Author Topic: Havarti  (Read 895 times)

Offline Zoey

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Havarti
« on: September 03, 2009, 05:48:02 AM »

Ok, so I decided to try the havarti yesterday. I had a batch of 8 liters 3,5% fat milk, 4 dl of full cream, and a hand measured amount of buttermilk as the starter, all together a little less than 9 liters, I suppose.

Well anyway, as I went on with my recipe, it seemed clear to me that the curds didn't form as well as with my previous gouda makings. The curds stayed softer, uneaven, with a lot of little hazy ricotta-like curds in between of the larger ones. Well, I went on since I didn't know if it's just part of the making of havarti-type cheese.

My recipe came from John's post http://cheeseforum.org/forum/index.php/topic,1873.0.html.

Sticked to Debi's version until the salting, which I screwed up by adding too much (calculation mistake since had to convert cup -> dl and change batch size).

Pressed, pressed an pressed. The cheese seemed too soft so I pressed it overnight, to a total of 10 hours using Debi's pressing weight of  1½ times cheese weight.

Since I already added too much salt, and Danlac's and Debra's recipes suggested that brining is optional, I'm now hesitating whether to brine it or not.

ATM it is air drying without brining.

Suggestions on what to do now? My cheese is pretty soft, as you can see from the pics (taken half an hour after pressing). The second picture shows the situation after the cheese has lied on the square plastic mat for 10 minutes: see how the soft cheese gets sharp marks from lying against the mat, even the mat edges are not sharp. This was the best way I could thought of, to show you people how soft it really is.

Am I completely off track here?





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Offline Ziggy

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Re: Havarti
« Reply #1 on: September 03, 2009, 12:37:45 PM »
I will agree that this looks far to soft for havarti. It looks like it is more the consistentie of my camemberts.

 I'm no an expert but would suspect either bad milk or bad (old or not enough) rennet. Sorry to see this but all of us (I suspect) have had our share of failures (I know I have).  You may want to test your rennet strength.

Better luck on your next try.
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Offline DeejayDebi

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Re: Havarti
« Reply #2 on: September 03, 2009, 06:23:01 PM »
All is not lost Zoey!

First I would find a little corner and taste the cheese before I'd consider brining. It may be salty to salty already. If it is I wouldn't brine it. If you think it can take more a bit more salt give it a shorter brine time maybe 1 hour. It'll help firm it up some as it looses more whey.

I press my cheeses for 10, 12 up to 24 hours sometimes - depends on how it looks and when I wake up. Sometimes it takes 2 cups of coffee to wake up.

IMHO - No cheese that is eddible is a failure! It may not be on your top 10  list but not a failure! Just take what you got and figure out what to do with it.

Offline FRANCOIS

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Re: Havarti
« Reply #3 on: September 03, 2009, 06:34:45 PM »
I see you list full cream in your ingredients.  Did you add extra cream to the havarti recipe, possibly in an effort to make creamy havarti?  Be careful when salting/brining cheese with excess fat.  The cream makes the cheese soak up a considerable amount of salt.  In contrast if you accidently leave a wheel of any regular fat cheese in brine, the most it will suck up is 2% at most.  A cheese with cream added can soak up much, much more. 

You cheese looks quite soft.  What was your floculation and total set time before cutting?  Did the curd setup like concrete or did it fracture very easily when stirred?

Offline Zoey

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Re: Havarti
« Reply #4 on: September 04, 2009, 02:28:14 AM »

Thanks for all the replies.

I tasted the cheese today, since one part of the "character" broke off when I was turning the cheese (not fault of cheese texture, but my own accident). It tasted surprisingly little salty, so I could add some more. Of course now the cheese is already a bit old, so I wonder how the time between pressing and brining would affect the result. Well, maybe brine it just a little bit.

It tasted good, actually it already tasted pretty much the way I was hoping for the end product to taste. So I'd like it to age for about a month for the texture to develop and dry it out a bit (by brining then, I suppose).

Actually, after accidentally breaking + tasting, I don't feel like it as loss at all.

siegfriedw, I was actually thinking about adding some white or blue into it when I noticed the texture. So maybe it would've made a fine camembert. I think my milk and rennet were fine though, since the rennet worked fine just a few days before, and it should have 2 years before the expiration date left. The milk was fresh from the store, pasteurized. Never had any bad milk from the stores.

Debi, thanks for the supportive attitude. :) I'm sure this will turn out fine, just the steps are different than I thought. Somehow it hasn't gone to my brain earlier that brining expells moisture from the cheese. I feel stupid, since that seems obvious if thinking about the chemistry.

Francois, you guessed right, I was going for creamy havarti, and that's why I added the cream. Although, at least in Finland the average raw milk fat percentage is around 4,2 and my milk is 3,5 (the highest fat rate commercially available), so I shouldn't be much above the raw milk ratio.

Actually a question just popped into my mind about whether "whole milk" means the same fat percentage everywhere... different pastures, etc.

The time between adding rennet and cutting the curds was about 30 minutes. I thought I got a pretty good clean break. The milk+cream seemed to coagulate a bit differently if compared to just milk, though. I wonder if that interfered with my perception of the seemingly clean break.

And no, it did not setup like concrete (not all of it). A part of the curds stayed in an easily fracturing form, where you could still see the square form of the original cut sides. I tried to cook the curds to firm them up, but at the end they were still pretty soft and since it was a new recipe for me, I coudn't know if that was desirable or not.


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Offline Zoey

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Re: Havarti
« Reply #5 on: September 04, 2009, 06:42:07 AM »

I was thinking about how to cover this cheese after brining. Would it be a crazy idea to vacuum-like pack it (DeejayDebi tipped me about sucking out air out of a normal plastic bag to create a vacuum like environment) without drying it out first?

I was thinking, I could get all the air out of a plastic bag if I put the cheese with some brine in the bag right after brining, then tighten the bag, letting brine flow out of it, until I have very little liquid left around the cheese, then tighten it carefully so that no air can get in.

This would probably protect the cheese better than a version with even a little bit of air in it, right?

Am I trying something too weird here?

Offline DeejayDebi

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Re: Havarti
« Reply #6 on: September 04, 2009, 11:56:29 PM »
I don't think the brine with a havarti would work to well bt wh knows until you try. WHen I suggested sucking the air out and leaving some air I meant not to suck so much out that it deforms or squashes the cheese.

Havarti is fairly soft. I have actually had it flatten some by sealing it right out of the brine and taking out to much air from the bag in the vacuum sealer.