Author Topic: Farmhouse Cheddar Drying  (Read 6591 times)

Offline Jim & Rose

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Farmhouse Cheddar Drying
« on: October 23, 2009, 08:26:32 AM »
Hi,

We attempted our first cheese beyond mozz and ricotta on Monday the 19th.  We used 3 gallons of raw cow milk.  Here is what it looked like:

The process we're following says to flip this every 12 hours for 1-3 days until we see a yellowish tint and feels dry to the touch, then wash with saltwater, wax and age. 

It really doesn't seem dry to the touch yet and we are just now beginning to see some yellowish tint on the edge, do we continue to wait?  I'm unsure of the humidity but the temp is around 68f.


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Offline Baby Chee

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Re: Farmhouse Cheddar Drying
« Reply #1 on: October 23, 2009, 08:31:38 AM »
Wait.

Let it dry out or the water will get under the wax and create troubles.  Sailor Con Queso will probably come along soon and discuss pressing pressures with you.  Your cheese was made with the same mold I used for mine 2 weeks ago (my 14th cheese, first cheddar).  If you still have a lot of moisture in the cheese, you might have needed more weight on press: I began at 50lbs., upped to 70lbs., pressed for over 48 hours to get whey out, but was told I needed well over 150 lbs. on the mold if I wanted the prescribed 24 hour press.

I also dried mine for a full week before waxing, letting the outside dry nicely.  We'll see what comes out of it in....oooohh.... 3 more months, perhaps 6 or 10 months.
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Offline Jim & Rose

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Re: Farmhouse Cheddar Drying
« Reply #2 on: October 23, 2009, 08:41:41 AM »
WOW.  Thanks for the reply.  This is far different than the process we used.  We pressed with 4lbs for 15 minutes then with 8lbs for 12 hours.  The pic is just after the 12 hour pressing.


Offline Sailor Con Queso

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Re: Farmhouse Cheddar Drying
« Reply #3 on: October 23, 2009, 10:03:06 AM »
Baby Chee is dead on. ::) No, I'm not going to start the PSI debate again, but you pressed way to light. 8 pounds on a wheel that size is nothing. However, I can see dimple marks from the mold. I would not expect that from an 8 pound pressing. Did you use cheesecloth? It is very important, especially on a cheddar, to press hard enough. Oherwise you will end up with a lot of whey left in the cheese that will become acidic and sour your cheese.

Did you salt the curds before pressing?
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Offline Jim & Rose

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Re: Farmhouse Cheddar Drying
« Reply #4 on: October 23, 2009, 10:12:26 AM »
We salted (3 tbsps) the curds and hand mixed them prior to putting them into the mold.  The mold was lined with cheesecloth, salted curds added, 4lbs of weight for 15 minutes, flipped the wheel and returned to cheesecloth lined press and put 8lbs on it for 12-15 hours.  Then we removed the wheel and put it on a bamboo mat and covered with cheesecloth. 


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Offline FarmerJD

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Re: Farmhouse Cheddar Drying
« Reply #5 on: October 23, 2009, 11:06:59 AM »
Great looking cheese! I just love seeing a cheese fresh out of the press. My kids stand around laughing at my obsession sometimes.

I am coming to the conclusion that the type of cloth material you use to press in has a lot to do with drying time. I have recently used a fine material almost like good sheet material and the cheese comes out very slick to the touch and it drys very fast even in high humidity. The coarser cloth makes the surface rougher and it takes longer. In any case, dry time is always unpredictable and you just have to go by touch most of the time.

The pressing issue is important. if you just used a one gallon recipe and multiplied the ingredients by 3 then remember that the weight given assumed a certain size hoop appropriate for that amount of curd.

Also did you use the stirred curd method of cheddaring? If so, I do not believe you have to press it as hard as normal cheddaring because the curds always seem drier in normal cheddaring and it is harder to get them to knit therefore more pressure is needed. This may not be right but it is certainly my experience. I am not convinced that the pressure is related to surface drying time though. I believe it is more about knitting and whey expulsion internally. (Someone correct me if wrong) But you do need more pressure I believe dependant on the size of your hoop...

I just noticed that sailor entered the discussion and refrained himself mightily from debating psi. Unbelievable! I laughed out loud reading the bantering between you two in the other thread (babychee and sailor). As far as pressure goes, you  know where I stand: More is better in cheddar! It was hard to keep from entering the fray. I wanted to post this pic when debi mentioned just using a rock. john linked it the other day for me. This was a guy after my own heart. No pulleys levers or pistons just place a rock on the follower! ;D

Offline Sailor Con Queso

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Re: Farmhouse Cheddar Drying
« Reply #6 on: October 23, 2009, 11:20:24 AM »
John,

I laughed so hard I thought I was going to pass out. Made my day.

Any guess on the weight of that puppy? Definitely more than 30 pounds. :D

BTW - I give up on explaining PSI. I won't go down that road again.
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Offline FarmerJD

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Re: Farmhouse Cheddar Drying
« Reply #7 on: October 23, 2009, 11:44:52 AM »
One cubic yard of concrete weighs 3,915 lbs. the rock appeared to be about 3x4x4 ft which is 48 cubic feet or 1.78 cubic yards. Therefore the rock probably weighs 6968 lbs. Dividing this by the area of the hoop which appears to me about 18-20 inches in diameter (could be wrong here, might even be smaller- i am using 20 for the math), you get 22 psi. An 18 in hoop would produce 27 psi. I think they knew what they were doing. I would love to have this in my yard. :) It kind of helps you visualize the real pressure those little double levers are producing.

Offline Baby Chee

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Re: Farmhouse Cheddar Drying
« Reply #8 on: October 23, 2009, 04:27:59 PM »
They probably had more than one cheese under there.  Coulda stacked 20 or more molds up under that rock.  If not, that's a LOT of hassle for one cheese a day.

Jim & Rose: that mold works great with Gouda @ 50 lbs. for 12 hours.  I love my gouda cheeses done in there.  Cheddar needs far more pressure, being a far denser cheese.  There was a discussion about the factor of time into the equation, and it seems to have worked for me: more time with less weight.  You should get a lot more weight on your cheddar, though; time alone might not help 8 lbs of weight.
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Offline FarmerJD

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Re: Farmhouse Cheddar Drying
« Reply #9 on: October 23, 2009, 05:08:39 PM »
I figured the number of 12 inches cheeses at about 12 (3 along one side and 4 along on the other). Using these numbers you still get over 5 psi which means over 500 lbs per hoop of 12 inch cheese. If you stacked them (it looks like three high wouldn't be a stretch) and only put 6 cheeses per layer you would have 18 cheeses and still have 10 psi or 1000 lbs per cheese. The most you could get stacking 3 high and still maintain 20 psi (which is my goal for cheddar) would be 9 cheeses 12 inches in diameter.  :)

Jim and Rose, sorry I sort of hijacked the thread. We are just having a little fun with the pressing issue. Babychee mentioned several threads discussing this and here is one http://cheeseforum.org/forum/index.php/topic,2245.0.html and here is another http://cheeseforum.org/forum/index.php/topic,2310.0.html of the recent ones. I haven't been here long so I am sure there are other ones possibly more informative but in one of these I think someone (sailor or debi) attached a chart for calculating your psi for certain hoop sizes. If you want to discuss it further or if any of this didn't make sense don't hesitate to ask. Good luck with your cheddar and be sure to keep us updated on how it turns out.


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Offline DeejayDebi

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Re: Farmhouse Cheddar Drying
« Reply #10 on: October 23, 2009, 10:31:19 PM »
The cheese looks lovely. Cheese cloth does seem to hold the moisture in for some reason. Let it dry - time is hard to judge sometimes. Just feel it.

Somehow I am getting credit for using rock to press cheese. What I said was I saw a post of an artisan cheese maker that posted a recipe stating he placed a big rock on his cheese. I didn't do it. I use mostly milk jugs filled with whey and #10 cans of tomatoes!

I do agree that cheddar requires more pressure than most cheese but my point was that not all cheeses require ton of weight - like muester.

That is not a rock that looks like a counterweight for something really big!

Offline FarmerJD

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Re: Farmhouse Cheddar Drying
« Reply #11 on: October 23, 2009, 10:36:48 PM »
Just having a little fun at your expense. ;D I couldn't resist and you seem pretty good natured.

Offline DeejayDebi

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Re: Farmhouse Cheddar Drying
« Reply #12 on: October 23, 2009, 10:41:40 PM »
I think it was a swiss maker not an Italian cheese maker!  :D

Offline Jim & Rose

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Re: Farmhouse Cheddar Drying
« Reply #13 on: October 24, 2009, 10:09:00 AM »
I think I may have a terminology problem.   

I went back to the recipe and verified that for farmhouse cheddar, I used the amount of pressing weight that the recipe calls for. 

The traditional cheddar recipe in the same booklet calls for a slightly different process and pressing schedule.  Ignoring the process differences for now, the traditional cheddar recipe calls for a 10lb weight for 15 minutes, a 40lb weight for 12 hours, a 50lb weight for 24 hours then rub with saltwater and dry for a few days.

Our farmhouse cheddar looks like this today(pardon the focus, in a hurry today):



Offline Baby Chee

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Re: Farmhouse Cheddar Drying
« Reply #14 on: October 24, 2009, 10:14:30 AM »
I (we?) might be mistaken.  I've never seen such a recipe before.  Where did you get it from?

Cheddar is, of course, more about acidifying the cheese for sharper flavor than pressing into a block of instant constipation.  So, you'll probably have a soft cheddar.  I'm not certain how all that excess moisture still in your cheese will work under wax: it could seep out and cause fermentation under the wax. 

Instructions on cheesemaking aren't always accurate.  Books and resources can often contradict each other and be erroneous.  If you do create a problem cheese, don't get disheartened, because it isn't hard to figure out and go forward again with better results.
“For centuries, people thought the moon was made of green cheese. Then the astronauts found that the moon is really a big hard rock. That's what happens to cheese when you leave it out.”