Author Topic: Brine Salted Cheeses: Brine Concentration  (Read 980 times)

Offline John (CH)

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Brine Salted Cheeses: Brine Concentration
« on: August 25, 2009, 05:48:49 AM »
My last three cheeses (Gouda's and a Havarti) were all Brine Salted cheeses. Most recipes call for using a saturated brine which is easy to make and maintain. Between these cheese makings I stored the brine in our household fridge in a plastic jug with excess salt sitting on bottom to ensure saturated, at least at fridge temperature.

But, last night I was reading "American Farmstead Cheese" and the author says on brine %'s:
  • Most cheese making procedures call for brine concentrations between 18 to 23% (expressed as a weight-to-weight basis, ie 18-23 pounds salt per 100 pounds of brine), or 70 to 88% saturation.
  • Brine with less than 16% salt is never used because the range of microorganisms that can survive and proliferate including spoilage and pathogens increases dramatically. Weak brines are notorious sources of contamination and should be avoided. Weak brines also result in greater moisture content at the cheese surface, resulting in a soft swollen, slimy rind.
  • Brine at greater than 23% increases the risk that moisture will be lost from the cheese surface too quickly, and that this dehydrated layer may impede further uptake of salt to your desired % in cheese.
  • Thus important to prepare brine at the target % and to monitor the % and replace as salt is absorbed and whey is released, both diluting the remaining brine.
  • Saturated brine is around 26% salt at 60F/14C.

This agrees with brine preserved cheeses recipes like Feta, that call for 16% brine for long term storage. But it is different to most brine salting recipes which call for saturated brine.

Therefore, do those recipes call for saturated brine because simpler to make and maintain and should I be using a lower 18-23% brine?