Author Topic: Gruyère attempt with questions  (Read 1068 times)

Offline Mike Richards

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Gruyère attempt with questions
« on: September 12, 2013, 11:15:57 PM »
Questions first:
- Why do I use a wooden board for washing?  I know I should, but I don't know why.
- Is 6.3 a good pH target for draining/hooping? (Not that I'll hit it, it's just nice to know what I'm aiming for)
- I'm still unsure about brining these big cheeses.  I'm doing another 12 gallon batch, expecting around 11 - 12 lbs.  If I do thickness times weight will that get me the right salt content?  I expect it to be about 4.5 inches thick, so around 50 hours in the brine?
- I'm debating whether to do a salt washing or a wine/brine wash.  Suggestions?  We don't drink wine, so if I do that, what do I get?

I'll post on the make tomorrow...hopefully.
If only I could make cheese as well as I grow a mustache...


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Offline Tiarella

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Re: Gruyère attempt with questions
« Reply #1 on: September 13, 2013, 06:13:03 AM »
I am impressed as all hell at your big batches.  Have I missed photos of your huge parm style?   :o. Is your modified sink being amazing for these huge batches?

Offline Mike Richards

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Re: Gruyère attempt with questions
« Reply #2 on: September 13, 2013, 09:34:07 PM »
Tia--you should wait to impressed when I actually try one from the big batches and see if it is any good.

Today's make had a couple of interruptions that likely ruined the cheese.  The first led to my nephew having to take over the cheese making.  He did a great job of following my hurriedly given instructions.  Unfortunately, I forgot to tell him to to turn of the heat and the controller after adding the rennet.  I don't know how hot it go, but the bottom of the vat got pretty hot--so much so that when I was cutting the curd, I could feel the difference in stiffness above the heaters.  Then, the second interruption led to the curds sitting at 120F for about 10 minutes.

We finished the cheese, but even though it appears to knit fine, when I've taken it out to flip, the skin tears very easily.  I'm hoping that pressing it longer will magically fix that problem, but I have very little confidence.  Even if I can get it in the brine without it splitting, I'm pretty sure it will break apart in there...I'll share a photo when it does.
If only I could make cheese as well as I grow a mustache...

Offline Tiarella

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Re: Gruyère attempt with questions
« Reply #3 on: September 14, 2013, 06:20:39 AM »
Oooh, sorry you got interrupted!  That happens mostly by me having to go do chores here.  I never have enough time to get through a long cheese make without needing to leave and the best I've gotten is leaving it in the press for too long on it's first or second pressings.

Offline Tiss

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Re: Gruyère attempt with questions
« Reply #4 on: September 14, 2013, 09:47:14 AM »
I hate it when that happens. I likely ruined 2 gal of Jersey last week. The curd didn't set in time, which meant that I had to leave it while I went to my son's little league game. It was way acidic by the time I got home. I tried to do a couple things to stop developing any more acidity, but I'm not expecting anything good :(

Hopefully yours will be a happy accident- something you can name after yourself that will transform the future of cheese!!! (or at least taste okay on a cracker).  :o


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Offline High Altitude

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Re: Gruyère attempt with questions
« Reply #5 on: September 17, 2013, 11:01:20 AM »
Well, I do know that a dry, hard gruyere (my first ever make that was too thin and then I basically "killed" the rind by my overzealous brushing to remove any and all semblance of growing molds) makes a wonderful, if slightly too salty, grating cheese.  You'll enjoy it no matter what.

Kuddos to your nephew and his efforts.  Be sure to give him a nice big chunk of the final masterpiece!

...and it goes without saying that eventual photos are a MUST  ;)!
Have some (homemade) wine with that cheese!

Offline Mike Richards

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Re: Gruyère attempt with questions
« Reply #6 on: September 17, 2013, 11:06:59 PM »
I've been washing it since Saturday (Tuesday now).  I'm not seeing much of a schmier developing, but I think that's because I can't seem to keep it wet.  I've got the humidity fairly high (85%-95%)--high enough that molds are growing a lot faster on my other cheeses, but this one keeps drying out.  I've got it covered with a bowl, but I think I need enclose it a little more tightly.

gruyère at 4 days of washing
If only I could make cheese as well as I grow a mustache...

Offline Alpkäserei

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Re: Gruyère attempt with questions
« Reply #7 on: September 18, 2013, 05:10:59 PM »
wish I would have seen this earlier.

Standard for Gruyere AOC in Switzerland is to brine it for 20 hours or something around there, if you brine it 50 hours, you are getting more into the range of Romano or Parmesan as far as salt is concerned -mountain cheeses aren't that salty, because you have to carry the salt up the mountain yourself.

I remain skeptical of pH targets, at least for Alpine type cheeses, the pH changes during the make process are pretty minuscule, most acidification occurs in the press and during aging. I've found that if you follow your time targets on these cheeses, you are going to do pretty well about every time.

Wood will help with moisture -you wash the board with brine, it gets colonized with BL and coated with alcohol, it absorbs water and slowly releases it back into cheese. Also curd doesn't seem to want to stick to wood so much.

If you don't have wine, any alcohol will do. If no alcohol, then vinegar will work too, especially a wine or cider vinegar. The idea of the wash is that the alchol (or vinegar) is sterlizing, but the BL can survive it.
Gut gibt's der schwiizer Chäser

Offline High Altitude

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Re: Gruyère attempt with questions
« Reply #8 on: September 18, 2013, 05:51:22 PM »
That is SO cool Mike!  What kind of wine did you use for the brine wash?

p.s., you should seriously consider drinking wine....it's a wonderful thing! :o
Have some (homemade) wine with that cheese!

Offline Mike Richards

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Re: Gruyère attempt with questions
« Reply #9 on: September 18, 2013, 07:06:56 PM »
Thanks for the answers, Alp.  I got a pretty low yield (9.5 lbs) and ended up only leaving it in the brine 25 hours, so hopefully it will still be closer to a alpine.  I did buy some wine (first time in a liquor store--interesting experience.) and have been using it to wash the cheese.

HighAltitude--I'm not sure what kind of wine it is.  It was the cheapest, small portion of wine at the store.  It looks like an oversized juice box.  The whole being Mormon thing limits my inclination to try wine, though the smell was not terribly appealing to me, either.  But, when the church decides alcohol is okay, I'll try some to see what I think. ;)
If only I could make cheese as well as I grow a mustache...


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Offline Alpkäserei

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Re: Gruyère attempt with questions
« Reply #10 on: September 18, 2013, 08:32:16 PM »
Don't worry, some of us who wash our cheeses in wine also happen to be Mennonites

To avoid going to a liquor store or down the liquor isle, I just make my own.

We had a couple gallons of our fresh cider turn a bit hard from setting in the sun (oops) and I'm thinking about making some spiced hard cider for brining my Mutschli, like an Appenzeller
Gut gibt's der schwiizer Chäser

Offline Mike Richards

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Re: Gruyère attempt with questions
« Reply #11 on: September 19, 2013, 09:59:16 PM »
Making my own wine for cheese washing will have to go on my list of things to learn how to do.  Right now it's behind making really good cheese, ice cream, and (eventually) cured meats...oh, and bee keeping...and effective gardening...and canning...
If only I could make cheese as well as I grow a mustache...

Offline Alpkäserei

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Re: Gruyère attempt with questions
« Reply #12 on: September 20, 2013, 10:29:10 AM »
It's really not hard at all.

And if you press cider, It's easier to make hard cider than to make not hard cider some thimes  ???  The stuff turns to alcohol quite easily.

Maybe some time, I will put up a thread about how to make an entirely homemade wash brine

We use our own wines and solutions of local wild fruits, for the most part. I've got a few gallons of wild grape wine aging away in the cellar, waiting to be smeared on the cheese. These will make for a very dark purple, almost black, rind, a very interesting look.

I'll fiddle around with spice mixtures for hard cider, and see if I can come up with something that to me tastes Ostschweiz or like east Switzerland, where this is often what is used (Appenzeller, for example)

Westschweiz and in the Berner Oberland, they use white wine pretty well exclusively. I think as you move north Toward Bern and especially to the wine regions around Zürich, you see more colorful wines used to wash cheeses. Honestly a great deal of what separates many regional cheeses in the German speaking part of Switzerland is how the are treated AFTER they come out of the press.
You have a class of cheese called Winzerkäse, which is the wine-maker's cheese. It can be anything, just these are specially treated with quality wines.
Gut gibt's der schwiizer Chäser

Offline High Altitude

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Re: Gruyère attempt with questions
« Reply #13 on: September 20, 2013, 12:23:29 PM »
I grew up a Seventh Day Adventist, but (fortunately) my parents didn't strictly abide by the "no drinking, no dancing, no smoking and be vegetarian" rules....though we did make our own gluten for "meatloaf" a few times!  So anyway today, I also make my own (red) kit wine (still a novice).  I need to make some white though as I'd like to do white-wine washes before venturing into the bolder red washes. Today I pick up my chocolate-raspberry port kit order.  Sorry, I digress.

Have some (homemade) wine with that cheese!

Offline DrChile

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Re: Gruyère attempt with questions
« Reply #14 on: September 22, 2013, 12:57:17 AM »
Alpkäserei - you know the joke about fishing with mennonites?

Go fishing with two mennonites and you'll have all your beer left over.
Go fishing with one mennonite and you'll have no beer left over.

Trent
(a Holmes County Ohio Mennonite who's setting down roots in Cincinnati, but at times longs for the country living of his youth)