Author Topic: Cheshire  (Read 403 times)

Offline Denise

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Cheshire
« on: September 25, 2013, 01:39:07 AM »
A cheshire-style cheese made with 16l shop-bought milk pasturised at 66 degrees for 30 minutes, following the recipe in 200 Easy Cheeses.
Looking afterwards at the recipe given on the New England Cheesemaking page, I realised that I did not add enough annatto to give it the typical Cheshire colour, which is a bit disappointing: next time I'll know to add quite a bit more.
After the cheddaring some of the curds had formed quite solid blocks, but there were also quite a lot of loose crumbles. Next time I think I will wrap the curds in cheesecloth to help them consolidate more evenly.
Once cut into pieces the curds were very, very firm, and even after pressing overnight the knit was not good. As the book suggests, I dipped the cheese in scalding water and pressed it for a few more hours (half a day, actually), which removed most of the major chasms; but as you can see, the surface is still quite pitted, and the unevenness still apparent through the wax. :(
It smells quite luscious, though. (At least, it did before I waxed it - now it smells of wax)
By Christmas it will be just three months old, and hopefully ripe for tasting.


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Offline Geo

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Re: Cheshire
« Reply #1 on: September 25, 2013, 02:22:37 AM »
It looks marvelous, Denise. I don't add annato to my (still young) cheshires as I'm chasing a white cheshire result, which is more traditional for the areas I know it from.

Like you, I've found that my curds can become very dry after the cheddaring step, with a lot of crumbly curds in the bottom of the pot. The pH meter I have at the moment is only good to 0.1 so I'm planning to buy a better one, but I've been wondering whether pH is a factor. It's possible you cheddared slightly too long?

When the curds have been too firm I had more success with doing the first hour's pressing in the pot which gave a much better knit. But it's a little while before I will be able to cut into the three Cheshires I've made to test that theory.

Offline Denise

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Re: Cheshire
« Reply #2 on: September 25, 2013, 04:04:26 AM »
I'm pleased you think it looks good, Geodyne. It's the first cheese I've had since my first one (which developed huge cracks in the drying, and didn't last a month!) that didn't have a nice smooth surface, so I was a bit dischuffed.
Because the curds were getting so hard and crumbly at the same time, I actually cheddared for a bit less time than it said in the book - about 1.5 hours instead of 2 hours. I haven't got a pH meter - maybe it should go on the shopping list.
When you say you do the first hour's pressing in the pot, you mean in order to keep things warm? Is the cheese sitting in whey? 

Offline Geo

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Re: Cheshire
« Reply #3 on: September 26, 2013, 03:45:18 PM »
Hi Denise,

I know others press under whey, but I haven't tried that yet. I've just looked to see if I have  a photo of my setup but I don't at the moment.

I've been making my cheese in a double-boiler of two stockpots. What I did, after moulding the curd, was to put the mould in the now-dry pot I did the cheddaring in, into the still-warm water bath. On top of the mould I place a follower and a couple of gym weights to get the first, light pressings. It takes a little management to not let everything slip but it ensures a pressing at 30-40C which helps with knit. After the first hour pressing in the pot I redress the cheese and move it to the press.

Offline JeffHamm

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Re: Cheshire
« Reply #4 on: September 26, 2013, 03:57:27 PM »
Yes, this is what I do as well.  It also helps, if you can, to put a cloth over the top to help keep the heat in the pot.  The idea is to press in a warm environment for the first couple hours.  It doesn't hurt to maybe flip and redress every 20 or 30 minutes as well.  Each flip/redress helps redistribute the forces and helps with getting the external knit really good.  Then, the mould that grows just stays on the outside and the inner cheese develops wonderful secrets.

- Jeff
The wise do not always start out on the right path, but they do know when to change course.


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Offline Denise

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Re: Cheshire
« Reply #5 on: November 04, 2013, 09:50:44 PM »
Well, this baby didn't make it to Christmas! We were going to see my daughter and her family and I wanted to take her a wedge, so the Cheshire copped it.

Considering how difficult it had been to get a good knit on this, I was surprised at what a nice creamy texture it has. It looks crumbly in the photo, but that's my my failure to cut straight through rather than any fault on the part of the cheese. A nice, 'everyday' type of cheese, not too strong-tasting, that I can feed to my infant granddaughters without their Mum getting upset about Nana giving them 'weird smelly mouldy stuff'!

Meanwhile the remaining half has gone back into the cave to age out a bit longer. Hopefully it will see in 2014.