Author Topic: Cheddar drying...calling Wayne the Cheddar Master  (Read 2176 times)

Offline Cartierusm

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Cheddar drying...calling Wayne the Cheddar Master
« on: December 25, 2008, 08:48:51 AM »
Wayne, I know from the "how long do you flip" post that you flip quite often especially for the first 36 hours. But how long do you air dry your cheddar wheels, what's the relative humidity in your drying spot, and what are you looking for to know when to wax.

My new 2 pounder has only been out for 19 hours and looks pretty dry. Just wondering what to look for. My first cheddar I made in 2001 was very dry and crumbly, so I'm a little paranoid.
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Offline Wayne Harris

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Re: Cheddar drying...calling Wayne the Cheddar Master
« Reply #1 on: December 25, 2008, 12:12:08 PM »
First of all, I am no master...  but I appreciate the sentiments.

I am still working out the specifics of my cheese.  I am striving for a consistent closed curd cheddar that is high in moisture and sharp in flavor.

I am drying my cheese at room temperature (70 deg F) and 35% humidity.
After the cheese is dry and firm to the touch,  but before any cracks appear, I wax them. This allows a slight natural rind to form prior to waxing, preserving moisture.

I am also adopting a process that presses them as lightly as possible. (one that gives a firm curd, but not enough to brutally crush it.

I am also adopting a policy that keeps the pH from dropping too far, (keeping it less acidic).

Both of those last steps are designed to have a higher moisture content at the end of aging.

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Offline Cartierusm

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Re: Cheddar drying...calling Wayne the Cheddar Master
« Reply #2 on: December 25, 2008, 01:44:50 PM »
It's only been a day and mine has already started to crack. I think I might wax it.
Life is like a box of chocolates sometimes too much rennet makes you kill people.

Offline John (CH)

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Re: Cheddar drying...calling Wayne the Cheddar Master
« Reply #3 on: December 25, 2008, 03:46:06 PM »
Cartier, I've found cracking is caused by rapid drying (outside dries and shrinks, inside still moist and full size) from non-high humidity environment, my worst case was unprotected in household fridge for 2 days.

Offline Tea

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Re: Cheddar drying...calling Wayne the Cheddar Master
« Reply #4 on: December 25, 2008, 04:13:47 PM »
I am not sure that this is going to help with the chedar, but I had a provolone crack through uneven drying, and I wiped it over with some olive oil, and turned it over so that the crack was on the bottom for a couple of days.  Healed up beautifully. Did the oil rub about three times, and allowed a natural rind to form.

What I found with my chedar, was that then I waxed it, the wax ran into all the cracks, and when opened, you had wax veins all through the cheese.  Not a good look.  So was wondering whether the oil rub might be worth trying and see if the cracks close up a bit before waxing?


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Offline Cartierusm

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Re: Cheddar drying...calling Wayne the Cheddar Master
« Reply #5 on: December 25, 2008, 05:17:31 PM »
It's pretty severely cracked...see for yourself. I've got the wax heating up so I might just wax it.
Life is like a box of chocolates sometimes too much rennet makes you kill people.

Offline Tea

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Re: Cheddar drying...calling Wayne the Cheddar Master
« Reply #6 on: December 25, 2008, 05:25:17 PM »
Yeah, got to admit, that's what mine looked like too.  Trying to work out whether it is possible to get a smooth surface on the chedar, and then I look at Wayne's cheese, and wondering what I am doing wrong.

Offline John (CH)

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Re: Cheddar drying...calling Wayne the Cheddar Master
« Reply #7 on: December 25, 2008, 05:29:00 PM »
Great looking cheese, except for the cracks :-[.

My 2 cents is for trying to rehydrate it before waxing, how about if you put it in water overnight and then in a high humidity environment to dry slower before waxing?

Another drastic action is to cut off 1/2 inch all over to remove the fissures and get back to a better cheese for waxing.

Offline Cartierusm

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Re: Cheddar drying...calling Wayne the Cheddar Master
« Reply #8 on: December 25, 2008, 05:39:18 PM »
With your logic Cheese Head I wouldn't have any cheese left...LOL I don't want to rehydate it. I just spent all day melting down 15 pounds of wax to wax it, but maybe I'll just brine it like my parmesan?

Hey Wayne how do you get your cheddar looking so good. Do you wipe the surface?

Also do you mill your curds small before going into the press so you don't get that pressed curd look, so you get a nice smooth uniform single wheel?
Life is like a box of chocolates sometimes too much rennet makes you kill people.

Offline Cartierusm

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Re: Cheddar drying...calling Wayne the Cheddar Master
« Reply #9 on: December 25, 2008, 05:42:42 PM »
Ok let's take a vote, quickly though, I could rehydate it, if that works, and wax it but I don't want the wax in the veins.

I could brine it.

Or I could do a lard bandage like the video from the other post?

Let me know.
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Offline Wayne Harris

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Re: Cheddar drying...calling Wayne the Cheddar Master
« Reply #10 on: December 25, 2008, 06:26:46 PM »
Are those cracks?   or curd seperation?

Almost looks like the curds never combined.

Here is the cheddar I removed from my press 10 hours ago



My curds are the size of peas, and have the consistency of mildly firm scrambled eggs when i place them in the press.
I will take pictures during my next batch. 

I do not do anything special to mine other than to mill the curds after cheddaring.
« Last Edit: December 25, 2008, 07:33:11 PM by Wayne Harris »
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Offline Tea

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Re: Cheddar drying...calling Wayne the Cheddar Master
« Reply #11 on: December 25, 2008, 09:59:38 PM »
Which is where I went wrong with mine.  When it came to the cheddaring part I couldn't get the curd to break up successfully, so the end result was kind of like a patchwork.  Even pressing didn't get the curd to meld into one form.

So would be very interested in a tutorial, pics and all of what you do.

Here's mine.

Offline Wayne Harris

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Re: Cheddar drying...calling Wayne the Cheddar Master
« Reply #12 on: December 25, 2008, 10:10:55 PM »
ok,  that does not look like cracks from dryness.

That looks like a curd issue.  Looks like they never really "fuse".

I'm not sure what recipe you are useing but perhaps you could try a "stirred curd" cheddar recipe instead of a traditional cheddar one?



Wayne A. Harris - in vino veritas

Offline Cartierusm

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Re: Cheddar drying...calling Wayne the Cheddar Master
« Reply #13 on: December 25, 2008, 10:52:44 PM »
"Look at the big brain on Brad"

Good call. When I build or buy my new vat this week or maybe next week I'm definately going to build a motorized stirrer.

I think Wayne is correct, probably a case of the curds not knitted together. Then I figure that leads to larger cracks from over drying where the curds didn't knit and air getting it.

I think I'm going to do the lard bandage thing.

Next time I'll mill the curds before pressing.
Life is like a box of chocolates sometimes too much rennet makes you kill people.

Offline Cartierusm

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Re: Cheddar drying...calling Wayne the Cheddar Master
« Reply #14 on: December 26, 2008, 01:19:42 PM »
Next time I'll mill the curds into pea sized pieces before pressing. I now remeber seeing that on the Modern Marvel episode.

I went ahead and bandaged and larded the cheese I hope it develops a rind like in that video in the other post.
Life is like a box of chocolates sometimes too much rennet makes you kill people.