Author Topic: Adding sugar to a cheese that will be aged  (Read 543 times)

Offline DoctorCheese

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Adding sugar to a cheese that will be aged
« on: May 15, 2017, 03:39:43 PM »
I want to make a raspberry flavored cheese that will be hopefully sweet. I want to add sugar to it and have it still be OK to age. From reading posts from 2010 I saw linuxboy talk about the bacteria building their capsules out of the sugar or some such and that process then messes up the cheese.

If I were to add the sugar AFTER I milled salt in to the cheese curds and prior to pressing, do you think it would turn out well? Does anyone have experience with putting sugar in to a cheese? I plan to add crushed up freeze dried raspberries to the curd before pressing, which will obviously have sugar as part of the fruit, so there will be some added sugar regardless. Any thoughts appreciated.

I would plan to age the cheese for maybe 1 or 2 months at most.

I should add in that I was planning to do a hot water washed curd cheese.
I am a cheese loving college student headed towards a PhD in Neuroscience working with what I have to produce some yummy morsels. Advice is always welcome!

Offline Duntov

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Re: Adding sugar to a cheese that will be aged
« Reply #1 on: May 15, 2017, 04:05:45 PM »
The only sweet cheeses I have ever heard of were actually just low salt cheeses.  I maybe wrong but I think your creative juices may have hit a wall.  Most cheeses pair nicely with jams.  Perhaps a raspberry preserve?  Or use dried fruits in the cheese.

In the past I tried some exotic cheeses but came to the resolution that most cheeses were best kept simple with far less likelihood of failure.  One can also present various accompaniments on their cheese board.  Just my 2 cents.

Perhaps a Mad Cheese Scientist could offer some advice on chemistry.  Where are you Sailor?
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Re: Adding sugar to a cheese that will be aged
« Reply #2 on: May 15, 2017, 05:12:43 PM »
Lactose IS a sugar, so you can add sugary fruits in reasonable quantities. The bacteria will convert the sugar to lactic acid the same way (sort of) that they do the lactose. So the sweetness will disappear, just like alcohol disappears when using it as a cooking ingredient. If you use too much sugar and you have any yeast contamination, you can end up with a fermented cheese. Sweet wines are often made by fermenting up to a certain residual sugar level and then adding Camden tablets or another preservative to stop fermentation. Un-fermented grape juice may also be added after the Camden tablets. The same strategy can be used to produce a "sweet" cheese depending on what type of cheese you are using for a base.

Commercially cheeses like this can be produced as a "re-purposed" cheese. Make a cheese and let it age for 90 days or more (lactose is gone & bacteria die), shred the cheese, add your secondary ingredients, and repress. (Most home presses are not up to this). Preservatives may also be used. Lots of cheeses are actually made this way. A good example is any cheese containing meat like salami or pepperoni. Most inspectors will not allow meat anywhere near milk or un-aged cheeses. Of course there are exceptions, like mozzarella/pepperoni rolls. But, because of the meat, that is a product that has to be made in a certified commercial kitchen, NOT in a cheese making environment.

The label is your clue that a cheese is "re-purposed". The ingredients will always include something like "aged cheddar" instead of just milk.
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Online 5ittingduck

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Re: Adding sugar to a cheese that will be aged
« Reply #3 on: May 15, 2017, 05:36:48 PM »
I have some sweet experiments planned and a couple underway. I have avoided using sugars in the initial forming process (although i did add honey and ginger to one, not expecting the sweetness to survive but hoping the flavour would ).
I have used a sweet brine for a chilli gouda (hoping the salt would stop the bacteria and osmosis would also drag in some sugar).
I have a plan for a fruit lattice cheese, using an apple and blueberry fruit leather laid in the curds in interlaced strips. The logic is that the strips are thick enough to resist the cheese bacteria penetrating all the way through and consuming all the fruit sugars.
If this is unsuccessful, i have further plans for a super tough jam with high pectin content which i can drop into ice water and form globes of fruit, which may be big enough to preserve some internal sweetness.
Further ideas of gelatin capsules and calcium chemical encapsulation.... mumble mumble....

Online 5ittingduck

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Re: Adding sugar to a cheese that will be aged
« Reply #4 on: May 15, 2017, 08:09:40 PM »
OK, now you have me thinking. (Always a dangerous thing).
I have pulled the two cheeses I spoke of above and tested them.

Chilli Gouda in salt and sweet brine: External appearance is conventional, as is texture.  Smell is as usual, no off notes or recognizable difference from a standard recipe.
Internally good with my usual small mechanical holes, colour is even throughout and distribution of the chilli is even, looks about the right amount for the recipe (1 Tbsp in 10 litres, 2 cheeses).
Taste is conventional, no sweetness. No up front chilli but a nice long delicate afterburn.  The chilli part of the cheese is a success, the sugar brine has no noticeable impact on taste or development.

Honey and Ginger Gouda:  Externally conventional, scraps of crystalised ginger have a nice appearance. Smell is pleasant and as expected.  No detectable honey notes. This cheese is only 3 months old and has a slight colour differential between outside and inside (paler inside).  I have small eyes! Using raw milk this isn't totally unexpected, but it's the first time I have seen eye development.  The Ginger pieces drop out of the cut cheese and are quite damp.  They are quite salty and have lost any residual sweetness.  Cheese texture is slightly more brittle that my usual gouda, a little more crumbly, but this is a late season cheese and they tend to loose my favoured smooth texture later in the season. There is a little frisson of ginger in the body of the cheese, but it is subtle.  I can't detect any honey flavours, and there is no residual sweetness. Someone with a more refined palate may be able to detect this.  The ginger part of this cheese is a success, the honey is due for further experimentation.  I suspect any sugars will be consumed by something in the cheese, but I have a range of much tastier honeys which would impart a lot more flavour and aroma (leatherwood would be a prime candidate).  The eye development is interesting and I might chase that later.

So, sweet aged cheeses?  My bet is "unlikely to happen".

Offline DoctorCheese

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Re: Adding sugar to a cheese that will be aged
« Reply #5 on: May 15, 2017, 08:29:36 PM »
I found this cheese at a local Safeway. They will be hearing from me with some questions shortly!
I am a cheese loving college student headed towards a PhD in Neuroscience working with what I have to produce some yummy morsels. Advice is always welcome!

Offline Gregore

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Re: Adding sugar to a cheese that will be aged
« Reply #6 on: May 15, 2017, 11:08:46 PM »
I think your answer is right there on the label ...... sailor said that the ingredients would list the "type"  of cheese as an ingredient.

Thus Wensleydale as the first one.

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Re: Adding sugar to a cheese that will be aged
« Reply #7 on: May 16, 2017, 09:55:30 AM »
That label is not "assuming", it is spot on correct and exactly what I was talking about. This is a re-purposed cheese using Wensleydale as a base. Notice how they put the "ingredients" for the cheese in parenthesis right after Wensleydale. That is proper labeling because those "ingredients" are not actually used directly in making the finished product.
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Offline DoctorCheese

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Re: Adding sugar to a cheese that will be aged
« Reply #8 on: May 16, 2017, 10:43:24 AM »
"Thank you for your enquiry, the Blueberries are added towards the end of the
cheese making so they don’t break down and turn the cheese pink."
This is the reply the company gave me. When I asked for further elaboration, they got real tight lipped. I am glad we have knowledgeable people on this forum to answer the hard hitting questions. Thanks Sailor, John, and Gregor for your help!

I will be doing the make in a week or so. Probably not adding sugar. Maybe some honey on the cheese once it's done :)
I am a cheese loving college student headed towards a PhD in Neuroscience working with what I have to produce some yummy morsels. Advice is always welcome!

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Re: Adding sugar to a cheese that will be aged
« Reply #9 on: May 16, 2017, 02:40:29 PM »
Of course they were tight lipped. A manufacturer is not going to tell you their trade secrets (and it's kinda rude to ask  ;) ). There is nothing wrong with making re-purposed cheeses. It's not a "sell out" or ethical compromise. Just a different approach to using ingredients that might otherwise be difficult to work with.

Consider this. When making yogurt, you can add fruit in the beginning as the milk is acidifying and coagulating, or you can add the fruit at the end after the yogurt has set. If you add it afterwards, the fruit will be sweeter and fresher tasting.
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Re: Adding sugar to a cheese that will be aged
« Reply #10 on: May 16, 2017, 02:49:53 PM »
Surface coatings are an entirely different matter. Age a cheese and then marinate or coat it with whatever you want, within reason. For example, take a whole wheel of aged cheddar and dip it in dark chocolate if that's a flavor profile that you are looking for. I produce a cheese called Blackberry Serenade, a 90 day old Gruyere that is marinated in a sweet blackberry wine for several days. The rind gets a stunning purple color with the flavor of the wine. I would never consider adding the wine to the base cheese before aging. Too many unpredictable technical problems.
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Offline DoctorCheese

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Re: Adding sugar to a cheese that will be aged
« Reply #11 on: May 16, 2017, 03:03:42 PM »
It's not much of a trade "secret" if someone could guess how it's done in 2 tries. Either they add it before, or they add it after. I think being tight lipped is an unnessesary precaution. It's a sad world indeed where having an inquisitive mind is perceived as rude.

I really like your yogurt example. The sugar/sweetness' relationship to when the berries are added makes sense now. Thank you for your help Sailor. I will be doing a wine brine as well, so that additional information was helpful too.
I am a cheese loving college student headed towards a PhD in Neuroscience working with what I have to produce some yummy morsels. Advice is always welcome!

Offline Kern

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Re: Adding sugar to a cheese that will be aged
« Reply #12 on: May 20, 2017, 05:45:03 PM »
It's not much of a trade "secret" if someone could guess how it's done in 2 tries. Either they add it before, or they add it after. I think being tight lipped is an unnessesary precaution. It's a sad world indeed where having an inquisitive mind is perceived as rude.

Of course it is still a trade secret if one is only 50% certain one has guessed correctly.  If it is not then how many possibilities have to exist before it becomes a trade secret?  Four, ten, a hundred?  There is nothing wrong with an inquisitive mind.  In fact, I commend you for having one as it is not rude to have one.  Rudeness can perceived to exist whenever you ask a question that you are not entitled to have an answer to.  A good rule to follow is this:  Engage manners before an inquisitive mind puts a mouth in gear.

Offline Duntov

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Re: Adding sugar to a cheese that will be aged
« Reply #13 on: May 21, 2017, 04:41:05 PM »
Nothing wrong with asking questions as-long-as it is done in a diplomatic manner.  Of course there are exceptions like asking a woman her age or weight.  lol

In this case if you preface the question to the supplier as to who you are, what you are doing and why, they would be more likely to give a response.  Also include that if it is a 'trade secret' you would understand not replying.  But also they may just be too busy to do so.
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Offline Schnecken Slayer

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Re: Adding sugar to a cheese that will be aged
« Reply #14 on: May 22, 2017, 12:58:03 AM »
Have you considered adding something like Xylitol to the cheese for sweetness. It looks and tastes like sugar but is 40% less calories and, not being a fermentable sugar, it should be ok.
« Last Edit: May 22, 2017, 01:10:53 AM by Schnecken Slayer »
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