Author Topic: two small cheeses instead of one large...same ageing time?  (Read 947 times)

Offline kasiaw

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two small cheeses instead of one large...same ageing time?
« on: September 30, 2011, 01:00:04 PM »
Hi:

I am a brand-new cheesemaker.  I have successfully made cream cheese, and the 30 min mozzarella from Rikki Carroll's book.  I am really interested in eventually moving on the harder, aged cheeses.  A lot of the recipes call for 2 gallons of milk and make a 2lb cheese.  I am wondering if I was to make two 1lb cheeses instead, do I need to alter the ageing time?  I know that wine in larger bottles ages slower than smaller ones, and wondered if this applied to cheese as well. 

Are there any other things I should adjust if I were to scale down recipes to one gallon/1 lb sizes?

Thanks for the help!

Kasia


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Offline iratherfly

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Re: two small cheeses instead of one large...same ageing time?
« Reply #1 on: September 30, 2011, 04:53:51 PM »
The one thing you need to know about cheesemaking in general -and hard aged cheese in particular, is that it takes time and patience and there is no real way around it.

With surface ripened cheese (bloomy or washed rind) this may work because the aging relies on rind bacteria which makes its way in maturing the cheese from the outside in (though form factor is important and the cheese shape and proportions should remain close to the original at least).

However, when you set out to make typical semi hard or hard cheese (tomme, gouda, cheddar etc.) the maturation relies on enzymatic activity within the cheese, specifically breaking down of proteins which makes the texture, and breaking down of fatty acids which sharpens and deepens the flavor profile.  The aging is an art form onto itself and the environment, rind etc will build up aromatic qualities in the cheese.  There is also the process of gas buildup in some cheeses which relies on early activity of yeast or late activity of proprionic bacteria that must wait for some early breakdown of sugars, fats and proteins before it can get to work.  All of these processes simply take time, no matter the shape and size of your cheese.  Smaller cheese may age slightly faster but not in a significant matter. Worst, it may lose moisture and dry out or grow a rind that is a large % of the cheese total size. I say, stick with the plan. Otherwise - make some goat's cheese or camembert.  You can also make Colby or Jack which are quick layman's versions of cheddar.  Think about this however: when you make cheese every week or two, within a couple of months you will have cheese to open every week or two so you won't have to wait so long anymore...

Offline kasiaw

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Re: two small cheeses instead of one large...same ageing time?
« Reply #2 on: September 30, 2011, 05:13:25 PM »
Thanks for the reply!  I was just curious what determined the aging time, and you answered that very clearly.  With wine, it is more just oxidation, and that occurs more slowly in larger bottles.

The size of the cheese for me is more a matter of $$, and storage space.  There are only 3 of us in the immediate family (and one is not a very adventurous cheese eater), so I thought it might make sense to do smaller sizes at first.


Offline iratherfly

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Re: two small cheeses instead of one large...same ageing time?
« Reply #3 on: September 30, 2011, 05:31:51 PM »
Perhaps focus on a shorter aged cheese first instead. I find that not only are they a good practice but also they give you immediate satisfection and good chances at success before moving on to harder cheeses. It seems that most people who try their hands at hard cheese before they do younger cheese tend to mess up the acidification and get crumbly hard sad thing after 3 months of caring and maintaining the cheese which they tend to find heartbreaking. With Camembert you may mess up and fix it or find out about it too late and at most you waste 3 weeks on it. You can perfect your Camembert and do 4 batches including aging by the time it takes you to age one wheel of farmhouse cheddar to an edible level.  By that time, you will already be sensitive to acidity and other factors that will make you an instant success with the hard cheeses. My 5 cents.
By the way, even with wine there is a long term enzymatic activity which aging in a smaller barrel or tank wouldn't resolve any faster. Huh... nature!