Author Topic: Opinions on why this cheese looks like this  (Read 215 times)

Offline amiriliano

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Opinions on why this cheese looks like this
« on: October 21, 2014, 09:43:35 AM »
Hi all-

This is a Grana Padano made with 1.5% non UP cow, made with Caldwell recipe. This was taken after 2 days of air drying. It has this yellow/ white mottled look and is cracking. I think I overcooked the curds by 1-2 hours while stirring.

Any other ideas?

Is there any way to seal these cracks at this point?

TIA!


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Offline ArnaudForestier

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Re: Opinions on why this cheese looks like this
« Reply #1 on: October 21, 2014, 10:03:17 AM »
The cracking I'd venture is because your drying room was too low in humidity.  I try to maintain 70-75% during any drying.  What was your RH?  As to healing the crack, a bit tough now that the wheel has hardened up.  You might try oil or wax, to prevent air entry as much as possible. 

You overcooked by 1-2 hours?  How long did you cook the cheese?  Did you use a sample and test, with your hands or a sieve, something to get a feel of the curds?

The yellow and white mottling, I get this as well.  It settles out.   
- Paul

Offline amiriliano

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Re: Opinions on why this cheese looks like this
« Reply #2 on: October 21, 2014, 11:15:00 AM »
OK yeah - it is drying in my kitchen which is closer to 60% RH. With the wax - do you mean I should drip wax into the cracks?

So I mistimed the cook day and got stuck doing something more urgent which left the cut curds in the vat way too long. They were tiny curds (correct for grana) but very very dry and crumbly.

Offline ArnaudForestier

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Re: Opinions on why this cheese looks like this
« Reply #3 on: October 21, 2014, 11:56:04 AM »
OK yeah - it is drying in my kitchen which is closer to 60% RH. With the wax - do you mean I should drip wax into the cracks?

That's what I would do, that or oil - anything to prevent air from getting to the inside of the wheel.  Blue mold attack

So I mistimed the cook day and got stuck doing something more urgent which left the cut curds in the vat way too long. They were tiny curds (correct for grana) but very very dry and crumbly.

Ah.  Bummer.  Well, age it out and see what you come up with, I'd say.  Though with that much moisture loss, I'm not sure how you're acid curve went.  Did you check pH or acidity during the press and after?
- Paul

Offline amiriliano

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Re: Opinions on why this cheese looks like this
« Reply #4 on: October 21, 2014, 12:47:27 PM »
No. Honestly, I didn't want to know because I'm sure I went way past the goal. Guess we shall see what this comes out like. New kind of Grana variety?


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Offline Sailor Con Queso

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Re: Opinions on why this cheese looks like this
« Reply #5 on: October 21, 2014, 12:53:27 PM »
The mottled look is from uneven drying with the lighter color still being too moist. Yes, this is in part because of the low humidity in your drying area, but that is exacerbated by the overcooked curds. If you didn't stir frequently enough, there will be uneven moisture gradients throughout the cheese. The cracks formed because of the dry curds and under-pressing. You can NOT wax, oil, or vac bag until the moisture evens out some more, but I would drizzle vinegar with a little salt into the cracks to ward off molds. Did you brine or direct salt this cheese?
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Offline amiriliano

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Re: Opinions on why this cheese looks like this
« Reply #6 on: October 21, 2014, 01:00:55 PM »
I brined for 18 hours in saturated brine per recipe

Offline ArnaudForestier

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Re: Opinions on why this cheese looks like this
« Reply #7 on: October 21, 2014, 01:24:37 PM »
To clarify, I'm not talking about treating the entire wheel - merely the cracks.  And here, I'm going to have to disagree with Sailor.  Some recommend salted or unsalted butter, some oil or wax, even lard. 

On taking another look at your cheese, I agree with Sailor that the mottling is due to uneven cook, somehow - some curds have experienced greater syneresis than others, usually due to uneven cutting, or hot spots - which can happen with not stirring enough.  The mottling is actually causing physical ridges and valleys, which I didn't pay enough attention to on my first look.  The mottling I'm talking about is an even, fully knit surface, but some patches of white and more yellow coloration may show up.  I don't usually see this out of the press, but will see it at times after 24 hours rest in the cellar, before brining. 



Something like this - hard to tell, but you can see a yellow/white gradient in places on the Parmesan wheel.

« Last Edit: October 21, 2014, 01:31:07 PM by ArnaudForestier »
- Paul

Offline amiriliano

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Re: Opinions on why this cheese looks like this
« Reply #8 on: October 21, 2014, 09:29:06 PM »
Wow. OK. Well thank you both for your valuable input. I ended up using a fine non-iodized salt (canning salt) to fill in all the cracks. It seems to have worked nicely. Put it in the cave tonight and I'll check to see if the salt needs to be re-inserted.

Offline ArnaudForestier

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Re: Opinions on why this cheese looks like this
« Reply #9 on: October 23, 2014, 04:00:09 PM »
Good luck, amiriliano  :)
- Paul


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Offline John@PC

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Re: Opinions on why this cheese looks like this
« Reply #10 on: Yesterday at 06:34:59 AM »
You can NOT wax, oil, or vac bag until the moisture evens out some more, but I would drizzle vinegar with a little salt into the cracks to ward off molds. Did you brine or direct salt this cheese?
Just a small disagreement with this Sailor but it does come from personal experience (meager as it is compared to yours): Anytime I have cracks form in my pressed cheese while in the cave I coat it with coconut oil (non-virgin), cracks and all.  I don't know what the moisture transmission rate of coconut oil is but I would think that because of the thinness of the coating it still should allow moisture to even out.  At least it does for me as my coconut oiled cheeses seem to be the best aging and lowest maintenance cheeses, maybe with the exception of those with the "Alps schmeir" ;).  Also if you're putting dry salt in there amiriliano you will prevent mold but it may make the paste desiccate and open the cracks more so you want to keep an eye on it.  Good luck as well.

Offline ArnaudForestier

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Re: Opinions on why this cheese looks like this
« Reply #11 on: Yesterday at 07:31:00 AM »
Also if you're putting dry salt in there amiriliano you will prevent mold but it may make the paste desiccate and open the cracks more so you want to keep an eye on it.  Good luck as well.

That was my concern as well, John.  Will be interesting to see.  Amiriliano, please keep us posted, will you?
- Paul

Offline Sailor Con Queso

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Re: Opinions on why this cheese looks like this
« Reply #12 on: Yesterday at 08:23:01 AM »
I don't use coconut oil, but it does breathe so I'm sure that would work. Note that I suggested using a salty vinegar solution, NOT pure salt. I personally would have just used Natamax to prevent molding, but most hobbyists don't have that available. It also is worth dipping the wheel in really hot water and then repressing to try and seal the cracks.
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Offline John@PC

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Re: Opinions on why this cheese looks like this
« Reply #13 on: Yesterday at 09:57:58 AM »
Note that I suggested using a salty vinegar solution, NOT pure salt. I personally would have just used Natamax to prevent molding, but most hobbyists don't have that available. It also is worth dipping the wheel in really hot water and then repressing to try and seal the cracks.
I did see it was a solution and although I haven't tried it I will next time to deal with any mold that may have gotten into the crack.  Is Natamax the same thing as Paracoat?  I think they both have natamycin for the mold protection?