Author Topic: Cheddar Experiement, pressed under a vacuum  (Read 6343 times)

Offline Sailor Con Queso

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Re: Cheddar Experiement, pressed under a vacuum
« Reply #30 on: December 10, 2009, 09:20:32 AM »
I found this comment interesting:

"...the use of vacuum pressing ensured the characteristic close texture of Cheddar cheese and thus eliminated the need for cheddaring."


"...air can be removed more readily by vacuum from granular curd than from the closer textured cheddared curd."

They were talking about using a "granular, salted curd". Are they talking about a stirred curd cheddar and eliminating the traditional cheddaring phase? To me granular means really small - like sugar size. I know that when I make cheddar I cube the curds to about 3/4" before salting & pressing. Why not cut the cubes MUCH smaller or even shred the cheddared blocks? The cheddaring process has already expelled a lot of whey, so what's the downside to using smaller cubes?

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Offline Wayne Harris

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Re: Cheddar Experiement, pressed under a vacuum
« Reply #31 on: December 10, 2009, 09:39:02 AM »
Its not entirely clear to me what that term meant.  So much of this does go over my head a bit.  But I think they are referring generally to the entire class of cheese, not a specific production method of "Cheddar" cheese.

I'm not sure what the disadvantage of using smaller cubes would be after stirring or cheddaring.

I suppose the whole point of milling the cheese into cubes after cheddaring is to provide sufficient surface area for the salt to adhere to.  That said, I would guess there is a balance there between sufficient surface area, and relative (re)-knitting required.  The finer the cubes, the more surface area for the salt, but more knitting that will be required.  That might have an impact on texture.  (I really don't know)

To me, the point of milling is to undo just enough knitting (cheddaring) to increase the surface area to the minimums required for salting.  Any "gatuitous" surface area would just undo the gains made by the cheddaring process.

Would a finer cube after milling release more whey? 
« Last Edit: December 10, 2009, 12:01:18 PM by Wayne Harris »
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Re: Cheddar Experiement, pressed under a vacuum
« Reply #32 on: December 10, 2009, 12:13:18 PM »
Cheddar cheese is indeed produced like this, as are the majority of every mass produced yellow.  There is no classic "cheddaring" per se, as it's completely automated and has no human inervention.  The whey is drained from the vat and held seperately in a tank for later use in the tower.  The cheddaring process still takes place, but it is within the vat stackup and not as sexy as stacking slabs by hand.  You have to realize that these cheeses are highly engineered to the scale.  Here is a link to a casomatic tower:

Here is an automated cheddar module that would plug into the side of one of the tower and vat setups:
« Last Edit: December 10, 2009, 12:47:24 PM by FRANCOIS »

Offline DeejayDebi

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Re: Cheddar Experiement, pressed under a vacuum
« Reply #33 on: December 10, 2009, 09:05:05 PM »
Definately out of the question for the hobbist! Impresive though.

Offline Likesspace

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Re: Cheddar Experiement, pressed under a vacuum
« Reply #34 on: December 12, 2009, 07:34:14 PM »
Don't worry about the advice on cutting early. I would not have waited for two weeks regardless.
I'm now convinced that my problem is not using enough pressure on my cheddar cheeses and this is a problem that I hope to solve on upcoming batches.
Today I did a Gouda and took my press to 70 lbs. of line pressure. This only translated to about 9 p.s.i. on my 7.5" mold, but it allowed me to see that higher pressures are possible with this style of press.
On my next cheddar I will try going to 10 p.s.i. and if the press handles it I will then try 11, 12 and so on and so forth. Once I hit the mark that gives me the closed curd I'm looking for I will then use that as my benchmark.
I did re-open a cheddar I made on 10-31 this weekend and I was amazed at how much the curd had closed up. There were only a few mechanical openings and these were very very small. The texture was about as perfect as I could have ever hoped for and the flavor was pretty darn good, for a young cheese.
I have a few other wheels that are in the cave and I plan on opening them at various points over the next few weeks and months.
I will be sure to snap a couple of pics when I do so.
I'm not there, just yet but with each make I seem to be getting closer to the ideal.
Thanks to all of the wonderful information on this forum I'm convinced that we are all capable of producing a product that not only matches the commercial examples, but surpasses them in quality.
Maybe it's nothing more than a pipe dream but I don't think so.