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, but no guideline on brining temperature. For the first one I waited for the fresh saturated brine to cool to my current room temperature (78F/25.6C as set by AC here in Houston), after which I stored saturated (excess salt still on bottom) brine in household fridge in plastic jug. For second and third cheeses I used fridge cold brine but left the brining cheese on countertop, so warmed quickly to room temperature.
Last night I was reading "American Farmstead Cheese
" and the author says on brine temperatures:
- Ideally, the brine temperature should remain constant and for most cheeses should fall between 50-60F/10-14C.
- Increased brine temperatures result in 1) a increase in salt uptake and larger increase in cheese moisture loss and 2) a larger range of microorganisms, including spoilage and pathogens, being able to survive and proliferate.
- Lower brine temperatures are problematic for rinded cheeses because less moisture is lost from the surface of the cheese, making it difficult to develop a suitable rind. Unripened pasta-filata cheeses (ie mozzarella) are an exception to this rule, as cold brining them is essential to achieve rapid cooling and avoid excessive moisture loss.
So in future, I am going to store my brine in my cheese cave and brine my cheeses in my cheese cave rather than on warm kitchen counter top.