Author Topic: First Parmesan  (Read 2130 times)

Offline Zinger

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First Parmesan
« on: March 25, 2009, 07:30:15 PM »
Today I attempted my first Parmesan and WOW what a difference in the amount of Whey that remained compared to doing Cheddar. I think that I better try some Whey Ricotta rather than dump it all down the drain.

One question I have centers around brining. In Ricki Carroll's book, she states that with store bought milk it often breaks down during brining. Consequently, she suggests that you salt the curds instead, but doesn't comment on how much salt.

Well, here in Michigan unless you have your own cow you cannot obtain raw milk. So, I made it with store milk and now I'm faced with whether to brine or not to brine. Actually, I'm in the pressing stage so it's too late to salt the curds. Besides, with my first attempt I want to follow the recipe and see what happens.

Any feed back on this issue would be appreciated.

Thanks


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Offline Wayne Harris

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Re: First Parmesan
« Reply #1 on: March 25, 2009, 07:45:14 PM »
I would recommend a heavy brine for your parm.  I would search the forum for brine and read this one.
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Offline Cartierusm

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Re: First Parmesan
« Reply #2 on: March 25, 2009, 07:51:27 PM »
Did you use CaCl2 (Calcium Chloride)? If so and the wheel is nice and firm, then Brining won't affect anything. As far as others having it melt in the brine I've never had that problem with cheese that has been properly made. You can make the brine with Whey left over from the batch, if you had it that is, but then you'll have to make the brine new everytime as it would get nasty.

I would just brine it and see how it goes, if it starts to go south then pull it out and salt. But surface salting doesn't do the same as brining.

As far as the remaining whey you won't be able to get a lot of ricotta out of it as the milk you started with was 2%-2.5%, which has a lot less butter fat in it and all that was there is now in your curds. You'd probably get about 1 cup or so.

As far as Ricki's book be careful as there are lots of errors in it. Do a search for Ricki and you'll see other comments on it here. First word of advice for normal cheese that don't use less than normal rennet, such as Stilton, use the amount of rennet per gallon as the rennet bottle says not ricki's book.

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Offline Zinger

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Re: First Parmesan
« Reply #3 on: March 25, 2009, 08:20:34 PM »
Thanks for the feedback, I did use Calcium Chloride and when I just rewrapped the cheese to go to the next level of weight it seems to be pressing up nice and firm.

Any recommendations on the length of time on the brine?

You're right about the whey not being worth the Ricotta thing.

Thanks again.

Offline Wayne Harris

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Re: First Parmesan
« Reply #4 on: March 25, 2009, 09:40:28 PM »
There are varying opinions.

I use 12hours/lb as a guide. 

so, when I make a 5lb wheel, I leave it soak for about 60 hours.

I am no expert and would be open to correction,  this is just what I do.
Wayne A. Harris - in vino veritas


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Offline Captain Caprine

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Re: First Parmesan
« Reply #5 on: March 25, 2009, 10:42:19 PM »
Wayne,
Is that 12h/lb in a saturated solution?
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Offline Wayne Harris

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Re: First Parmesan
« Reply #6 on: March 25, 2009, 10:42:56 PM »
Yes.
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Offline thegregger

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Re: First Parmesan
« Reply #7 on: March 26, 2009, 09:21:26 AM »
I highly recommend a brine.  I've never had a cheese break down in a brine, and (so far) I only use store bought milk.  Also, when deciding the amount of time to brine a cheese, you need to consider the overall mass, and the amount of surface area of the wheel in question.  One hour per pound, per inch (of thickness) is a good guide.  Therefore, a 60 hour brine for a 5 pound wheel is probably too much.  A 5 pound wheel that is 5 inches tall would brine for 25 hours.

Finally, the brine temperature should be about 50 degrees, in order to create an ideal salt uptake and rind.

Greg

Offline Wayne Harris

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Re: First Parmesan
« Reply #8 on: March 26, 2009, 09:43:30 AM »
good feedback. 

Is there a metric that one can use to tell if the cheese was brined too long?  I'm trying to determine what would be a key indicator that you have brined your cheese too long.

If the purpose of brining the outside is to infuse the surface area of the cheese with salt, then too much salt would probably make the rind too thick.

Doing some quick math, Parmigiano-Reggiano wheels are brined for 20 days I believe.  Given that each wheel is about 100lbs, that works out to 4.8hours/lb.

If my math is right,  your soak time recommendation of 5hours/lb is in line with the pros in Italy.

Based on that, I may adjust my soak time.  Good input Greg, thanks.


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Offline Zinger

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Re: First Parmesan
« Reply #9 on: March 26, 2009, 11:58:09 AM »
Now you guys are making be nervous.

My recipe calls for brining at room temperature for 24 hours. but my cheese weighs 2 pounds 5 ounces and is 2 inches high. Using your formula I would brine for about 4 1/2 hours which is a long way from the recipe's 24 hours. By the way I started with 3 gallons of milk.

What are your thoughts?


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Offline Wayne Harris

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Re: First Parmesan
« Reply #10 on: March 26, 2009, 12:21:25 PM »
The Beverage people call for the following:

"The rule is to leave the cheese in the bath for 12 hours for every 2 lbs. of cheese."

that is: 6 hours for every pound. 

In your case that works out to what? 14 hours.

I really think you will be fine with 24 hours.  I would not sweat it.

Anyone else?
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Offline Zinger

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Re: First Parmesan
« Reply #11 on: March 26, 2009, 01:20:19 PM »
Thanks so much to all of you for your help and patience with this newbie. Carter suggested a photo, here is the Parm after removing it from the press. My brine is now cooling - awaiting it's 24 hour resident.

Thanks again.
« Last Edit: March 30, 2009, 01:48:28 PM by Zinger »

Offline thegregger

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Re: First Parmesan
« Reply #12 on: March 27, 2009, 12:30:38 AM »
Zinger:

Thanks for posting those pictures.  That's a great-looking cheese. 

All cheese needs salt, and brining is simply a process to get salt into your cheese.  Too much salt will slow down the aging process of your cheese, which is probably not your intention.  Also, too much time in the brine will probably create an overly thick rind, which would be pretty undesirable on a 2 pound wheel of cheese.

A saturated brine at 50-55 degrees that has a similar pH level to the cheese should be home for your baby Parm for the next 12 hours.  I think 24 hours is way too long.

Also, if you're a bread-maker, or if you have a garden, you can use the leftover whey to make dough or to water your plants.  Or, you can just drink it.

Greg

Offline DeejayDebi

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Re: First Parmesan
« Reply #13 on: March 27, 2009, 08:43:19 PM »
Zinger that's a beautiful cheese!

Offline Wayne Harris

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Re: First Parmesan
« Reply #14 on: March 27, 2009, 08:45:04 PM »
It is a good looking wheel!
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