Author Topic: A tale of two Cheshires  (Read 1740 times)

Offline Geo

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A tale of two Cheshires
« on: September 06, 2013, 05:04:03 AM »
These would be Cheshires #1 and #2 for me, and cheeses #5 and #6.

In doing my research I read so many Cheshire cheese recipes from both modern and historic sources, that I decided to try a couple and see how they turned out.  I'm aiming for a fresh, crumbly, acidic white cheshire cheese, but few recipes specify what the end result will be and many seem focused on red cheshire. The tl,dr version is that I've had a partial success.

The first recipe was from an Australian book called "Home cheesemaking" by Neil and Carole Willman. I made this with only minor modifications.

10 litres "Real Milk" (pasteurised, unhomogenised milk from Pyengana dairy)
250 pre-cultured 'type A' starter (a mesophilic single-strain L. Lactis starter)
2 ml vegetarian rennet

Milk brought to 31C in double boiler   (initial milk pH 6.4)
Add 250 ml starter, stir well                (starter pH 4.9)
Recipe called for no culture time between adding starter and rennet which I thought odd, but I ran with it so immediately added rennet.
Add 2 ml rennet, diluted in 20 ml water, stir 3 minutes
Rest 30 minutes. Temp was a constant 31.7C
Checked, had clean break. Cut initially 1/2-inch cubes, then to bean size.
Stir 3 hours, raising temp over first 45 minutes to 34.5C, then stirred intermittently to stop curds from pitching.
After 3 hours pH dropped to 5.8, drain whey. Lost track of the temp at this point and it rose to 36C.
Textured for two hours at 33-34C, breaking up every 30 minutes. pH 5.0 at end of 2 hours.
Pressed 40 hours, turning every 8 hours, gradually increasing weight to 17.5 kg.

Weight out of press = 1008g, Weight after drying = 956g

The second cheese was made according to a combination of a recipe in Kathy Bliss's Practical Cheesemaking and a UK dairy board leaflet

10.5 litres "Real Milk"
200 ml pre-cultured "Farmhouse" starter (L. lactis, L. lactis cremoris, L. lactis biovar diacetylactis, S. thermophilus)
2.5 ml rennet

Initial milk pH 6.8 (possibly my calibrating solutions had shifted as I re-used the ones from two days before)
Bring milk to 26C, add 200 ml culture and mix well.
Rest 30 minutes, gradually increasing temp to 30C               (pH=6.5)
Add 2.5 ml rennet in 25 ml water at 29.5C, stir 3 min. Rest 40 min until clean break.
Cut curds to 1/2 inch initially, then to bean size.
Stir gently without heat 15 min
Stir constantly over next 30 min, increasing heat to 34C.
Maintain heat, stir 30 min until curds firm and free   (T=34.1, pH=6.2)
Drain whey and allow curds to settle. Cut into 2-inch slices.
Scald at 34C for 3 hours, breaking blocks in half and turning every 20 minutes, looking for a texture like chicken breast. (pH=5.2 at end)
Mill and mix with 25g salt
Place in mould. Weight going into press 1230g.
Press 1.25kg for 15 min
Press 2.5kg for 15 min
Press 20kg for 24 hours

Bliss's pressing regime (after the first 24 hours of moulding):
Day 1: Place moulds in warm (21C) room with no pressure
Day 2: Press at 24.9 N/m2 for two hours. Increase to 49.6 N/m2 for rest of day.
Day 3: 49.6 N/m2.
Day 4: pack.

I pressed at 5 kg and then 20 kg for the weights. Cheese weighed 1030g out of the press at the end of that.

The final picture is the two cheeses. The larger, lower cheese on the left is the Bliss recipe and the higher cheese on the right is the first recipe. The first one didn't knit particularly well, which may be a factor of overshooting my target temperature. I'm finding it's very dry and cracking. I've tried a saline wash but it's had little effect. The Bliss cheese is also starting to crack between the curds on the top surface as it dries.

ETA: of the two recipes I definitely prefer the second. It gave a superior texture to the curds during scalding and pressing.

I'm thinking I'll paint these with "cheese plastic" (a PVC coating) and then wax them to stop moisture loss. Would this be a good idea?

« Last Edit: September 06, 2013, 04:29:45 PM by Geodyne »


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Offline graysalchemy

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Re: A tale of two Cheshires
« Reply #1 on: September 06, 2013, 10:47:59 AM »
Nice cheese. Born and raised in Cheshire  ;D

By the way what is fermenting in the FV in the back ground  ;)

Offline Geo

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Re: A tale of two Cheshires
« Reply #2 on: September 06, 2013, 03:51:48 PM »
ahem, well spotted! In theory it's a goldings-hopped mild, but I'm having trouble convincing the yeast that the wort is a nice home at the moment.

Offline Geo

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Re: A tale of two Cheshires
« Reply #3 on: September 06, 2013, 10:48:14 PM »
Turns out the problem with that was duff yeast. Take two...

Offline graysalchemy

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Re: A tale of two Cheshires
« Reply #4 on: September 08, 2013, 01:44:58 PM »
ahem, well spotted! In theory it's a goldings-hopped mild, but I'm having trouble convincing the yeast that the wort is a nice home at the moment.

Umm Goldings my favourite hop, I will be tucking into a bottle of bitter latter which Has EKG in the late editions. Are you a all grain brewer? What yeast are you using?

Sorry too many beer related questions on a cheese forum  :-[ :-[


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Offline Geo

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Re: A tale of two Cheshires
« Reply #5 on: September 08, 2013, 03:58:08 PM »
No problem, I can multitask. ;-) Yes, we brew all-grain but in fairness we're only a short way down that road. This brew was with pale mild malt, amber malt and a bit of chocolate malt. The first yeast was a  Muntings ale yeast which had been mistreated so has passed on. I now have a brown ale yeast in there in lag. We'll see what it does.

Back to the cheeses. After four or five days air drying they were cracking quite badly on whichever the top surface was, where there had ben an imperfect knit between the curds. This was consistent between the two cheese (and is evident in the last photo above) although the first cheese was definitely the worst. The lower surface would rehydrate a bit so there was clearly still moisture inside the cheese. Trying a saline wash didn't help. I also realised after the fact that the three-day press on the second cheese was supposed to be a bandaging method which I hadn't done. I'd just been redressing the cheese in its cloth and returning it to the press.

I've waxed these cheeses (after coating them with "plastic cheese coating": is this the same as the cream coat some people mention?) and placed them in my "cave": an esky with an iceblock.

I think there are two possible reasons for the poor knit. I could have pressed the cheeses too cold but I haven't had a problem with any other cheeses. The other factor that had changed is that I used a new curd knife, which cuts both horizontally and vertically. I've since read that this stresses the curd too much, and I was having trouble with uneven curds with those cheeses. I made another cheshire from the second cheese yesterday, cutting the curd with an icing spatula and doing the initial press in the pot. This seems to have given a lovely knit.

Offline Tiarella

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Re: A tale of two Cheshires
« Reply #6 on: September 13, 2013, 06:08:52 AM »
hey, I want to see a photo of the cheese curd cutter that cuts both ways!   :D. Any chance of you posting a photo or link to a photo?  Whichever is easier......  Sorry about the cracking on your cheese.  I've had that happen even with perfectly knitted rounds when my cave humidity was off.  I've used coconut oil, olive oil or, if the air is humid enough I've rubbed it with salt and let it draw moisture in from the air.  I don't think that works if the air is dry.  Good luck!

Offline Geo

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Re: A tale of two Cheshires
« Reply #7 on: September 13, 2013, 04:39:16 PM »
I'd say that it couldn't be easier but it took me ages to re-find a couple of links I wanted to include! I've attached a photo. I bought this (with some other things so it's not a total loss) from the US and less than a week after I received it I found this link: http://cheeseforum.org/forum/index.php/topic,10978.msg91200.html#msg91200

Sailor, in this link: http://cheeseforum.org/forum/index.php/topic,2301.msg17650.html#msg17650 mentioned that cutters that cut both ways at once push around and tear the curd, and that's what I found. I ended up with very uneven curds the two times I used the knife, which seems to have gone away now I've gone back to cutting manually with a long spatula.

Offline Geo

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Re: A tale of two Cheshires
« Reply #8 on: September 13, 2013, 05:58:42 PM »
I made a third Cheshire last weekend, to the same recipe as the second (from Biss's Practical Cheesemaking), with the only exception being that I didn't use the above curd knife and that I actually went through the bandaging routine, rather then blindly pressing for three full days.

11 litres 3.5% P, un-H milk
200ml precultures M101 starter
2.5 ml rennet

Cultured at 26C, allowed to rest 30 mins, raising temp to 30C
Rennet @ 30C, allow to rest 30 mins
Cut to initial 1" curds, then to bean-size
Stir 15 mins, no heat
Raise heat over 45 min to 34C (I hit 34.4), stirring.
Drain whey, cheddar, breaking in half each half-hour, for two hours until whey pH reaches 4.9.

Pressing:
Day 1: Press lightly (5kg) for 30 mins, flip. Increase weight to 20kg, press 24 hours.
Day 2: remove from press, place in hot water bath (55C) for 1 min, place back in cleaned mould in press in cloth. Press at 10 kg for 2 hours, then 20 kg for 22 hours.
Day 3: Remove from press, bandage with butter. Back in press at 20 kg.
Day 5: (should have been day 4 but a work dinner got in the way): remove from press, bandage with coconut oil, remove to cave.

Offline Tiarella

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Re: A tale of two Cheshires
« Reply #9 on: September 14, 2013, 06:25:08 AM »
Thanks for the curd cutter links.  I saw one somewhere (on the forum?) that had two halves with one half having vertical blades and the other half having horizontal.  I presume one inserted it into the curd in the exact sized vat and then turned it gently until a full circle had been done neatly cutting curds in both directions.  I use a whisk to cut curd most of the time now unless it's a huge cut dimension called for.   ???


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Offline Geo

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Re: A tale of two Cheshires
« Reply #10 on: September 18, 2013, 04:01:33 AM »
Well, it's what the Italians do, isn't it?

Perhaps I ought to try a whisk next time. I'm planning to make some halloumi to use up some leftover milk, this weekend.

Offline Boofer

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Re: A tale of two Cheshires
« Reply #11 on: September 18, 2013, 09:56:37 AM »
Perhaps I ought to try a whisk next time.
I cut vertically with my long knife then follow later with my long whisk. Seems to work well for me.

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Offline Spellogue

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Re: A tale of two Cheshires
« Reply #12 on: September 18, 2013, 12:45:45 PM »

 I'm planning to make some halloumi to use up some leftover milk, this weekend.

Great looking Cheshire's. Can't wait to see the finished product cut. 

I love halloumi.  Here's a great thread in the subject
CheeseForum.org » Forum » CHEESE TYPE BOARDS (for Cheese Lovers and Cheese Makers) » RENNET COAGULATED - Brine Ripened (Aegean Sea) » Halloumi Cheese Making - Eight Recipes Compared

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Offline Geo

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Re: A tale of two Cheshires
« Reply #13 on: September 18, 2013, 03:02:08 PM »
Boofer, that's a good approach. I guess it would allow controlled expulsion of they whey. I've reverted so far to cutting with a long knife vertically, then diagonally, then randomly but I haven't been happy with the evenness of my curd size.

Spellogue, thankyou! I'll have a good read through those before making the halloumi on Saturday. I do enjoy comparing several recipes. It must be the scientist in me.  ;)

Offline Geo

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Re: A tale of two Cheshires
« Reply #14 on: September 19, 2013, 02:24:19 AM »
One week in the cave and the bandaged Cheshire has developed what I suspect is a PR infection. I can see some small patches of blue mould under the bandage on the base, and there's a touch of a bright yellow mould as well. The photo shows the blue spot on the left and some yellow mould on the right. There's a strong smell of blue cheese about it, more I get from the stilton. Not ammonia yet, but definitely blue cheese.

I'm guessing I should unbandage and treat this, but do people have recommendations for the best way to go about it? Take the bandage off and rub with vinegar or salt, then rebandage?

This cheese has been stacked on the bandaged wort cheddar because of my limited space and its outer bandage has the faintest blue smell about it as well, but comparing the two I put more coconut oil on that one. Would anyone recommend another layer of coconut oil at this stage, just to be safe?