Author Topic: My 2nd Cheddar seems to be knitting much better  (Read 120 times)

Offline WisconsinDan

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My 2nd Cheddar seems to be knitting much better
« on: June 18, 2015, 05:53:49 PM »
I learned some things from my last experience making a cheddar. Again I used a recipe from Caldwell's book. This time I tried the English Cheddar-Style Cheese. Unlike last time I decided to stick with 2 gallons of milk because I think a big part of my poor knit was simply that I was too slow at milling and salting and the curd's temperature probably dropped a bit too much.  I am also using a mold with a larger height to width ratio as well as more drainage holes per square inch(is that how one would say that or is their a cheesier way?).

I also used 90% of the MA4001 the recipe used this time around and it seemed to help with the overly-fast acidification so I did not need to wash the curd this time around. I was also able to cheddar it about 1.5 hours this time before the pH hit 5.3 so I think the texturing will maybe be more on the mark. As has been suggested it really did feel a bit like tearing cooked chicken breast when I tore off a piece to check the pH of the curd.

I am also pressing with a whole lot more weight than before and gradually worked my whey up to what should be 316 lbs. of force from the Dutch press. Here is how it is looked when I pressed it about 1.5 hours in.


Offline WisconsinDan

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Re: My 2nd Cheddar seems to be knitting much better
« Reply #1 on: June 19, 2015, 07:58:08 AM »
Well it seems I have now have a deformed follower and an saddle-shaped cheese in the cave. I am thinking I am going to cut a piece of hardwood to brace the follower next time around. Although the knit was much better this time around there still ended up being 1 lonely crack on the surface which I am thinking will maybe split more as it dries because it appears to go a 3 or 4 mm beneath the surface. I would really like to get a nice smooth rind on a cheddar one of these days and am not sure if it is just going to take more pressure, or conversely I may have added the pressure too quickly, reached roughly 16.5 PSI after increasing and flipping every 15 minutes over an hour.  I did end up getting some extrusions going out of the side of the form. Anyhow here is how the make went and a pic or so; any suggestions of what I might tweak would be appreciated.

2 gallons whole milk
0.55g MA4001
1 tsp CaCl
2 drops double strength annatto
0.65mL double strength rennet
1 skewer of mild lipase

pH-milk=6.7

added CaCl and cultures @ 85F
ripened 30 minutes while increasing to 90F
add annatto and lipase

pH-milk=6.6

add rennet
flocculation time of ~13 minutes
cut into ~3/8" cubes @ ~46 minutes

pH-whey=6.5

stirred and increased to 101F over 30 minutes  (at this point many of the cubes had shrunk to the size of rice grains, not sure if maybe I am being too rough with them?)
pH-whey=6.4
Continued to stir 45 minutes @ 98-101F(I have a hard time keeping the temperature perfectly stable in the 4-gallon NESCO)
pH=6.1 at whey-off

To cheddar the curds I put them into a colander that fits nicely into a 1 gallon pot which I filled with warm whey. I covered them with a bag of warm water and the lid to the pot. I kept the whole thing in a water bath in the sink.  It seemed to keep the curds between 95-98F but it did drop slightly below once or twice.

After about 1.5 hours the texture seemed right, but the pH had dropped to 5.1 whereas the recipe says I should have stopped at 5.3-5.35.  Perhaps I should have checked the pH 1 hour into cheddaring. Would too much acid development prior to milling possibly be the reason for the 1 crack in the surface?

I got the milling done quickly this time and tried to keep the curds warm while they mellowed.  They seemed to still be warm when I got them into the press this time and I am much happier with the knit this time around.  I am also thinking since the pressure was clearly concentrated on the center of the cheese(because the sides of the follower bent) and the crack was closer to the edge that it may be simply that not enough force was able to be applied to the sides of the cheese?

Offline WisconsinDan

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Re: My 2nd Cheddar seems to be knitting much better
« Reply #2 on: June 19, 2015, 07:59:33 AM »
Also wondering if I had "bandaged" the cheddar with lard and cheesecloth, since I don't think I would have been able to see the crack beneath the cloth, would little cracks like this even matter anymore?

Offline jmason

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Re: My 2nd Cheddar seems to be knitting much better
« Reply #3 on: June 19, 2015, 01:08:29 PM »
I probably have a different opinion than many, but I don't see any reason to press to that much force (of course Andy, awakephd would disagree, as he pressed his cantal to over 900 lbs of press force).  Modern commercial cheddar makers don't even do a traditional cheddaring, at least some don't.  I would say if 3/8 cut shrinks to the size of rice you are definately stirring to hard.  That may be what you are looking for in a cooked curd swiiss or a grana, but not a cheddar.  The cheese overall looks pretty good, I wouldn't call that a crack really, it looks pretty well knitted to me.  You would dry the cheese to develop a natural rind before bandaging, and if that is what you are going for then you are going the farmhouse cheddar route and they don't get pressed as hard as an american style chedder.  A backer block above the follower would distribute the force better and help prevent the deformation.  I think your experince when you make a soft bloomy will give you a better feel for how a curd knits and naturally expells whey.  I would personally look at the press as a forming tool to shape the cheese more than a whey expullsion device, although it certainly does that.  Have you watched any of the videos from Gavin Weber on You tube, he makes several cheddared style cheeses and never approaches the kind of weight you are talking about, 50 lbs is about max in his makes. 

have a cheese for your efforts

John

Take the above with a grain of salt as I am certainly no expert on cheddar style cheese or hard pressing, at least not yet.
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Online Stinky

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Re: My 2nd Cheddar seems to be knitting much better
« Reply #4 on: Today at 12:16:36 PM »
In this case, you could bandage, you could wax, or you could just rub a little butter or lard into the crack if you're worried mold will go into the cheese.
It's probably a pathogen.

Online awakephd

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Re: My 2nd Cheddar seems to be knitting much better
« Reply #5 on: Today at 04:03:40 PM »
Oops, I missed this thread when it first started. True, I did press the heck out of my Cantal, but a Cantal is in a category all its own when it comes to getting a good knit. I don't press my cheddars anywhere near that much -- certainly not as much as 16 psi.

Did you keep the curds warm as you cheddared them? They should stay at around 100°F during the cheddaring phase -- I keep my pot in 100° water throughout the cheddaring, and I also mill the curds and salt them in the same pot, still in the water bath -- so the pressing phase occurs with warm curds, not cold.
-- Andy