Author Topic: question about temperatures during pressing of cheddar  (Read 1008 times)

Offline jillyphish

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question about temperatures during pressing of cheddar
« on: June 01, 2009, 07:18:51 PM »
Hi - I had joined the forum a few months ago and then got sidetracked while getting a cheese press made by a friend in Dallas - I'm in Houston.  So, I am now on my third cheese.  First a simple lactic soft cheese... Second a farmhouse cheddar (that is waxed and in my mini fridge cheese cave resting at a steady 55 degrees F)... This weekend I found a great source for raw milk and make a traditional cheddar.  Everything seems to be going well.  My question is about the best temperature range for the pressing time.  I currently have my set up in my garage.  But as the temperatures rise in Houston - I'm wondering if I need to move my press indoors during the pressing time of the cheese.  My garage is not air conditioned, so it goes the way of the temps outside.  Any suggestions? 

Also - I'm looking for suggestions on more consistent curd cutting methods. My knife and I are making some crazy curds!  Would like to know if there are any tricks out there - or if it is a simple matter of practice, practice, practice!

Thanks!

I'm adding a few pics just for fun... I'm a newbie, but liking it! The all day cheddar was a nice mind break from my typical work day and being a mom of an 11 year old!   Jill


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Offline Wayne Harris

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Re: question about temperatures during pressing of cheddar
« Reply #1 on: June 02, 2009, 06:58:20 AM »
What an interesting press!!!  That is neat!.


The temperature in Houston should not be a problem I would not think. Actually, it should make it easier to attain and hold your target temperature.  It might be less comfy for you however.

You still want to age your cheese at 55-ish deg F depending on what you are making.


From a curd cutting method i would suggest 1 of two things,  I would suggest that you just simply be careful with your cuts, (what I do), or buy/make a real curd knife. I am in the process of making a custom curd knife from Stainless Steel fishing line and flatbar.   But until that is done, I simply use a long knife and be as carefull as I can.  I try and get my cuts to be 3/8th's to 1/2 in apart. 
Yes sometimes I accidentally go outside those margins, but I was never good at coloring in the lines.


Wayne A. Harris - in vino veritas

Offline jillyphish

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Re: question about temperatures during pressing of cheddar
« Reply #2 on: June 02, 2009, 07:17:50 AM »
Thanks for the reply.  The only part that I have done out in the garage is the pressing - and I have been concerned about what temp to try to keep the cheese at while it presses.  The rest of the time has been in the house.  I'll probably press in the house as the temps continue to rise. The garage can be in the 90's and above.

Someone in Dallas made the press for me. I love it!  I bought simple bar bell weights that slip right over the lever and position according to the multiplier I need to get the proper weight... however, I have not really gone through the pressure calculations that some of you have discussed on this forum.  Who knew that those calculations would come in so handy!  LOL

Here's my traditional cheddar that just came off of the press today.  I did not use any food coloring. Fortunately, no one in my family minds it being light or white.  On to the drying stage..

Thanks again for the info...  Jill

Offline DeejayDebi

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Re: question about temperatures during pressing of cheddar
« Reply #3 on: June 02, 2009, 10:59:10 PM »
Nice press and nice looking cheese too!

Offline Wayne Harris

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Re: question about temperatures during pressing of cheddar
« Reply #4 on: June 03, 2009, 05:53:47 AM »
Nice lookin cheese btw.  What I find particularly interesting about your wheel of cheese is this:  Even though you did not add any annatto, your cheese still has a "mottled" look.  I get that too, only more pronounced due the coloring.

That tells me that my mottled appearance is not due to the coloring itself.  Hmm.

Fortunately, most of my wheels of cheddar are not mottled in color deep inside the wheel.  Only on the outside.
Wayne A. Harris - in vino veritas


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Offline jillyphish

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Re: question about temperatures during pressing of cheddar
« Reply #5 on: June 03, 2009, 07:29:00 AM »
I think some of the mottled look is also due to the raw milk which made very "smooth" curds prior to pressing.  After the first "mini press" time of about 15 minutes (which the recipe said to then turn and leave for 12 hours) my cheese was still falling apart and I was concerned that it would not knit together. Even though it did knit with the 12 hour pressing (and more so with the next 24 hours pressing), there are definite lines where the curds were.  Also, I have cut the wheel into quarters to dry so I can wax each 1/4 separately (allowing me to taste them in difference months in the future - I'm thinking 3, 6, 9 and 12 months just to see.  I need to make some more so that I have a bigger "pipeline" of cheese in the future. I'm finding that as a beginner cheesemaker, I am doing quite a bit of work... crossing my fingers that it will taste ok... and then waiting. I'll be glad when there is a better supply ready to eat. 

Any recommendations for a "quicker" cheese to eat in the meantime?  I am using raw milk, so I assume that I would need to pasteurize the milk for a cheese that is to be consumed sooner.  Always looking for suggestions.  I am limited to about 4 gallons or less right now based on equipment.

My partner brews beer - so we sort of alternate weekend projects of beer and cheese!  what a combo!  we have a kegerator and a mini cheese cave (see pic)

Offline DeejayDebi

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Re: question about temperatures during pressing of cheddar
« Reply #6 on: June 04, 2009, 12:25:52 PM »
Hey great keggerator! I brew beer also although lately not so much. I can only concentrate on a few hobbies at a time and right now it's cheese and smoked meats.