Author Topic: My jack cheese. is this okay?  (Read 108 times)

Offline fredthecat

  • Medium Cheese
  • ***
  • Posts: 26
  • Cheeses: 0
My jack cheese. is this okay?
« on: February 25, 2015, 08:10:24 AM »
Hi, this is my third cheese. I followed the instructions for making "jack" cheese at cheesemakingdotcom's jack recipe page.

It's been 9 days and it seems like very little rind has developed so far, though it's starting to now. I think i might have had the humidity too high from the start. My first two cheeses got a rind really fast but they were in a much drier air.

Heres a pic of it after 9 days (ignore the spotted cloth-it's sanitized and changed daily). Is this rind development normal? It's still dripping a lot, is that okay? Any suggestions?


Offline Mike Richards

  • Mature Cheese
  • ****
  • Location: Knoxville, TN
  • Posts: 456
  • Cheeses: 23
    • Lilac Harvest
Re: My jack cheese. is this okay?
« Reply #1 on: February 25, 2015, 07:28:23 PM »
Looks pretty moist still to me--and you say it's still "dripping" at 9 days?  I'm going with it had too much moisture when you pressed it.  If that is correct, you should expect a crumbly, moist, somewhat sour cheese when you do eventually eat it.  With that said...Right now I think the main goal is just to get it dry out without growing unwanted mold.  How are you letting it dry--is it in a container, a cave of some sort, sitting on the kitchen counter?  The higher humidity will slow down the drying process, but would not quite explain the level of moisture you're experiencing.

I've used a fan gently blowing across cheeses that were too moist.  The cheeses didn't turn out great (they weren't terrible, just not great), but that was because of the mistakes I made while making them (not getting enough moisture out before pressing), not because of the fan.  It's an option, but might be unnecessary.
If only I could make cheese as well as I grow a mustache...

Offline OzzieCheese

  • Old Cheese
  • *****
  • Location: Australia
  • Posts: 593
  • Cheeses: 55
  • Sun-Grass-Cow-Milk-Cheese-Happiness
Re: My jack cheese. is this okay?
« Reply #2 on: February 25, 2015, 10:48:11 PM »
Hi Fred,  Do you have any details on the make process - we all might be able to help better with more details.

-- Mal
Usually if one person asks a question then 10 are waiting for the answer - Please ask !

Offline fredthecat

  • Medium Cheese
  • ***
  • Posts: 26
  • Cheeses: 0
Re: My jack cheese. is this okay?
« Reply #3 on: Yesterday at 06:09:39 AM »
hi, i followed http://www.cheesemaking.com/jackcheeserecipe.html except shortened the cooking times from 40 minutes at 100F to about 30 minutes and shortened the next two to about 30 minutes total :(. i was in a rush. It's sitting in the cheese box pictured above inside a concrete closet at a daily temperature of between 52-55 fahrenheit. i don't have a humidity meter yet.

i tried pressing it in the bag like this site suggested and it was a pretty poor press, used 2kg of pressure at first, then 4kg for about 8 hours. i pressed it using a water weight in a bucket.

i think i can pretty much say it was due to a poor pressing. but will it eventually stop dripping and will it be okay? I clean it up every 24 hours and resalt it but even today it had drops of water sitting at the bottom layer below the plastic mesh it sits on.

Thanks for the feedback, I appreciate it! I'm glad to hear the estimated flavour profile of it from mike. that sounds alright to me, im still just starting.


As an addendum, I am planning to make and test a pressing machine before making another cheese. so that should help in the future.

Offline Mike Richards

  • Mature Cheese
  • ****
  • Location: Knoxville, TN
  • Posts: 456
  • Cheeses: 23
    • Lilac Harvest
Re: My jack cheese. is this okay?
« Reply #4 on: Today at 02:04:44 PM »
There's something about many of us that assumes the excess moisture we find in our first few cheeses was because we just didn't press the cheese long enough or hard enough or that we pressed with too much or too little force as first, etc.  The goal(s) of pressing is not so much removing moisture from the curd as it is expelling whey from the spaces between the curds and consolidating the curds into a single cheese (and closing the rind, etc...).  In general, pressing doesn't remove much whey from the curds themselves.  The bigger issue is when we start pressing before the curd has lost enough moisture.  In your case, the rushed cooking and reduced stirring time led to high moisture curd.  How well did your temp ramp go--did you take the full 30 minutes to get to 100 F or did you get there early and hang out a while?  Increasing the temperature too rapidly can also contribute to higher moisture retention by developing a skin on the surface of the curds that is less permeable to whey.  Again, if you start pressing the curd when the moisture is too high, you can't press the excess moisture out.  I believe most people who have made cheese have made a few where they didn't get enough whey out before pressing, so don't feel bad at all--it certainly can still turn out as something you'd like to eat.

You're salting it every day?  Depending on how much you're using, it might be getting really salty.  Plus, the salt might be contributing to the "dripping".  Have you ever learned about osmotic pressure?  Basically, putting salt on the outside of the cheese is creating a pressure gradient that is driving liquid from the inside of the cheese to the outside (which might not seem like a terrible idea if your cheese has too much moisture).  At the same time, the salt is diffusing into the cheese.  I'd say, stop salting, let the cheese sit outside of the container (still in the cave) and give it a few days to see what the rind looks like.  If it's still not drying out, get a small fan in the cave to get some air circulation. 

Good luck!
If only I could make cheese as well as I grow a mustache...

Online Stinky

  • Mature Cheese
  • ****
  • Location: California
  • Posts: 260
  • Cheeses: 19
Re: My jack cheese. is this okay?
« Reply #5 on: Today at 03:12:36 PM »
Yes, by resalting it you're keeping it wet. I'd just salt it once, after pressing, and then once that dries leave it dry. Right now, you're drawing moisture out like mad, and it's going to be quite salty.
"A man should never be ashamed to own that he has been in the wrong, which is but saying... that he is wiser today than yesterday." - Swift