Author Topic: Shrink Wrapping Cheeses  (Read 3950 times)

Offline John (CH)

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Shrink Wrapping Cheeses
« on: February 23, 2010, 07:20:50 PM »
When you cheesecloth and lard wrap a cheese, it stops/significantly reduces moisture loss for the cheese.

When you wax a cheese, it stops/significantly reduces moisture loss for the cheese.

When you vacuum bag a cheese, it also stops/significantly reduces moisture loss but additionally applies a vacuum to the cheese, which may or may not be good.

When I go to stores, I don't see vacuum bagged cheeses, but I do see lots of shrink wrapped cheeses, which similar to wrapping and waxing, do not apply a vacuum. Shrink wrapping is way cheaper and easier than vacuum bagging, just wrap and apply heat via a heat gun or I've heard, a hairdryer.

So why not shrink wrap rather than vacuum bagging cheeses for aging?

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« Last Edit: February 23, 2010, 07:44:55 PM by John (CH) »


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Offline Sailor Con Queso

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Re: Shrink Wrapping Cheeses
« Reply #1 on: February 23, 2010, 11:26:36 PM »
Distributors and/or stores get huge full size wheels that are then cut and repackaged with shrink wrap because it is cheap and convenient. It really isn't designed for long term storage. However, with an uncut wheel, it might be OK. Printers use shrink wrap to package finished products. I have two shrink wrap tunnels in my shop. Might try it.

The advantage of vac bagging is that it removes available oxygen and pretty much eliminates mold growth. I let my cheeses age naturally for a few weeks before vac bagging. At that point the bacteria have pretty well done their thing and are dying off. Enzymes and proteolysis are kicking in and don't need the oxygen to finish up the aging process. I typically cut my rounds at 90 days, sample, re vac bag and put it back in the cave. I wouldn't trust shrink wrap for long term storage of cut cheese.
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: Shrink Wrapping Cheeses
« Reply #2 on: February 24, 2010, 05:17:42 AM »
What is ideal are those shrink wrap machines that also displace the oxygen.  They do that for meat and other items when shelf life is an issue.

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Offline FRANCOIS

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Re: Shrink Wrapping Cheeses
« Reply #3 on: February 27, 2010, 01:41:52 PM »
Shrink wrapping is a short shelf life technology.  I think we get at most 63 days after wrap before mold colonies start taking off.  I'm not sure what Wayne means by a displacement machine, but some units pierce a small hole inthew plastic that allows oxygen to escape and the hole is then covered over with a food grade label.

It's not comparable to a vacuum bag or, the ultimate, a gas flush.

Offline Wayne Harris

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Re: Shrink Wrapping Cheeses
« Reply #4 on: February 27, 2010, 02:29:40 PM »
Without doing any Binging... (I prefer Microsoft's search.....)  i seem to remember shrink wrapping machines that wrapped the product in bath of inert gas.  Any air under the shrink wrap is then oxygen-free.

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Offline FRANCOIS

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Re: Shrink Wrapping Cheeses
« Reply #5 on: March 04, 2010, 08:03:10 PM »
I have seen shrink wrapping, vacuum bagging and gas flushing.  They are all seperate technologies, listed in order of effectiveness.

Gas flushing provides a bath of nitrogen and is normally closed with a pneumatic staple or clip.   

Offline John (CH)

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Re: Shrink Wrapping Cheeses
« Reply #6 on: March 04, 2010, 09:58:32 PM »
Francois so this manufactured cheese (not picking on Kefalotiri, have seen other large wheels sealed similarly) is probably N2 flushed? I can see how it would slow down aging process, probably too much.

Offline FRANCOIS

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Re: Shrink Wrapping Cheeses
« Reply #7 on: March 06, 2010, 12:22:42 AM »
Yes, the clip on the bag is a dead giveaway for flushing.