Author Topic: My Emmental Exploded.  (Read 3025 times)

Offline Sailor Con Queso

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My Emmental Exploded.
« on: December 18, 2009, 12:23:54 AM »
The Emmental that I started 2 weeks ago was looking fantastic. After 8 days at 55F it had been at 68F for a few days to start the eye formation phase. It had really started to swell and was looking even better than my Baby Swiss. Turned it this morning and everything looked fine. The rind was firm but pliable. It had started to sweat, the rind had a nice gloss and there was a very thin butterfat coating. Humidity was about 80%. Everything was looking perfect. This was destined to be another perfect Swiss.

Came home this evening, and noticed that the swelling had obviously gone down some. I turned the cheese and discovered a huge blowout crack. My cheese had exploded. Popped like a balloon. :P I quickly vacuum bagged it, squeezing the crack together as the air came out. The crack is still visible, but much improved. Hope it's not a complete loss.

In retrospect, I will vac bag all of my Swiss from now on before I start the warm room eye formation phase. I remember Francois saying that they bag Swiss right after brining (also creates a rindless cheese). Anyway, here's a couple of pictures of the minor disaster.
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Offline iratherfly

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Re: My Emmental Exploded.
« Reply #1 on: December 18, 2009, 01:32:08 AM »
Outch! That cheese does look fantastic. I hope that the crack will heal soon enough, that's a large one. Do you think the temp may have been to high for humidity conditions in your kitchen?

Good luck!

Offline Sailor Con Queso

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Re: My Emmental Exploded.
« Reply #2 on: December 18, 2009, 09:21:51 AM »
No. Swiss types are supposed to be at 70-77F (or higher) for 3 or 4 weeks while the eyes form.

Here is a previous quote from Francois. Note that 25C is 77F. Way higher than my temp. If anything, we hobbyists are keeping our Swiss types at too LOW of a temperature for good eye formation.
____________________________________________
We vacuum pack it.  We make something like 10 tonnes an hour with this method.  Pe the Naitonal Dairy Council:

Rindless Swiss cheese in blocks is an American innovation. The milk is set, and the curd cut and cooked as described above for traditional Swiss cheese. In rindless Swiss cheese, the curd and whey are pumped into a forming tank, where the curd settles and pressure is applied with press plates before the whey is removed. After the whey is drained off, the curd is pressed overnight, then cut into blocks of the desired size (usually 80 to 100 pounds). The blocks of cheese are salted in brine similar to traditional wheels of Swiss cheese, usually from 1 to 3 days. The surface of the cheese is dried at 50° to 55°F for 5 to 10 days.

The cheese is then wrapped in plastic film and placed in a box under pressure in a cold room (50° to 55°F) for 6 to 10 days to prepare the cheese for eye formation. Thereafter, it is transferred to a warm room maintained at 70° to 76°F, the optimum growth temperature for Propionibacterium shermanii . During this principal ripening period, propionic acid fermentation occurs. Proprionibacterium shermanii and related organisms convert lactic acid and lactates to propionic and acetic acids and carbon dioxide. The propionic acid contributes to the characteristic sweet flavor and the carbon dioxide collects to form holes of eyes. The development of eyes is completed in 3 to 4 weeks. The cheese is then returned to a cold (35° to 40°F) curing room for 3 to 9 months or longer for slower ripening and more flavor development. Most of the Swiss cheese manufactured in the United States is marketed after ripening for 3 to 4 months.

and...

We make two kinds of swiss, wheels and blocks.  The blocks are vacuum packed and held at high temp for  a few weeks for eye formation (25C).  Sweating is not an issue.  For the wheels we dry after brining, paint them and then give them a few weeks at temp (25C), after that they are vacuum packed and chilled.
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Offline DeejayDebi

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Re: My Emmental Exploded.
« Reply #3 on: December 18, 2009, 03:52:21 PM »
Sorry to see your cheese blew Sailor it does look lovely though. What are the red lines on thr bottom of the cheese?

Offline Sailor Con Queso

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Re: My Emmental Exploded.
« Reply #4 on: December 18, 2009, 06:55:47 PM »
Cinnamon, applied as a fungicide, not for flavor. The wheel seems to have recovered a little. Definitely visible swelling tonight, but not back to where it was.
A moldy Stilton is a thing of beauty. Yes, you eat the rind. - Ed
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Offline DeejayDebi

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Re: My Emmental Exploded.
« Reply #5 on: December 18, 2009, 07:51:51 PM »
I yeah I forgot about that.

Offline Boofer

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Re: My Emmental Exploded.
« Reply #6 on: December 18, 2009, 08:04:59 PM »
The curd looks pretty moist just past the break in the rind. That's okay?

The wheel looks really good overall. It will be interesting to note whether the cinnamon offers any real performance in your intended application.

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« Last Edit: December 19, 2009, 01:20:56 AM by Boofer »
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Offline iratherfly

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Re: My Emmental Exploded.
« Reply #7 on: December 19, 2009, 12:31:04 AM »
Obviously I've never attempted a Swiss before so I didn't know the recipe called for such high temp. Summertime is easy for this but now... in December you must heat your house to find such consistent temperature hold for so long. (Gee, as if it wasn't hard enough to find a fridge that ages my cheese at low enough temp while keeping high RH, now I find out I need something else to hold other cheeses at high temp!)

Come to think of it, this is an alpine cheese so I assume the traditional eye formation came from keeping it indoors in chalets that were heated by fireplaces.

So do you use your kitchen because your house is heated? If so, do you use humidifier to prevent cracking? - I am dying to try a baby Swiss!

Yoav

Offline Sailor Con Queso

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Re: My Emmental Exploded.
« Reply #8 on: December 19, 2009, 09:33:39 AM »
Yes, the house is heated to 68-70F. If the humidity gets low, I have a humidity box that I put the cheeses in. The rind definitely did not get dry on this one. I suspect there was a little unseen defect after pressing. It would be easy to use a heatting pad under the humidity box to achieve a little higher temperature. I'm going to try that in January to bring the cheese up to 75F during eye development.
A moldy Stilton is a thing of beauty. Yes, you eat the rind. - Ed
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Offline Likesspace

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Re: My Emmental Exploded.
« Reply #9 on: December 19, 2009, 06:23:58 PM »
Sailor,
I had the exact same thing happen on one of my swiss cheeses last year.
I was bragging to everyone about how great the wheel was swelling and then I came home one night and it had deflated.
I just had one very small crack on the top side of the cheese but it was enough to do that wheel in. The cheese still had a very nice flavor and texture but of course it never got the chance to develop eyes.
One thing I've been wondering about letting eye formation happen within a bag is this...
I've had a problem with some of my swiss cheeses getting surface mold during the sweating stage. Since they are not sealed within a bag I simply wipe the surface with vinegar and that takes care of the problem.
Do you feel that bagging the cheese will keep this surface mold from happening and if it does happen, how do you plan on treating it? Will you remove the wheel from the bag to clean it, or let it grow until the eye formation is complete?
I'm just trying to get a handle on this since I do plan on giving the vacuum bag a try on my next swiss.
Thanks in advance.

Dave

Offline Sailor Con Queso

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Re: My Emmental Exploded.
« Reply #10 on: December 21, 2009, 09:43:28 AM »
This Swiss was lightly dusted with cinnamon as a fungicide because I was going to keep it natural rind through eye formation. Vacuum bagging will virtually eliminate all molds because it cuts off the oxygen supply. I have never had any molds or yeast after bagging.

In retrospect, I will ALWAYS vacuum bag from now on after cooling for a week - just prior to the warm eye formation phase. It is possible to interput the vacuum cycle and seal early to leave a little room for expansion. However, that could leave enough air in the bag for molds to become a problem.

As an update, the cracked wheel is still swelling, so I think I rescued it before it was a total loss.
A moldy Stilton is a thing of beauty. Yes, you eat the rind. - Ed
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Offline Wayne Harris

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Re: My Emmental Exploded.
« Reply #11 on: December 21, 2009, 10:15:46 AM »
I have had mold growth inside a vacuum bag.   I will admit that it is MUCH less common.  But one of my cheddars has a bit of mold growing...

I've often thought of filling the vacuum bag with argon prior to sealing, then when sealed, what little remains is not air, but argon.  Completely suffocating any surface microflora.
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Offline Likesspace

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Re: My Emmental Exploded.
« Reply #12 on: January 04, 2010, 08:15:24 PM »
Wayne...
The Argon sounds like a great idea. I've decided that once I get back into wine making that Argon will be a necessary piece of equipment for me to have.
I have seen some small aerosol cans of Argon for sale on various wine making sites. I'm sure they are very expensive as compared to a larger bottle but it might be a good way to try this in cheese making.
I think I'll look this type of Argon up and place an order. I think you might have just hit on the key to making a "rindless swiss" without fear of deflation of the wheel and/or mold problems.
Thanks!

Dave

Offline DeejayDebi

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Re: My Emmental Exploded.
« Reply #13 on: January 04, 2010, 08:34:34 PM »
How is that swiss going Sailor? Looks like it can repair itself. Maybe yo only lost a tiny bit of the gas?? maybe ...

Offline Sailor Con Queso

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Re: My Emmental Exploded.
« Reply #14 on: January 04, 2010, 10:01:59 PM »
It's actually looking pretty good. I vacuum bagged it soon after it cracked. The cheese continued to swell, but it won't reach it's full potential. :-[

HOWEVER - what's really cool is that the vac bag itself has filled up like a balloon and looks like it could pop at any minute. I figure it's just adding to the flavor of the cheese.

Definitely doing 2 more later this week. Probably an Emmental and a Baby.
A moldy Stilton is a thing of beauty. Yes, you eat the rind. - Ed
www.boonecreekcreamery.com