Author Topic: Couple of Newbie Questions on my Manchego?  (Read 2385 times)

Offline chilipepper

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Couple of Newbie Questions on my Manchego?
« on: December 20, 2008, 10:10:37 AM »
Ok so I've got this nice little smelly cheese sitting and sweating for about a week in its plastic sweat lodge at about 85% humidity. 



First off it is still kind of moist on the outside...but at 85% humidity will it every really feel dry? 

Secondly, I would like it to be in smaller flat wheels that I can age different lengths of time. Since that is the only mold I have right now can I cut it before waxing? Should I wait to cut and then rewax? Should I cut and then let it re-age or should I go one further and cut and re-brine then dry then wax?  Maybe I shouldn't even worry about waxing it at all! :^)

You see my dilemma!  Thank for any advice!

Ryan


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Offline John (CH)

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Re: Couple of Newbie Questions on my Manchego?
« Reply #1 on: December 20, 2008, 11:16:11 AM »
Nice looking cheese, my vote:
1) During the first few days of it's life it will give off a lot of moisture, but then, even at 85% RH it should feel dry on outside, especially if you've brine bathed which many do to add salt and start the formation of a natural rind. Hope your gauge is accurate at that high a RH.
2) As you've brine bathed you could go without waxing, if you have a well controlled cheese cave. If you don't then waxing gives you the extra protection against the elements, but your cheese needs to be reasonably dry before waxing otherwise you could get mold beneath the surface.

I don't think there is a big correlation between size and aging duration, I assume you want smaller to be able to eat some of the same cheese at 1, 3 and 6 months type thing, to see how's it's character matures. If you want to do that and only have one hoop size, I don't see any problem with cutting it disk wise fresh after pressing as long as min say 2 inch/5 cm height and waxing from there. Should you re-brine, depends if brining was just to add salt to the cheese in which case probably enough, or to form a rind in which case you probaby want to brine at least the new sides.

Offline Tea

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Re: Couple of Newbie Questions on my Manchego?
« Reply #2 on: December 20, 2008, 02:14:36 PM »
I agree with CH and see no reason why the cheese could not  be cut after pressing, as long as it is not crumbly, it should be fine.  Then I would brine the cut pieces for even salting.  Personally I think I would brine regardless of whether I was waxing or not, then you could leave one piece wrapped and wax the other and see what the difference in the final product is.

I guess how moist your cheese is, also depends on whether sufficient whey was expelled during "cooking", and pressing.  Which also brings back into question the PSI issue.

Just my thoughts, but let us know what you decide to do.

Offline Cartierusm

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Re: Couple of Newbie Questions on my Manchego?
« Reply #3 on: December 20, 2008, 08:31:24 PM »
Exactly what cheesehead said, but I'll throw my 2 cents in.

You can either brine or wax...you don't need to do both as they are both methods to get a rind. For smaller cheese and depending on how long you're going to age it, I tend to wax because if you brine it and let it age for 1 year the rind will continue to creep into the cheese making a small wheel have less edible meat on the inside.

As for slicing to age at different times, you really have to do it right after pressing. The distribution of liquids and solids is conitnually changing and if you let it sit a while the proportions might be off in one of the chunks. It won't hurt anything, but if you're doing it to see the difference in taste you want the test subjects to be as equal as possible.

By the way, nice looking cheese.
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Offline chilipepper

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Re: Couple of Newbie Questions on my Manchego?
« Reply #4 on: January 16, 2009, 10:54:30 AM »
Well I cut into this one last night and whoa Nelly is it good! Very good flavor and texture.  I cut a piece out of the middle and we ate it.  I got too excited and repackaged it without taking pictures of the cut, etc.  I'll take more when I open it up again.  This one may not last too long.  ;D



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Offline Cartierusm

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Re: Couple of Newbie Questions on my Manchego?
« Reply #5 on: January 16, 2009, 11:23:52 AM »
Very nice looking wheels. Are the surfaces as smooth as they look in the pic? What was your pressing procedure?
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Offline chilipepper

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Re: Couple of Newbie Questions on my Manchego?
« Reply #6 on: January 17, 2009, 06:04:11 PM »
Thanks Carter, they are pretty smooth with only a very few small holes.  The curd on this one was very small before pressing too (about rice/pea size).

For pressing I did 3 flips at 15 lbs, each for about 15 minutes.  Then the last was at 30 lbs for about 6 hours.   I'll post some better picts of the texture when I cut them open again.

Offline chilipepper

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Re: Couple of Newbie Questions on my Manchego?
« Reply #7 on: January 25, 2009, 12:37:22 PM »
Cracked this open again and did some work on it! :)  Still very nice buttery texture and the pictures of the cut cheese as promised.


Offline John (CH)

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Re: Couple of Newbie Questions on my Manchego?
« Reply #8 on: January 25, 2009, 03:05:13 PM »
Well that is a great looking cheese, did you add some annatto to it or is that the camera and lighting that makes it look a hair yellow?

Offline Cartierusm

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Re: Couple of Newbie Questions on my Manchego?
« Reply #9 on: January 25, 2009, 03:31:30 PM »
How long did you age this?
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Offline chilipepper

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Re: Couple of Newbie Questions on my Manchego?
« Reply #10 on: January 26, 2009, 10:24:51 AM »
Thanks guys.

The color is a little 'off white' but no added coloring. It might be a little lighter than the pictures but not as white as the Jack of which I took pictures of at the same time.  As for aging it is only a little over a month old (made 12/14/08).


Offline LadyLiberty

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Re: Couple of Newbie Questions on my Manchego?
« Reply #11 on: January 26, 2009, 05:32:45 PM »
Thanks guys.

The color is a little 'off white' but no added coloring. It might be a little lighter than the pictures but not as white as the Jack of which I took pictures of at the same time.  As for aging it is only a little over a month old (made 12/14/08).



I want this recipe!  That looks great, chilipepper!

Offline John (CH)

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Re: Couple of Newbie Questions on my Manchego?
« Reply #12 on: January 27, 2009, 06:07:50 AM »
LL and others, just FYI but I posted a Manchego Recipe here, have now moved it with bunch of other recipes to Recipe Area of website along with Tricks & Traps and Pictures.

Don't know if that Manchego Recipe is the one chilipepper used.

Offline chilipepper

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Re: Couple of Newbie Questions on my Manchego?
« Reply #13 on: January 27, 2009, 09:42:06 AM »
Thanks!  I'll check your recipe CH out against what I did tonight and post any variances here tomorrow.  This one is going fast and I'm hoping I can keep the second half of the wheel around for another month or two to really see how it ages... I have patience issues :)  All the more reason to make a lot of cheese so that you can kind of forget about some of it!!

Offline LadyLiberty

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Re: Couple of Newbie Questions on my Manchego?
« Reply #14 on: January 30, 2009, 11:08:37 PM »
Thanks John, we are going to try your recipe tomorrow.  Chilepepper is it much different from yours?

I'm glad we have a vacuum sealer!