Author Topic: A tale of two Cheshires  (Read 1806 times)

Offline Geo

  • Mature Cheese
  • ****
  • Location: Tasmania, Australia
  • Posts: 376
  • Cheeses: 31
  • Default personal text
Re: A tale of two Cheshires
« Reply #15 on: September 19, 2013, 03:16:24 AM »
Replying to my own post. I've just remembered that this is the cheese I bandaged on the bottom layer with butter (old butter at that because we don't use it) before remembering I had coconut oil in the house. I wonder whether I can smell the butter going rancid.

This has been kept in my cooler "cave", at roughly 13C (plus or minus 2C), and at 55-71% humidity.


Guests, join the CheeseForum.org community to remove this ad.


Offline Geo

  • Mature Cheese
  • ****
  • Location: Tasmania, Australia
  • Posts: 376
  • Cheeses: 31
  • Default personal text
Re: A tale of two Cheshires
« Reply #16 on: September 20, 2013, 05:57:13 PM »
This morning I pulled Cheshire #3 out and it looked and smelled even worse. There was no question that something was going wrong there, and that something was going on under the fat layer (first photo). So I removed the top bandage which had been applied with coconut oil and it was clear that the butter-and-bandage layer below was what was moulding (second picture below). The butter was clearly past its best.

I removed this and scraped the moulds off the cheese, and fortunately the cheese below is fine. It's only been moulding like this for maybe 5 days. I scraped off the mould with the back of a table knife and washed with a vinegar-and-salt solution. The third photo is of the cheese post-scraping and pre-washing. The cheese is drying now and still smells of mould in the rind. I'm going to let it dry for half a day and give it another vinegar-and-salt wash, then let it dry overnight. Tomorrow, if all looks good, I'll bandage it again.

I think I'll avoid bandaging with butter in future.
« Last Edit: September 20, 2013, 06:02:48 PM by Geodyne »

Offline Geo

  • Mature Cheese
  • ****
  • Location: Tasmania, Australia
  • Posts: 376
  • Cheeses: 31
  • Default personal text
Re: A tale of two Cheshires
« Reply #17 on: November 12, 2013, 01:06:04 AM »
We had a big storm, Sunday before last, and we had a 9-hour power cut. That was no problem in itself but meant I couldn't cook dinner. That meant I gave into temptation and opened the first two Cheshires, outlined at the beginning of this post.

The first, the smaller piece at the top of the first image, was made using a single-strain, L. lactis starter. It was pressed with a makeshift arrangement before I made my cheese press and was allowed to dry out a bit too much. It was also allowed to rise to too high a temp during the cheddaring phase which meant it didn't knit particularly well.

The second Cheshire, the lower of the two  cheeses in the top photo, was made with a more multi-strain (L. lactis, L. lactis cremoris, L. lactis biovar diacetylactis, S. thermophilus) blend. Both of these have now been maturing, waxed,  for two months. I cut a bit off the ends and then rewaxed the wheels to age further.

Both cheshires are white in appearance and crumbly in texture, but the first cheshire crumbled to the cut. You can see this in the second picture more clearly, where the first cheshire is at the top of the plate. The second Cheshire had a waxier, cheesier, texture, while still being a little crumbly. The second cheese had a much more rounded palate, which is not surprising considering the larger number of different cultures working away.

I'd like to say that these cheeses didn't have the flavour profiles I was looking for, but they didn't seem to hang around for long! They're decent, mediocre cheeses, but they've been a valuable learning process for me. What I've learned is:

- What I'm looking for isn't these heavily pressed cheshires, which are more like aged cheddar. I'm looking for something younger, fresher, and moister.
- These cheeses are drier than I want, and I have created that through being too zealous in my stirring. I'll stir the next batch less.
- Because the cheese were dry, they needed a lot of weight for pressing. So I'll press the next batch with less weight as well.
- I might like to allow a little more acid development and salt a bit more.

I definitely wouldn't call this a failed experiment, more a step in the learning process. And I haven't opened Cheshire #3 yet.

Offline Geo

  • Mature Cheese
  • ****
  • Location: Tasmania, Australia
  • Posts: 376
  • Cheeses: 31
  • Default personal text
Re: A tale of two Cheshires
« Reply #18 on: November 12, 2013, 01:09:18 AM »
Dammit, I put the wrong photo as the top one! Attached is the two cheeses as  cut: Cheshire #1 on top, Cheshire #2 on bottom.

Offline Boofer

  • Old Cheese
  • *****
  • Location: Parkland, Washington
  • Posts: 4,236
  • Cheeses: 209
  • Contemplating cheese
Re: A tale of two Cheshires
« Reply #19 on: November 12, 2013, 07:58:02 AM »
Dammit, I put the wrong photo as the top one!
Geo, you can go back and "Modify" your posting, including shifting pics around.

Adopt the Zen pose...and breathe.... ^-^

-Boofer-
Let's ferment something!
Bread, beer, wine, cheese...it's all good.


Guests, join the CheeseForum.org community to remove this ad.


Offline Geo

  • Mature Cheese
  • ****
  • Location: Tasmania, Australia
  • Posts: 376
  • Cheeses: 31
  • Default personal text
Re: A tale of two Cheshires
« Reply #20 on: November 12, 2013, 01:29:30 PM »
Thanks Boofer. I knew I could modify the text, but must have had a "boy look" when I looked to see whether I could change the photo.  ::)

Offline Geo

  • Mature Cheese
  • ****
  • Location: Tasmania, Australia
  • Posts: 376
  • Cheeses: 31
  • Default personal text
Re: A tale of two Cheshires
« Reply #21 on: December 19, 2013, 01:50:19 AM »
Last night, with DH home, and a lovely sunny evening, we opened a bottle of wine on the back deck and broke into a pile of cheeses. First up were the Cheshires.

In the second photo, back to front, are cheshire #1, cheshire #2 and cheshire #3, with a wedge of stilton on front. To accompany them were sourdough baguettes fresh from the oven, home-made hummous, olives, semi-dried tomatoes and a handful of nuts.

Cheshire #1 was made according to the first recipe on this thread, with a single-strain L. lactis starter. I overshot the temp a bit, and misreading instructions, pressed it for 40 hours. The texture on this is very crumbly and while it tastes like cheese, it's the kind of cheese you'd like if you didn't know you could make better.

Cheshire #2 was made according to the second recipe on this thread, with a blend of starters. I cut this with a knife that cuts vertically and horizontally at the same time and which tore the curd, which meant I had uneven curd size during stirring. Again, misreading instructions, I pressed this for too long. You can tell the difference in the culture complexity with this one, and it tastes of Cheshire. It's a firmish paste but a pleasant cheese. It has the pleasant crumbliness, creaminess and acidity you expect from a good Cheshire. I've tried both of these before, and now that they've aged for three months, I can't really tell any further complexity in them compared to how they tasted at 1 month.

Cheshire #3 was made to the same recipe as Cheshire #2....although, if I can believe my notes, I made it using the L. lactis single-strain starter, precultured in milk the night before. This cheese was pressed overnight at 20 kg, given a 70C water bath the next day then pressed at 10kg increasing to 20 kg, then cloth bandaged with coconut oil. My then-'cave', a cooler, encouraged mould so I removed the coconut oil at one week and waxed the cheese. It's now 3 months and one week old, and it's a lot moister than the other cheeses. What's more, it's right on the money. THIS is the result I'm after. Nutty, slightly crumbly but holding its paste, lemony but not overpoweringly acid, and moist but a good firm paste. I'm really pleased, and the Cheshireman heaped high praise indeed.

Then, being on a cheese binge, we tried the stilton, a goat's-milk Valencay, and a 3-week-old chilli and smoked paprika cheshire, which I coated in smoked paprika and olive oil. That was so good I'll be making another of those this weekend. Still young and creamy, with a real chilli hit. I'll probably vacuum-seal half of this to age out a bit further.

Offline Geo

  • Mature Cheese
  • ****
  • Location: Tasmania, Australia
  • Posts: 376
  • Cheeses: 31
  • Default personal text
Re: A tale of two Cheshires
« Reply #22 on: December 19, 2013, 03:25:24 PM »
We revisited the Cheshires for dinner again last night, and agreed that the second Cheshire, with the blend of cultures, is a lovely cheese but with a notably more buttery flavour than the other two. I've concluded that a single-strain L. lactis starter gives the flavour profile I expect from a Cheshire.

The aromatic blend, nice as it is, gives a flavour more like a Lancashire or a Gloucester.

Offline graysalchemy

  • Mature Cheese
  • ****
  • Location: Manchester
  • Posts: 130
  • Cheeses: 5
  • Default personal text
Re: A tale of two Cheshires
« Reply #23 on: January 06, 2014, 09:51:02 AM »
Wow what wonderful looking cheese. That is my ambition a selection of cheese to go with my bread and beer.

I need a cheese to go with my damson and tomato chutney I made yesterday using up the fruit which had been in my damson gin since october.  ;) ;)

Back on the quest for Stilton tomorrow and a crumbly cheese the day after.

 :) :)

Offline Geo

  • Mature Cheese
  • ****
  • Location: Tasmania, Australia
  • Posts: 376
  • Cheeses: 31
  • Default personal text
Re: A tale of two Cheshires
« Reply #24 on: January 06, 2014, 11:24:31 PM »
Gin-soaked damson and tomato chutney - that sounds amazing!

Good luck with the stilton. I think my cheesemaking is on hold for a short while until I find another suitable time window. Let us know how you go!


Guests, join the CheeseForum.org community to remove this ad.


Offline graysalchemy

  • Mature Cheese
  • ****
  • Location: Manchester
  • Posts: 130
  • Cheeses: 5
  • Default personal text
Re: A tale of two Cheshires
« Reply #25 on: January 07, 2014, 03:29:06 AM »
3 Gallons of milk heating up as we speak. Also going to do a caerphilly ish cheese tomorrow as well.  :)

Yes the Damson chutney is lovely  :)

Offline Geo

  • Mature Cheese
  • ****
  • Location: Tasmania, Australia
  • Posts: 376
  • Cheeses: 31
  • Default personal text
Re: A tale of two Cheshires
« Reply #26 on: January 07, 2014, 03:12:54 PM »
I'm loving the flat cap.   ;D

Offline graysalchemy

  • Mature Cheese
  • ****
  • Location: Manchester
  • Posts: 130
  • Cheeses: 5
  • Default personal text
Re: A tale of two Cheshires
« Reply #27 on: January 07, 2014, 03:58:50 PM »
Good old Victor Meldrew I have a Christmas one as well but that has been put away for another year.

Offline Geo

  • Mature Cheese
  • ****
  • Location: Tasmania, Australia
  • Posts: 376
  • Cheeses: 31
  • Default personal text
Re: A tale of two Cheshires
« Reply #28 on: April 08, 2014, 09:28:24 PM »
Updating on Cheshire #3. This was made in early September last year, bandaged briefly then waxed when I became nervous about the moulds on the bandage. We tried a little in mid-December, then rewaxed the cut surface to age further.

Over the last few months, I've been noticing that something was leaking salty aged whey and had suspected some vac-packed stiltons. I noticed a couple of weeks ago that it was Cheshire 3#, through a pinhole gap in the rewaxed surface. At 6 months old and with Chesires #1 and #2 consumed it was about time to eat this one, so I removed the wax and found it swimming in whey (see photo below). Astounding considering it had been bandaged for a while before waxing.

I removed the wax and dried the whey off with paper towel. I let the cheese breathe for a few hours before trying it. The whey flavour is noticeable but not the sour bitter flavour that others have described. The fresh, nutty, lemony flavours we detected at three months old have been replaced by a more mature cheddar flavour. That isn't what I'm looking for from a Chesire (which is the young lemony flavours), but it's a decent aged cheese. I would say that this is at about the same level as a decent supermarket matured cheddar in terms of quality of flavour, but far from artisan quality. But it was the fifth cheese I made and I've learned a lot since then.

It makes a really good melting cheese though. We've used a bit melted onto various meals, keeping it in the regular fridge, and I'll probably vac-seal the remaining third to age out a little further, to see what happens.