that?

Offline bobbymac29649

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Re: Curds won't knit so now what?
« Reply #3 on: August 24, 2013, 12:40:28 PM »
I thought the weight was very light as well but it was my first time using the recipe so I followed the instructions.

Mike, what temp of the water for dipping and for how long?

I'll then put it under a ton of weight...

Offline Smurfmacaw

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Re: Curds won't knit so now what?
« Reply #4 on: August 24, 2013, 03:09:36 PM »
For cheddar style cheeses (Caerphilly) I generally do the final press at 8psi which works out to about 350 pounds on my press and generally get a good knit.  Personally I think that 8lbs total is way to light even for the first press.


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Offline Mike Richards

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Re: Curds won't knit so now what?
« Reply #5 on: August 24, 2013, 03:14:10 PM »
I can't find anything at the moment that tells me what temperature, but I think I read something last week that said 1-3 minutes at 165 F.  That seems like it would warm/soften the outer surface, but not do much for deeper in the cheese.
If only I could make cheese as well as I grow a mustache...

Offline tnbquilt

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Re: Curds won't knit so now what?
« Reply #6 on: August 24, 2013, 04:45:48 PM »
I think that all of the pressing instructions in that book are too light.

I made the Just jack from that book. It says to press at 1lb to begin with. I don't remember the rest but I pressed it like she said and it did eventually stick together but when it was 3 months old I picked it up and it came in half. The inside never did knit.

I would press it in the pot with 120 degree water in the bottom. Do not let the water get on the cheese, put something in the pot to hold it up off of the bottom, put the warm water in there, put it in the press wrap it with a towel and press it at around 100lbs. If it was still warm you wouldn't have to press that hard, but it's gotten cold now.
Tammy

Offline High Altitude

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Re: Curds won't knit so now what?
« Reply #7 on: August 24, 2013, 06:35:16 PM »
I also made Mary Karlin's Farmhouse Cheddar in a stainless steel mold, so when it discovered the morning after pressing that it hadn't knit well (on the ends especially), I just put a heating pad on low underneath the stainless draining plate.  That provided enough heat to knit the ends as well as the sides to a lesser degree (wrapped the sides with a light towel in an attempt to retain some residual heat coming up from the bottom).  Because I waxed this cheese, the lesser knitting on the sides didn't affect the end quality of the cheese.

I consider that last technique a more desperate move, and agree with others that pressing in the pot over warm water is probably the best solution.  At the time I hadn't yet learned that technique and now know that a heating pad can be a wonderful saving grace if I ever need it again.

tnbquilt: I also made the Just Jack, and despite the low weight pressing, it turned out to be one of my best cheeses ever!  Sometimes you just get lucky I guess :-).  I've had good results with her book, my first book, and have made around 20 cheeses so far.  I'm excited to begin sprouting out a bit and will get Gianaclis Caldwell's book next.
Have some (homemade) wine with that cheese!

Offline jwalker

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Re: Curds won't knit so now what?
« Reply #8 on: August 25, 2013, 08:38:37 AM »
IF you can't get the rind to close any more , it would make a great candidate for a Stilton , if inoculated with some PR and pierced well .

Did you repress it and get the rind to close better?
No..........I'm not a professional CheeseMaker , but I play one on TV.

Offline bobbymac29649

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Re: Curds won't knit so now what?
« Reply #9 on: August 25, 2013, 01:09:22 PM »
It's been sitting under 100 lbs since last night.  I flipped it over this morning and it's looking a lot better.  The center is all closed. Only around the edges is it a still a bit open.  I'll post a picture in a bit. 
thanks again everyone for your help...
Bobby


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Offline bobbymac29649

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Re: Curds won't knit so now what?
« Reply #10 on: August 25, 2013, 09:04:33 PM »
It looks tons better.  It's only about an inch thick now!  It smells great though. 
Tomorrow morning I guess I'll get it out of the press and let it dry then I'll wax it.
Am I doing the right thing?

Offline Mike Richards

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Re: Curds won't knit so now what?
« Reply #11 on: August 25, 2013, 09:11:37 PM »
That looks significantly better.  Imagine how smooth the next one will turn out.  I think you're on the right path.  What's your plan for aging it out?
If only I could make cheese as well as I grow a mustache...

Offline bobbymac29649

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Re: Curds won't knit so now what?
« Reply #12 on: August 26, 2013, 09:52:14 AM »
I was thinking either waxing or bandaging.  Your thoughts?

Offline Mike Richards

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Re: Curds won't knit so now what?
« Reply #13 on: August 26, 2013, 10:14:32 AM »
I've never done bandaging, so I lean towards waxing.  What temp is your cave at, how long do you plan on aging it?
If only I could make cheese as well as I grow a mustache...

Offline bobbymac29649

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Re: Curds won't knit so now what?
« Reply #14 on: August 26, 2013, 10:52:53 AM »
It stays in the 53 - 57 degree range.
I was thinking of aging it for a couple of months. 
I'll go ahead and brine it per the instructions, let it dry then wax it.  How does that sound?
Thanks again...