Author Topic: First Manchego or Hispanico, very nice but too hard...  (Read 193 times)

Offline artmustel

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First Manchego or Hispanico, very nice but too hard...
« on: July 17, 2017, 10:58:45 AM »
I am pretty new to cheesemaking, this is my first experience with other that Queso Fresco. I liked the idea of "Manchego Type", so I tried one of the recipes around that asks for meso, thermo, lipase, etc. I dried the cheese and after some days I covered it on olive oil with paprika. Let it ripen at 55 degrees for a month and opened it. Wow, the flavor is awesome but what I don't care much about my cheese is how hard it is, I would say almost like a cheese for grating. My recipe asked for 3 consecutive presses at 15 pounds for 15 minutes each, and one final press at 30 pounds for 6 hours, then brinning it for 12 hours.

Now, my question since I love its flavor and want to make it again...what would you do if you wanted to get this kind of cheese less hard? Is it about pressing times (for instance, if I reduced the final press to lets say 4 hours and only 20 pounds?) Or there is another trick or technique that I can use to get it the way I'd like? Or, I am just wasting my time because this cheese is supposed to be hard? (I've never tried Manchego before lol)

I used 2 gallons of full cream milk, pasteurized and homogeneized (All I have access to) and of course calcium chloride. The chese, after 1 month, weighted 1.8 lbs.

Thanks in anticipation for your advices!

Offline smcaro

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Re: First Manchego or Hispanico, very nice but too hard...
« Reply #1 on: July 17, 2017, 01:59:24 PM »
What was the RH environment. That could be a factor in the cheese drying up and becoming essentially all rind. It happened to me all the time with small, 2 gallon batches, until I started vac packing it after the oiling phase...

Offline artmustel

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Re: First Manchego or Hispanico, very nice but too hard...
« Reply #2 on: July 17, 2017, 02:43:13 PM »
I am unsure about RH...I have an small fridge that I retrofitted with a wilhi temperature controller. Temperature is stable at 55-56 fahrenheit however since I don't have anything to control or show humidity level, I just keep 2 yogurt containers filled with water inside the mini fridge. I have the fridge in the lower setting so it drips water from the freezer (it does not make ice), I think it is pretty humid inside. Also, I don't think it has become "all rind", rind is just an outside layer like 2mm thick. But you gave me a good hint, probably I should try to double my next batch. Thanks!

Offline awakephd

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Re: First Manchego or Hispanico, very nice but too hard...
« Reply #3 on: July 17, 2017, 03:00:34 PM »
Pressing time and weight have very little effect on the hardness of the cheese; much more important will be the amount moisture and fat retained in the curds. Moisture (and to some extent fat) is primarily a function of the way the curds are treated. Long flocculation time (rennet time) will increase the moisture level; cutting the curds smaller, stirring more / longer, and/or cooking to higher temperatures will all tend towards decreasing the moisture level. Obviously, milk with less fat in it to begin with will produce lower fat cheese; a cheese made from skim or low fat milk will generally have a harder texture than a cheese made form high-fat milk.

Note one other important factor - the pH level. This will not so much affect the hardness of the cheese, but it will affect how crumbly it turns out. This is where the length of time in the press can be a significant factor - more time in the press allows the bacteria to lower the pH further. But the actual pH reached depends greatly on the culture used, the temperature of the room, even the amount of whey retained - so it is hard to get consistent results just going by time; this is where a pH meter is an investment worth considering. That said, there are some on this forum who have developed the knack for making excellent and consistent cheese without ever using a pH meter, so YMMV. :)
-- Andy

Offline artmustel

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Re: First Manchego or Hispanico, very nice but too hard...
« Reply #4 on: July 17, 2017, 03:15:26 PM »
Great tips Andy, thank you very much for helping. Probably is just me and this kind of cheese is supposed to be hard (I would prefer it semi-hard, kinda gouda), but since I never had Manchego before I couldn't tell if it is ok or too hard (would prefer it a bit softer though) Anyway, flavor is awesome, I am very pleased with this Hispanic cheese.  :D