Author Topic: First attempt at cheddar  (Read 1886 times)

Offline Road Rash

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First attempt at cheddar
« on: April 28, 2009, 03:16:30 PM »
Well,this is a tale of both tradgedy and slight triumph.I screwed up,but it seems to have worked in the end.

I got a little excited and forgot to take a pic of my clean break,but here's the curds after I cut them.I didn't have any actual 'cheese coloring' so I used regular 'ol food coloring.I also added some liquid smoke too,to get a nice hickory smoked flavor.Looks kinda canary yellow in the pot,but after I pressed it,it was orange.



Here,I'm warming the curds back up,stirring gently as per the instructions.As you can see on the thermometer,the temp has not quite reached 102 F.



Of course,shortly thereafter,things went awry.It took a while for it to reach the right temp,but almost as soon as it did,it shot up to 125 F which is too hot and,even though I turned the heat down,it refused to budge from 125.I'm not sure what 'matted curds' look like,but I'm almost positive that this is a fine example!>:(



Temp is still holding steady at 125 F,and hardly any curds floating at this point.Still stirring them,though,just to try to keep the matted mess in the smallest chunks possible.Ever hopeful,I soldiered on!



Here's the messy,matted curds draining in the sink.



And here,I've put them in a very sloppy rendition of a cheese press.My carpentry skills obviously leave much to be desired!But at least it works for now,till I can afford a decent store bought press.



After my first pressing,I took the cheese out of the mold to flip it,I was very pleased to see that it actually looked like a small wheel of cheddar cheese in spite of the mess I'd made of the curds!I also got excited again and forgot to take a picture of it before I stuffed it back into the make-shift mold and started the second pressing.This morning when I woke up,I was half asleep when I took the cheese out to flip it again and also forgot to take a pic before putting it back in the press! :-\ Oh well,it looked and smelled right in spite of my determination to screw it up!I started it off in the press with cheese cloth,when I took it out to flip it the second time,I took the cheese cloth off so,hopefully,it will flatten out the top of the cheese.I'll make sure and take a pic of it when I take it out of the press tomorrow!Now I've gotta order some wax so I can wax it after it dries!


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Offline Wayne Harris

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Re: First attempt at cheddar
« Reply #1 on: April 28, 2009, 04:17:17 PM »
I dunno,
You might be better off than you think. 
The 125degF was definately too hot. But the effect there would be to kill off the culture.  Killing the bacteria will result in a low-acid cheese. 

Typically, new cheddar mistakes are the opposite of what you have, in that the acid developement is  uncontrolled and one ends up with an over-ripe cheese that is hard, bitter, sour, and crumbly.

You might end up with an under-ripe cheddar that is somewhat sterile and may never fully develop its flavor or smell.  But the texture might be on target.  Or not.  Its hard to say, and I really don't have the technical cheese chops to predict. 

Linuxboy might be able to.


I would love to see pictures

Wayne A. Harris - in vino veritas

Offline Road Rash

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Re: First attempt at cheddar
« Reply #2 on: April 28, 2009, 04:43:05 PM »
I'll have a pic of it tomorrow.It does smell like smoked cheddar,but of course,I'll have to let it age first to know whether or not it will taste right.

Offline Road Rash

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Re: First attempt at cheddar
« Reply #3 on: April 28, 2009, 04:48:41 PM »
Also,I'd like to get a PH meter,as your posts seem pretty precise with the PH levels and such,and I like your theory of 'if you can control the acidity,you can control the cheese'.But i don't know where to get a PH meter,I also need one of those humidity monitor thingies too,for when I start aging my cheese.

Offline Road Rash

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Re: First attempt at cheddar
« Reply #4 on: April 30, 2009, 06:20:50 PM »
Got a little behind on my cheese pics,but heres a few pics of the finished product:

Here's the new baby fresh from the press and weighing in at 1 lb 1 3/4 oz!





Here it is after one day's drying time!





It has been drying now for 3 days,if it's dry enough I may wax this baby tonight! :D


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Offline Wayne Harris

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Re: First attempt at cheddar
« Reply #5 on: April 30, 2009, 06:26:17 PM »
Looks very nice.  Can see it drying from one picture to the next....
Color looks good too.  How do you plan to age this?
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Offline Road Rash

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Re: First attempt at cheddar
« Reply #6 on: April 30, 2009, 07:01:31 PM »
Well,the recipe that I'm following,which I got here on this site,says that when it's dry to the touch,wax it and stick it in the fridge.That's what I'm planning on,but I'm open to suggestions.

Offline Wayne Harris

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Re: First attempt at cheddar
« Reply #7 on: April 30, 2009, 07:54:45 PM »
That will probably do for your first go at it.
But ideally, you will want to age your cheese in a bit warmer climate.

Around 55 deg. and 80% humidity.

This is a problem i am struggling with too.
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Offline Road Rash

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Re: First attempt at cheddar
« Reply #8 on: April 30, 2009, 08:01:33 PM »
I don't have a humidity thingy to tell what my humidity level is,but will it do ok just waxing and leaving it out?

Offline Road Rash

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Re: First attempt at cheddar
« Reply #9 on: May 01, 2009, 03:03:36 PM »
Here we are,on day 4 of 'Cheddar Watch '09'! It's really starting to look good!Still a bit damp on the bottom,though.Flipped it and sat it back in it's drying spot.Maybe I can wax it tomorrow!



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Offline DeejayDebi

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Re: First attempt at cheddar
« Reply #10 on: May 02, 2009, 12:11:27 AM »
Looks very nice RR. Keep flipping it if you can't suspend the drying rack for air flow. Looks like it's gonna be a nice cheese!

Offline chilipepper

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Re: First attempt at cheddar
« Reply #11 on: May 02, 2009, 08:47:28 AM »
Looks very good!!  Watch out for over-drying.  When mine starts to pull in on the top and bottom like that (sides appear bulged) it is usually only a matter of time until it cracks.  If your relative humidity is low where you are drying it at I would keep a very close eye on it.

Ryan

Offline Rich

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Re: First attempt at cheddar
« Reply #12 on: May 05, 2009, 04:17:27 AM »
Sorry to be chiming in late on this one; but I have a suggestion for the over temp problem at the beginning.  I have personally found that a water bath works much better for controlling temp.  Stove top was too erratic.  With the water bath I can control the applied temp very closely and have had fewer difficulties.

Offline Road Rash

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Re: First attempt at cheddar
« Reply #13 on: May 05, 2009, 04:38:11 PM »
I live in Louisiana,it's pretty humid,but I don't know the specifics as I don't have anything to measure it with at the moment.I waxed it this weekend,but still flipping it every day,I decided not to put it in the fridge.It had a slight bit of mold growing on one of the flat sides,so I cut a very thin slice off to get rid of that before waxing it.I did actually have this in a double boiler,but there wasn't much size difference in the boilers as I don't have a lot of cooking equipment,but I'm working on that.The up shot is that I didn't scorch the milk this time! 8)

Offline Road Rash

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Re: First attempt at cheddar
« Reply #14 on: May 05, 2009, 07:10:48 PM »
Here's some pics I took before I waxed it.



This is the side that had mold on it.I sliced the mold off before I waxed it.



A little pitted inside,but not too bad for a first go around!



I didn't take any pics of it right after I waxed it,because I had some things to do and I forgot about it,but I'll get a couple of new pics tonight when I get home!