Author Topic: Annatto in Cheddar?  (Read 3664 times)

Offline Lennie

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Re: Annatto in Cheddar?
« Reply #15 on: January 10, 2010, 09:06:03 PM »
After cutting and cooking I put the curds in a bowl and broke them into "walnut-sized" pieces.  Isn't this milling?  And when I combined the two, I broke them back up and started over.

Is a walnut sized piece the size of a whole English walnut, or the size of a shelled nut half?


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Offline DeejayDebi

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Re: Annatto in Cheddar?
« Reply #16 on: January 10, 2010, 09:22:19 PM »
Your on the right track but milling is more like make pieces like rice. Think of milling flour or milling grain.

Offline Wayne Harris

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Re: Annatto in Cheddar?
« Reply #17 on: January 11, 2010, 06:04:28 AM »
My milled cheddar was never rice sized.  I simply cut them into .5in to .75in cubes
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Offline Lennie

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Re: Annatto in Cheddar?
« Reply #18 on: January 11, 2010, 07:56:36 PM »
Here's the pressed product just out from under 50lb of my free weights.  Its 4" tall and has a slightly angled top since the weights shifted a bit during the night.  I put the mold on the drain mat in a milk crate and put the weights on top, pushed newspapers in each side to hold it in place.  I guess it might be just slightly yellow, but I intend to use more annatto next time.  I'm drying it a couple of days and then waxing unless someone has a better suggestion.  Now the hard part, waiting 2+ months.



« Last Edit: January 11, 2010, 08:04:20 PM by Lennie »

Offline Lennie

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Re: Annatto in Cheddar?
« Reply #19 on: January 11, 2010, 08:07:45 PM »
I do have a vacuum sealer if that is a better option.


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Offline DeejayDebi

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Re: Annatto in Cheddar?
« Reply #20 on: January 12, 2010, 04:13:18 PM »
Wayne -

The big curd milling machines in the factory stores I've been to spit out curds that are smaller than bulk mozzarella shreds.

Offline Sailor Con Queso

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Re: Annatto in Cheddar?
« Reply #21 on: January 12, 2010, 07:52:31 PM »
That is a great point Deb. All of the recipes that I have seen call for 1/2" to 1" curd cubes. However you are right, it seems that all of the commercial guys mill much smaller. I've thought for quite a while that smaller cubes would meld easier and press better. It would take much longer to cut that small without a milling machine. (Sanitized sausage grinder perhaps???) That also means that the larger surface area of smaller curds would be exposed to more salt. That would cause more whey to be expelled and would slow down acid production even more than usual.
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Offline Wayne Harris

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Re: Annatto in Cheddar?
« Reply #22 on: January 12, 2010, 08:37:46 PM »
Sailor, I tend to agree.
Deb, I am going to have to respectfully disagree.  Not sure why, perhaps I just feel a bit "spicy" tonight. :)

But here is how I think it goes when deciding milled curd size:
There are specific and technical reasons that determine the final size of a milled curd.  Basically we are cutting the loaves up just enough to achieve the right surface area and whey drainage.
What drives the final size of the milled curd is the need to convert the loaves to sizes that yield the correct mass/surface area(M/SA) ratio.  The reason that ratio is important is that this ratio facilitates the rate and amount of salt absorption in the cheese curds.  The M/SA ratio controls the rate of salt absorption and thusly, the acid production in the final cheese.  Ultimately the size of a milled salted curd is determined by understanding the desired target salt-in-moisture level, and the acid development rates of the cheese.

So, the way I look at it is this:
•   With very small milled curds the mass/surface area ratio is very small. This results in, a dryer cheese, that absorbs salt very fast and stops acid production relatively quickly
•   With a larger milled curd, the mass/surface area ratio is larger.  This results in less whey loss, (moister cheese), slower salt absorption and more acid production.

On average according to wiki, this leaves curd sizes at about .51 inches.



I think I have that right.  Linuxboy?  François?

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Offline linuxboy

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Re: Annatto in Cheddar?
« Reply #23 on: January 12, 2010, 08:58:07 PM »
Well, the disk-type mills a lot of of mid-size factories use have spacing of about 1/2", and produce curds of that size... maybe 5/8" by 1-3". But there are other types of mills out there. I personally have not seen an operation where the curds come out the size of shredded cheese out of the mill. They all look about like the pic you posted, maybe a bit smaller in some cases.

« Last Edit: January 12, 2010, 09:11:34 PM by linuxboy »
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Offline DeejayDebi

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Re: Annatto in Cheddar?
« Reply #24 on: January 12, 2010, 09:31:40 PM »
Mine are always about finger width. In any event perhaps ricing wasn't a good example. Maybe rigatoni is better. I think I walnut is way to big unless they are shelled walnut halves.


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Offline Sailor Con Queso

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Re: Annatto in Cheddar?
« Reply #25 on: January 12, 2010, 10:23:38 PM »
Those curds look too big to me and would be hard to press properly.

But.... I've had a moment of inspiration. Many of us use vertical and/or horizontal curd harps to cut our curds. So why not use the curd harp as a hand milling tool? Just put the cheddar block on a cutting board, hold the harp horizontally and gently push the wires thru the cheese. Turn 90 degrees and repeat. Would be much quicker and more consistent than cutting with a knife.
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Offline DeejayDebi

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Re: Annatto in Cheddar?
« Reply #26 on: January 13, 2010, 06:56:24 PM »
Actually those curds are very small just a close up in small a saucer. They are only about 3/8 inch. The harp idea may work if it it stiff enogh to do it.

Offline FarmerJD

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Re: Annatto in Cheddar?
« Reply #27 on: January 13, 2010, 09:51:15 PM »
I wish I had some way of milling the curd easier. It takes so long that the curds get cold and then you have pressing issues. My curds would not cut with a curd knife though I don't think. They are just too tough. I do shoot for .5 to 1 inch cubes at least on one side but they may run long on the other dimensions. Don't they make some kind of slicer for vegatables that looks like half of linuxboy's picture? Like a semicircle with multiple blades?

Offline DeejayDebi

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Re: Annatto in Cheddar?
« Reply #28 on: January 13, 2010, 10:06:37 PM »
I use my 12 inch french chefs knife it's really quick. Slice the layered pieces then chop chop chop and it's done. All the sliced ones go straight away into the mold with the follower to keep them warm.

I drain the whey back into the washed empty milk jugs and pour the still warm whey over the curds between layers to keep them warm. It helps to get a good press. The curds should be around 80°F when pressed.

Offline linuxboy

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Re: Annatto in Cheddar?
« Reply #29 on: January 13, 2010, 11:13:25 PM »
Farmer, what if you made this:

Just a stand soldered out of some bars and stainless steel thick wire, or better yet thin gauge strips. It would give you long pieces that you could then cut.
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