Author Topic: Messing with Wheel Math (SA/VOL Ratios)  (Read 1500 times)

Offline Kern

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Messing with Wheel Math (SA/VOL Ratios)
« on: February 15, 2015, 02:47:59 PM »
With nothing else pressing this morning I fired up my Excel spreadsheet and cranked out a table relating the weight of the cheese in a wheel (the wheel having a diameter twice its height) to the Surface Area to Volume ratio.  Why is this important, you ask?  Well the larger the wheel the lower the ratio and everything else being equal the better the paste to rind ratio.  Simply put, lower SA/V ratios mean higher P/R ratios.  It turns out that the SA/V ratio is about equal to 2/cube root of the weight (in pounds).  (You can do the math!)  Here are some results:

Wheel Weight     SA/V Ratio

          1                     2.00
          2                     1.59
          3                     1.39
          4                     1.26
          5                     1.17
         10                    0.93

Now it seems obvious to me that one should make as large a batch as feasible but that there might not be such a practical difference between a 4 and 5 pound cheese.  So, I'd like some input from some of the more experienced guys on where the "sweet spot" might be.

Offline Al Lewis

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Re: Messing with Wheel Math (SA/VOL Ratios)
« Reply #1 on: February 15, 2015, 02:54:48 PM »
I make the jump from 4 to 6 pounds based on the mold and the type of cheese.  Anything over 5 requires two pots for me.  I only go under 4 for soft, fresh cheeses. Their rind thickness can be controlled to a point.
« Last Edit: February 15, 2015, 03:06:24 PM by Al Lewis »
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Offline John@PC

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Re: Messing with Wheel Math (SA/VOL Ratios)
« Reply #2 on: February 15, 2015, 04:04:34 PM »
Aside from the lower rind to paste ratio it is a more efficient use of time.  The sweet spots for me have been 2 lbs (in the learning phase), 4 lbs (in the getting more confident phase) and 5-6 gal (in the "I want more cheese" phase).  Then again smaller makes give you more diversity in your cave and a 2 lb. wheel is a handy size for home consumption.  It would be interesting to see a histogram of "sizes of cheeses" that home and hobby cheese makers make.  My guess is that it would be bi-modal with peaks at 2 and 4 lb and maybe a small one at 10-15 pounds range for the really serious non-commercial makers. 

Offline Al Lewis

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Re: Messing with Wheel Math (SA/VOL Ratios)
« Reply #3 on: February 15, 2015, 05:16:05 PM »
Many aren't governed by individual cheese weight but rather by the make size.  For instance, I do a two gallon make to produce three baby bries or epoisses.  As for popular sizes, aging time is a main factor.  Few people are prepared to wait 6 months to a year for a single pound of cheese.
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Offline OzzieCheese

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Re: Messing with Wheel Math (SA/VOL Ratios)
« Reply #4 on: February 15, 2015, 08:08:25 PM »
Given the size of my ripening space the 10 litre (approx 1.2Kg of cheese) is the largest I have made.  And though I have made the smaller 8 litre makes I do find that 10 litre makes behave better.  Now this is just on what I have experienced but I find the following differences.
1. The obvious about having more cheese - 'Captian Obvious' Stikes again :)
2. Living in a decimal world the math is easier seeing as culture packet amounts seem to be units per /100 litres
3. Thermal inertia of 10 litres is easier to work with. It just seemed I was always chasing the temperature.
 
Just me :)

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Offline awakephd

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Re: Messing with Wheel Math (SA/VOL Ratios)
« Reply #5 on: February 16, 2015, 09:51:48 AM »
I started with 1 gallon fresh cheeses, then quickly moved to 2 gallon aged makes, then "created" a mold that let me move up to 3 gallon aged makes, and in the last couple of months I've "created" a larger mold that lets me do 4 gallon makes -- at this point, I am at the limit of what my largest SS pot can manage. Actually a little over the limit -- the pot holds EXACTLY 4 gallons, so I have to use a bit less if I want to add diluted rennet or CaCl, or stir, or so on.

Question: do the larger makes tend to take longer to age? I'm just starting to be able to consume some of these 4 gallon makes -- so far, I've eaten about half of a Caerphilly. It seems to me that it may have taken about a week longer for this 'philly to develop its flavor.
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Offline Al Lewis

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Re: Messing with Wheel Math (SA/VOL Ratios)
« Reply #6 on: February 16, 2015, 10:01:24 AM »
Not sure size is an issue in ripening.  As Kern demonstrated you lose less cheese to rind with the larger cheeses but I believe the curd all ripens at the same rate.  I could be wrong though. ???
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Offline Alpkäserei

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Re: Messing with Wheel Math (SA/VOL Ratios)
« Reply #7 on: February 16, 2015, 12:01:12 PM »
Size is in fact important to aging any sort of long-term aged cheese. So like for Alpine cheeses, you will see that as the technology developed in Switzerland and France in the valley cheeseries the wheels of cheese got much bigger. This is even the case with more traditional things like Alpkäse which are today generally bigger than they were 100 or even 50 years ago. But even then, the AOP's for things like Berner Alpkäse and L'Etivaz put size limits so you don't make them too big, because that will affect the way they age and the character of the finished cheese.

But in general, the bigger you make a cheese the better. It's easier to control is a big thing. There is a reason why in the 19th century, producers of Emmentaler made their wheels over 150 pounds and still do so today. It just turns out better.

But obviously, people can't make a 150 pound wheel of cheese in their kitchen.

But a lot of our recipes for Alpine style cheeses actually don't work out that well if we make the cheese too small.

In general the practice is to make a cheese that you intend to age a long time as big as you can. And when we make the semi-hard cheese like a Mutschli or Appenzeller these are made much smaller and aged far less. Smaller is appropriate for a quick-aged cheese, because it will ripen faster and the inerior will take up more rind flavor throughout. Which is good because we like to wash our Mutschli's and Appenzellers with herbs and liquors to add flavor. 

Offline Al Lewis

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Re: Messing with Wheel Math (SA/VOL Ratios)
« Reply #8 on: February 16, 2015, 12:04:19 PM »
I stand corrected.  Washed mine with cognac!!  Tasted great!! :P
« Last Edit: February 17, 2015, 10:45:13 AM by Al Lewis »
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Offline qdog1955

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Re: Messing with Wheel Math (SA/VOL Ratios)
« Reply #9 on: February 16, 2015, 12:18:50 PM »
  All of you make good solid points----but I think the comments by Oz and Alp really resonate with me------the larger batches seem much easier to regulate the temperatures and ingredients-----the down side being, extra weight and when I do screw up----I'll waste a lot more milk, ingredients and time.
Qdog
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Offline Al Lewis

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Re: Messing with Wheel Math (SA/VOL Ratios)
« Reply #10 on: February 16, 2015, 12:36:52 PM »
Hey qdog1955.  Just noticed where you're at.  I'm originally from Baltimore.  Is York Dragway still open?  Use to love driving up there in the 60s to watch the drags.
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Offline qdog1955

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Re: Messing with Wheel Math (SA/VOL Ratios)
« Reply #11 on: February 17, 2015, 05:09:59 AM »
Al----small world, eh-----unfortunately the Feds shut down U.S. 30 drag way a long time ago---said it was dangerous to use an airport run way for racing :(  We used to sit in the drive in movies, a mile away and could barely hear the movie----what great times.
Qdog
Worrying----is like sitting in a rocking chair---- a lot of motion-----but it gets you no where.

Offline Al Lewis

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Re: Messing with Wheel Math (SA/VOL Ratios)
« Reply #12 on: February 17, 2015, 10:44:30 AM »
Yeah, they use to stop the races so a plane could land. LOL  Beautiful country up that way though.  Great Sunday drives to have dinner at one of the many home cooking restaurants.  As far as the cheese sizes go, I may do a three gallon Edam to fit the mold I have but pretty much anything other than 2 gallon soft cheese makes will be 4+ pounds.  The best Stilton I ever did was 6 pounds and done in two pots.  Getting ready to do an emmentaler, with the help and guidance of Alp, which may well end up at 8 pounds.  Still working on the logistics for that one.  Not sure how much my mold will hold.
« Last Edit: February 17, 2015, 10:50:55 AM by Al Lewis »
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Offline qdog1955

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Re: Messing with Wheel Math (SA/VOL Ratios)
« Reply #13 on: February 17, 2015, 02:55:56 PM »
Looking forward to that , Al-----next on my list and so far have had real good luck with Alpine style----so keep us posted.
Qdog
Worrying----is like sitting in a rocking chair---- a lot of motion-----but it gets you no where.

Offline Al Lewis

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Re: Messing with Wheel Math (SA/VOL Ratios)
« Reply #14 on: February 17, 2015, 05:17:53 PM »
Oh, it will be a production number.  Promise!! LOL O0
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