Author Topic: Dry cheese question  (Read 1736 times)

Offline MrsKK

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Dry cheese question
« on: July 14, 2009, 07:02:11 AM »
My cheddar and Derby cheeses seem to end up really dry.  They tend to crumble apart when I cut them and the curd doesn't knit very tightly, though it does hold together well when I take it out of the press.

Am I cooking the curd too long?  Any thoughts would be appreciated!


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Offline Wayne Harris

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Re: Dry cheese question
« Reply #1 on: July 14, 2009, 10:48:30 AM »
Off hand, this sounds like a classic over acidification problem with your cheesemilk. You might have cheese that is too acidic.

IF you can measure the pH of your cheese now, that will confirm.  Your cheese should be in the pH4.7 to pH5.2 range.  if it is lower than that, you are too acidic.

(I think that is a valid range, i will verify a bit later as I am at work right now.)
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Offline MrsKK

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Re: Dry cheese question
« Reply #2 on: July 14, 2009, 09:27:20 PM »
I don't have a pH meter.

So, what stops cheese from becoming more acidic?

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Re: Dry cheese question
« Reply #3 on: July 14, 2009, 10:24:18 PM »
I don't have a pH meter.

So, what stops cheese from becoming more acidic?

Low temp and salt. You want to slow the action of the bacteria, and then kill it off to start proteolysis.
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Offline marianstock

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Re: Dry cheese question
« Reply #4 on: July 15, 2009, 04:49:59 AM »
is there a way of testing the ph of cheese that has already been pressed?


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Offline MrsKK

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Re: Dry cheese question
« Reply #5 on: July 15, 2009, 06:06:26 AM »
wow, Linux, you'll have to tone it down for this country gal!  What is proteolysis?

Thanks!

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Re: Dry cheese question
« Reply #6 on: July 15, 2009, 11:23:56 AM »
Woops, sorry. Too much cheese book reading :). So after the bacteria do their thing and bring down the pH, they run out of food or can't live properly because of salt and/or the lower temperature. Over the weeks, they start dying off. When they die off, their cells break apart. Inside those cells are enzymes (called proteases), and the enzymes start working on breaking up proteins and producing a bunch of other stuff (like smaller proteins, amino acids) that give cheeses their flavor and aroma. That entire process of breaking down proteins is called proteolysis.

So long as bacteria have a happy environment, they'll keep making acid. Bacteria do not like salt, and like a range of warm temperatures, depending on if it's meso or thermophilic. For example, for cheddar, after you salt the milled curd, the acid development doesn't stop entirely, but pretty close. It's enough to press and keep the pressed cheese at room temp without worrying that the acid will keep developing.

marianstock, to answer your question, a few ways exist for measuring pressed cheese pH. You can cut off a piece and put your pH probe directly to it. Or you can take a piece, puree it with reverse osmosis or distilled water that has a pH of 7, and then measure the pH of the puree.
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Re: Dry cheese question
« Reply #7 on: July 15, 2009, 11:29:27 AM »
Here's a quick trick if you don't have a pH meter for knowing when to stop cheddaring: stop when the melted curd stretches. Take a piece of the curd and nuke it in the microwave for 5-10 secs, then pull on one end and see if it will stretch. It's similar to testing for spin when making mozzarella. Cheese starts to spin somewhere around pH 5.3, and that's a good point to mill and salt cheddar.
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Offline MrsKK

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Re: Dry cheese question
« Reply #8 on: July 16, 2009, 06:45:26 AM »
Thank you for the education, Linux!  I have to admit that I'm not as scientific about my cheesemaking as many of you are, but by hanging out here I'm learning so much and hopefully improving my cheese making.

Thanks for the quick trick!  I will definitely try that next time I make cheddar.  I think it would work well for Derby, too.

Offline DeejayDebi

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Re: Dry cheese question
« Reply #9 on: July 16, 2009, 10:28:10 PM »
Never tried that with cheedar only pasta fileta cheeses.


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Offline Wayne Harris

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Re: Dry cheese question
« Reply #10 on: July 17, 2009, 06:14:44 AM »
I don't now about the rest of you, but I am continually impressed with Linux-boys knowlege.

Linuxboy, What cheese books do you read?
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Offline MrsKK

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Re: Dry cheese question
« Reply #11 on: July 17, 2009, 08:50:28 PM »
Maybe he doesn't need to read the books - he may have come pre-installed with that computer chip!

Offline Wayne Harris

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Re: Dry cheese question
« Reply #12 on: July 17, 2009, 08:52:41 PM »
a computer chip  lol

running Windows?


LOL
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Offline DeejayDebi

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Re: Dry cheese question
« Reply #13 on: July 17, 2009, 09:48:18 PM »
I don't now about the rest of you, but I am continually impressed with Linux-boys knowlege.

Linuxboy, What cheese books do you read?

His technical expertise is amazing! Always ahs some obscur bit of knowledeg that your never read anywhere that just put the icing on the cake! Well done!

Offline MrsKK

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Re: Dry cheese question
« Reply #14 on: July 18, 2009, 05:47:27 AM »
When I was in my early thirties, I took my first computer class.  Within 6 years, I was involved in programming the new system for the hospital I worked for and teaching nurses how to use the program.  I had to learn it the hard way, though, it seemed, whereas my kids just picked up a mouse and tapped a keyboard and were zooming along.

I always said that they were born with computer chips, while I had to reprogram my brain...