Author Topic: 7 months old parmesan  (Read 244 times)

Offline AnnDee

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7 months old parmesan
« on: November 06, 2016, 02:58:15 AM »
I made this one 7 months ago with 1 gal raw milk and 3 gallons of P&H milk.
Today out of curiosity I cracked it open. I thought after 7 months it will start to taste nice, oh boy was I wrong!
This one tastes...meh to me. Really nothing to tell about. No sweetness, no umaminess of parmesan I love so much... it has slight tanginess which makes me think may be I put too much culture.
All in all, it smells good but really a dissapointment tastewise.
Do you think it will improve with time or should I not bother at all?
I have limited space in my cave, will move this into the normal fridge if it's a lost cause, I can probably use it in sauces combined with other cheese.
« Last Edit: November 07, 2016, 12:51:26 AM by AnnDee »
Ann

Offline Al Lewis

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Re: 7 months old parmesan
« Reply #1 on: November 06, 2016, 08:56:21 AM »
Still looks a bit damp on the interior Ann.  I'd give it 5 more months in the cave.  12 months is the norm for parms with Canadian parms being aged out to 18 months.
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Offline awakephd

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Re: 7 months old parmesan
« Reply #2 on: November 06, 2016, 02:22:05 PM »
I second Al's recommendation. 12 months is the absolute minimum for a parmesan, in my experience. 24 months is far, far better if you can stand to wait. (Make another one now, so that it can be aging while the first one is being consumed!)
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Offline Frodage3

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Re: 7 months old parmesan
« Reply #3 on: November 06, 2016, 02:59:12 PM »
Hi Ann,
I am so very glad you posted your inquiry. I was planning to crack open my first parm:

http://cheeseforum.org/forum/index.php/topic,15739.msg120314.html#msg120314

quite simply because the aroma is driving me mad! :D It smells so parmesan-y.

It's only been three months, the springiness is gone and the overall look from the outside is attractive. What's not to put me off? In a word, your experience is what has put me off, so thanks and I will keep this one in the cave for another 9 months.

Offline AnnDee

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Re: 7 months old parmesan
« Reply #4 on: November 07, 2016, 12:45:41 AM »
Thank you Al and Andy!

So I vac seal the poor parmesan now and stick it in the back of the cave, I have another one undisturbed (bigger wheel). I will forget about these 2 until next year. Meanwhile, I think I will follow Andy's advice and make another tomorrow (tuesday, cheesemaking day woohoo!).

Ps. How do you wait until 24 months???
Ann

Offline AnnDee

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Re: 7 months old parmesan
« Reply #5 on: November 07, 2016, 12:50:06 AM »
Frodage, I know...right? The aroma is so goodddd, I thought why not open one? Then it went down hill after that...
Your parm is looking good but for now both of us has to practice a little more patience.
Happy waiting. :)
Ann

Offline awakephd

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Re: 7 months old parmesan
« Reply #6 on: November 07, 2016, 04:29:23 PM »
Thank you Al and Andy!

So I vac seal the poor parmesan now and stick it in the back of the cave, I have another one undisturbed (bigger wheel). I will forget about these 2 until next year. Meanwhile, I think I will follow Andy's advice and make another tomorrow (tuesday, cheesemaking day woohoo!).

Ps. How do you wait until 24 months???

I have to confess, I've not waited 24 months for a parma ... but I have waited more than a year, and since I use parmesan fairly slowly, I've still had some left after 24 months -- and the difference in taste between 12 months and 24 months is quite significant.

For me, the key to waiting a long time -- 12 months or more -- is to do a mix of cheeses over time. One week I make a Caerphilly, which is ready as soon as 3 weeks after making. After another week or two, I make camembert or Lancashire, which takes about 6 weeks to mature. The next time around, after another week or two, I make a cheddar or a parma or some other cheese that needs 6 months or longer. By this point, I'm eating the Caerphilly, and by the time it is done, I'll have the Lancashire ready. Maybe I go ahead and make another Lancashire next, so that it will be ready when I use up the last one. But then I make another long-aging cheese or two, since I've got cheeses in the pipeline for consumption -- maybe an Asiago (good at 3 months, even better at 6) or a swiss (needs at least 4 months in my experience). Then another Lancashire or Caerphilly or Camembert to keep the pipeline going. And so on ... keep up a rotation like this, and before you know it, that cheddar has been in there for 6 months (the minimum needed for a cheddar, in my opinion) ... and after a while, you remember, "oh, yeah - that parma has been in there for a year now ..." :)

Also in the rotation for me, but much more rarely, is a Gorgonzola - this is another cheese that lasts a LONG time for me, since I'm the only one who likes it in the family, and I mostly eat it on salads. So I may only make one per year. Speaking of which ... it is about time for me to make another one, so it will be ready in 3 months or so, when the current one is about used up.
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Offline Frodage3

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Re: 7 months old parmesan
« Reply #7 on: November 07, 2016, 07:28:58 PM »
Andy - that is a great schedule of events. Do you by any chance have a Gantt chart for it?

Offline AnnDee

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Re: 7 months old parmesan
« Reply #8 on: November 07, 2016, 11:56:15 PM »
Andy, that is a great rotation indeed.
I am eating my Jarlsberg, Tomme and Hispanico at the moment and lots of caprese salad as I am making mozzarella quite often now (I think I finally got the hang of trad mozzarella, phew...).
I will be hunting for your recipe of Lancashire now, I don't think I have made this one before. As for gorgonzola, I'm afraid I am the only one who eats it also :)
Ann

Offline awakephd

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Re: 7 months old parmesan
« Reply #9 on: November 08, 2016, 12:15:04 PM »
Frodage, no Gantt chart, sorry. It's more of a gut decision based on what I feel like making, how much cheese is in the pipeline, what haven't I made for a while, how much time I have to work with, etc. :)

Ann, here is a "tutorial" on Lancashire, including recipe and lots of pictures, that I put together a while back: http://cheeseforum.org/forum/index.php/topic,14315.msg108963.html#msg108963. Note that each step is in a different post in the thread - to keep a single post from getting too long.

I should note that this recipe is quite forgiving; that plus the relatively short ripening period makes it a great candidate for experimenting - trying different blends of cultures, cheddaring for shorter or longer time periods, salting at higher or lower pH levels, etc. It's also a cheese that you can add lipase to without getting overwhelmed - the relatively short aging keeps the taste from becoming radioactive, though I would caution to use a LITTLE bit only. This is also a cheese that works extremely well with an olive oil and spice rub - I like to use smoked paprika as the spice, using a pretty heavy layer. This results in a cheese that tastes like it has been smoked, even though it hasn't.

I ought to mention that these days I make this just a bit differently. First, I use direct heat rather than the double-boiler approach -- I'm now doing direct heat with all of my makes, having experimented and found that I can achieve equal (or even better) results with low settings on the ceramic-smooth-top stove and a pot with a heavy bottom. Second, I usually add the CaCl first, before anything else, while the milk is warming up - I've still never been able to decide whether I think it makes any difference at all whether it is added before or after the ripening stage. Finally, I usually sprinkle the cultures on when the milk gets to about 80°; by the time it reaches the target of 88-90°, it is ready to stir in.

Enjoy!
« Last Edit: November 08, 2016, 12:24:31 PM by awakephd »
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Offline AnnDee

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Re: 7 months old parmesan
« Reply #10 on: November 09, 2016, 08:52:41 AM »
Thanks Andy.
I made another parm today, any pointer how to effectively separate cream from raw milk? I siffoned it out but I think the milk still had a lot of cream in it.

I am taking notes on your Lancashire, I don't think I have MD 089...will MD088 be suitable?
I am planning to make it next week.
Thank you again.
Ann

Offline awakephd

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Re: 7 months old parmesan
« Reply #11 on: November 09, 2016, 12:53:13 PM »
Ann, I am afraid that, sadly, I have very little experience with non-homogenized milk, so no pointers from personal experience. But of course, not really knowing never stops me from offering my thoughts ... :) My sense is that 1) most people "skim" the cream off the top of the milk, after letting it separate (thus the name "skim milk"), and 2) I don't think you want the milk to be entirely free of fat - as best I recall, parmas are generally made with milk having 2-2.5% fat content, or something like that. (Better check that before taking my word for it, since I'm going on fuzzy memory ...)

As for the MD088 instead of 089 -- actually they are the same culture blend, just using slightly different strains or subspecies or something like that. The idea is that, in a commercial operation, they will rotate among various strains of a given culture over time to prevent problems that can occur with large-scale use of the same culture all the time. (Not sure exactly what those problems might be ... build up of "resistance" to a given strain??) Thus, Danisco offers MA011, MA012, MA013 ... all the same culture, but slightly different strains. Likewise they offer MD088 and MD089, and MA4001 and MA4002, and so on.

And again, this is a very forgiving cheese, good for experimenting. If you don't have MA011 and/or MD088 and/or TA061, don't hesitate to use other mesophilic blends. For example, MA4001 (or MA4002) would be a good blend to try with this. Flora Danica would work as well, but will acidify much more slowly, so may benefit from longer cheddaring. And there are any number of others ....
-- Andy

Offline AnnDee

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Re: 7 months old parmesan
« Reply #12 on: November 09, 2016, 06:03:24 PM »
Thanks Andy!
I'll let you know how it goes next week :)
Ann