Author Topic: Plastic bags - good or not?  (Read 3951 times)

Offline Pavel

  • Mature Cheese
  • ****
  • Location: Russia
  • Posts: 246
  • Cheeses: 15
  • Default personal text
Plastic bags - good or not?
« on: December 24, 2009, 09:11:44 AM »
I reed a lot at CF about vacuum sealing and at the same time have so many problems with aging cheeses in my fridge. So i made up my mind to purchase a sealer. But yesterday i've seen at cheesemaking.com that plastic bags are not good for aging cheeses. They say plastic don't let bacteria to breeze and aging process stops. That sounds logical. But almost all people here pack cheeses into plastic bags, right? Can you tell me, please, what is true?
BTW Sailor, and someone else use vinegar before sealing. What particular concentration of acetic acid solution i have to use?


Guests, join the CheeseForum.org community to remove this ad.


Offline Alex

  • Old Cheese
  • *****
  • Location: Haifa,Israel
  • Posts: 732
  • Cheeses: 27
  • Default personal text
Re: Plastic bags - good or not?
« Reply #1 on: December 24, 2009, 10:03:43 AM »
I do not use vacuum packing. I have good experience with wax (when I want a sealed cheese), I even recycle the wax. I am not sure that ageing stops because of sealing the cheese. Vacuum packing or waxing gives the same type of sealing and oil, almost the same.
Washing the cheese with a solution of vinegar and salt should prevent mold growth. The most common vinegar is 5% concentrated.
Alex-The Cheesepenter

Offline Tea

  • Old Cheese
  • *****
  • Posts: 1,914
  • Cheeses: 27
Re: Plastic bags - good or not?
« Reply #2 on: December 24, 2009, 03:33:11 PM »
I also don't seal, but either wax, or let a natural rind form.  What problem are you having with aging in the fridge?  If I am aging in the fridge, and it is a natural rind, I first wrap in baking/silicone paper, then in foil.  This seems to keep it free of contaminants and is easy to check it's progress.
Just wondering.

Offline zenith1

  • Old Cheese
  • *****
  • Location: Wallkill, New York
  • Posts: 801
  • Cheeses: 25
  • "Blessed are the Cheesemakers"-Monty Python
Re: Plastic bags - good or not?
« Reply #3 on: December 24, 2009, 06:01:42 PM »
Hi Pavel- What problems exactly are you having with your cheese development? I agree with Tea- I too usually proceed with a natural rind. But that being said I have used wax before with success. The thing with a good cheese wax is that a small amount of respiration continues to progress while your cheese ages. That allows your cheese to further develop it's flavor. If you vacuum bag your wheel you have at that time totally cut of the respiration process, so in effect the cheese will emerge from the bag very much like it went into the bag. So you are correct in your understanding in that regard. The  order of my preference is natural rind, wrapped, waxed, and then bagged. I frequently will age a natural rind wheel to the point I feel is where I want the wheel to be from a flavor standpoint, and then bag the wheel to keep it from excessive drying in the long term. Wax is very effective and widely used, just be careful working with the stuff. If you are having a molding problem that needs to addressed in another step either with a brine rub or using plain old white vinegar. This will likely kill off any mold spores on the surface before you proceed with whatever step you have chosen to use to age your wheel.
Keith

Offline DeejayDebi

  • Old Cheese
  • *****
  • Location: Connecticut
  • Posts: 5,804
  • Cheeses: 95
    • Deejays Smoke Pit and DSP Forums
Re: Plastic bags - good or not?
« Reply #4 on: December 24, 2009, 06:50:15 PM »
Pavel the plastic bags most places sell are different from the vacuum bags. More rubbery. They seem to encourage mold growth for some reason.  The vaccumm bags do not.

I tend to age for about 2 weeks to a month in the cave depending on the cheese (2 weeks for soft cheese wthout a rind) to form a rind then vaccuum seal and my cheeses age wonderfully with no mold. They will kep for years that way with little to no attention needed.

I wipe most of mine with olive oil first. If there is a hint of mold I will wash first with a bit of salt water and vinegar then dry as norma,l then oil and seal.


Guests, join the CheeseForum.org community to remove this ad.


Offline Pavel

  • Mature Cheese
  • ****
  • Location: Russia
  • Posts: 246
  • Cheeses: 15
  • Default personal text
Re: Plastic bags - good or not?
« Reply #5 on: December 25, 2009, 11:49:54 PM »
The problem is i always have different types of cheeses in my fridge. As usual there are blues, Cheddars and washed rind cheeses. It is hard enough to control humidity level especially because i havn't separate fridge for cheeses. Only one shelf of my kitchen fridge is given for aging area. And after humidity i constantly fight with molds appeared exactly where i don't want them.
I didn't find cheese wax in the area and regular wax doesn't work well. It stuck to the wheels and it's fragile.
I can stand that problem for two or four weeks but i hate it lasts longer. So i want after 2 or 4 weeks vacuum pack cheeses to get some ease with aging them the rest of the time they call for.
So vacuum bags are different from regular plastic ones? Have i better vaccum pack in special cheese bags?
« Last Edit: December 26, 2009, 04:38:48 AM by Pavel »

Offline Alex

  • Old Cheese
  • *****
  • Location: Haifa,Israel
  • Posts: 732
  • Cheeses: 27
  • Default personal text
Re: Plastic bags - good or not?
« Reply #6 on: December 26, 2009, 02:06:33 AM »
As I understand you can not get proper wax for your cheeses. May be you can get Potasium Sorbat you should delute with water and wash the cheese. It is a known bad mold inhibitor.
Alex-The Cheesepenter

Offline Pavel

  • Mature Cheese
  • ****
  • Location: Russia
  • Posts: 246
  • Cheeses: 15
  • Default personal text
Re: Plastic bags - good or not?
« Reply #7 on: December 26, 2009, 04:48:34 AM »
Yes, i can not get proper wax for my cheeses. Potassium Sorbat sounds good but a bit "chemically", and i'll give it a try but only when nothing else help :) And i've already made the payment  for vacuum sealer. Hope i'll get one in a couple of weeks. Now i think about propper material for packing.

Offline Alex

  • Old Cheese
  • *****
  • Location: Haifa,Israel
  • Posts: 732
  • Cheeses: 27
  • Default personal text
Re: Plastic bags - good or not?
« Reply #8 on: December 26, 2009, 06:21:36 AM »
I wish you luck, anyway, if you'll decide to use Potassium Sorbat, don't exceed a 2% solution and wipe the cheese not more than three times in a row.
Alex-The Cheesepenter

Offline zenith1

  • Old Cheese
  • *****
  • Location: Wallkill, New York
  • Posts: 801
  • Cheeses: 25
  • "Blessed are the Cheesemakers"-Monty Python
Re: Plastic bags - good or not?
« Reply #9 on: December 26, 2009, 11:11:28 AM »
for me the problem with the mold growth in the bag is probably due to not drying the wheel enough before placing in the baq.
Keith


Guests, join the CheeseForum.org community to remove this ad.


Offline DeejayDebi

  • Old Cheese
  • *****
  • Location: Connecticut
  • Posts: 5,804
  • Cheeses: 95
    • Deejays Smoke Pit and DSP Forums
Re: Plastic bags - good or not?
« Reply #10 on: December 26, 2009, 12:54:46 PM »
I don't know if these are everywhere and I just posted this to another thread somewhere but ...

We have these plastic bags here that are a diffrent plactic than the "normal" food bags that really seem to help keep food fresh. You can wash and reuse them indefinatelty as long as you are careful and don't poke holes in them. They are pricey but they work. They do not encourage bad molds in cheeses like regular plastic bags.  They also have some for fresh vegetables and fruits. I have no idea why they work but they do. Maybe the material maybe the color? They are a yellow/green color.

They look like this:




Offline Brie

  • Old Cheese
  • *****
  • Location: Phoenix, AZ
  • Posts: 535
  • Cheeses: 29
  • Default personal text
Re: Plastic bags - good or not?
« Reply #11 on: December 27, 2009, 06:37:11 PM »
My question about the vacuum-sealed bags is how does the cheese achieve the proper humidity during aging with this form of packaging? Or does this work only with cheeses that could otherwise be waxed?
Darn, another cheese meltdown--ahh, perfect fondue.

Offline DeejayDebi

  • Old Cheese
  • *****
  • Location: Connecticut
  • Posts: 5,804
  • Cheeses: 95
    • Deejays Smoke Pit and DSP Forums
Re: Plastic bags - good or not?
« Reply #12 on: December 27, 2009, 07:28:28 PM »
All of the moisure in the cheese remain in the bag so humidity is not a problem unless it was not properly dried before bagging.

Offline Wayne Harris

  • Wine and Cheesemaker
  • Old Cheese
  • *****
  • Location: Cleveland, Ohio
  • Posts: 1,938
  • Cheeses: 53
  • Wayne Harris
Re: Plastic bags - good or not?
« Reply #13 on: December 27, 2009, 08:05:40 PM »
I am sure Linuxboy and/or Francois will chime in here.

But I think vacuum sealing a cheese can work, or it can be disasterous depending on the type of cheese you are looking to make.

Sealing a cheese after pressing is certainly done for some commercial cheeses.  I find it difficult to understand why cheese aging will fail due to being sealed. My understanding is that the aging and ripening of cheese is a wide and complex collection of activities, only some of which is bacterial in nature.  I don't pretend to know what they all are.
Wayne A. Harris - in vino veritas

Offline linuxboy

  • Old Cheese
  • *****
  • Location: Ukiah, CA
  • Posts: 3,976
  • Cheeses: 197
  • www.wacheese.com
    • Washington Cheese Guild
Re: Plastic bags - good or not?
« Reply #14 on: December 27, 2009, 10:50:26 PM »
I reed a lot at CF about vacuum sealing and at the same time have so many problems with aging cheeses in my fridge. So i made up my mind to purchase a sealer. But yesterday i've seen at cheesemaking.com that plastic bags are not good for aging cheeses. They say plastic don't let bacteria to breeze and aging process stops. That sounds logical. But almost all people here pack cheeses into plastic bags, right? Can you tell me, please, what is true?
BTW Sailor, and someone else use vinegar before sealing. What particular concentration of acetic acid solution i have to use?

Where on cheesemaking.com does it say that? Vacuum packing cheese is a tool used to achieve a specific result. The result is a rindless or semi-rindless cheese. Lactic bacteria is in an anaerobic phase after it finishes eating lactose, it's dormant, and then dies. That death doesn't need oxygen. Some byproducts produced are gases, and having them exposed to air does vent the gases. Also, oxygen does help with some later proteolytic processes. So a vacuum packed cheese will taste slightly different than one that is not. But the aging process does not stop.

I should be more clear. This applies only for lactic acid bacteria. Molds and other bacteria are different. You couldn't pack, say, a b linens cheese until after it matures because it does need to breathe and you also need to wash it.

Taking an extended leave (until 2015) from the forums to build out my farm and dairy. Please e-mail or PM if you need anything.