Author Topic: Cheddar, First - Several Questions  (Read 991 times)

Offline akhalpin

  • Young Cheese
  • **
  • Location: Mead, WA
  • Posts: 9
  • Cheeses: 0
Cheddar, First - Several Questions
« on: October 01, 2011, 01:22:52 PM »
I just made my first cheddar a couple of days ago.  I experienced some problems and would like to know what to do differently when I try again a couple days from now.  I hope someone can help.

1. Unsure if I used the correct amount of culture.  I started with 3.5 gallons of milk.  I was using an MA culture from Dairy Connections.  The recipe I was using (one I found posted here) said to use a little less than one teaspon of culture for 3-4 gallons of milk.  Does this sound correct? What happens if I used too much/too little?

2. After I cut the cheese I let it rest 5 minutes (per the goat milk cheddar instructions).  Then I stirred gently but by that point it was already starting to stick back together and I had to recut and recut.  I continued to struggle with it matting the whole time I was raising the temperature.  The Wiki recipe said to stir every few minutes to keep the curds from matting but I pretty much had to stir almost constantly to keep this from happening.  What did I do wrong?

3. The Wiki recipe was for 1 gallon of milk and said to press at 50 lbs.  I started with 3.5 gallons so I pressed with 70 lbs.  Was this enough?  When I was done the cheese still "gave" when I pressed on it.  Does this mean I didn't use enough weight?

4. My cheese is air drying now and has developed moldy spots.   Does this mean my environment :-\ is too humid?  Or is this normal?  Should I wipe down with vinegar and salt the whole thing?  Or what??

Thank you so much.


Guests, join the CheeseForum.org community to remove this ad.


Offline Cloversmilker

  • Mature Cheese
  • ****
  • Location: Willamette Valley, Oregon
  • Posts: 253
  • Cheeses: 16
  • Default personal text
Re: Cheddar, First - Several Questions
« Reply #1 on: October 01, 2011, 05:12:41 PM »
It isn't unusual for some mold to develop while drying.  I scrape the mold off with a knife blade, and wipe with salt or brine.  Vinegar and salt is good too. 

Offline gemma.tyson

  • Medium Cheese
  • ***
  • Location: Victoria, Australia
  • Posts: 83
  • Cheeses: 1
  • Default personal text
Re: Cheddar, First - Several Questions
« Reply #2 on: October 01, 2011, 05:26:17 PM »
Hi Akhalpin.
Only fairly new to cheesemaking myself.  It really helps the gurus if you post your recipe so they have an indication of what you have done. 
Did you keep a record of your temperatures and all your making records?
I find it useful to record it on the forum, this way I can always go back and check what I did last time.
My first few cheeses all tasted sharp and strong, but hey a lot of people like cheese like that.  When you make it yourself it doesn't seem to matter.
Mould is an ongoing problem for me as well.  Keep a close eye on it and keep removing those initial blue spots until you get a white dusting on it which will help to protect your cheese from the other nasties.  Your humidity may be a little high as well.
Hopefully one of the gurus will give you some better advice, they are really great.  Good luck and keep trying.

Offline akhalpin

  • Young Cheese
  • **
  • Location: Mead, WA
  • Posts: 9
  • Cheeses: 0
Re: Cheddar, First - Several Questions
« Reply #3 on: October 01, 2011, 06:18:06 PM »
The mold I have is white and dark gray, not blue.  I always understood dark mold like that to be bad, bad, bad.

Offline smolt1

  • Mature Cheese
  • ****
  • Location: oregon
  • Posts: 159
  • Cheeses: 15
  • Default personal text
    • SturdyPress.com
Re: Cheddar, First - Several Questions
« Reply #4 on: October 01, 2011, 06:45:31 PM »
For your pressing weight question:  The recipe called for 50 lbs of pressing weight for 1 gallon of milk, that probably assumes a 4 inch diameter mold.  That is about 4 PSI of pressure on the cheese. For 3 1/2 gallons of milk you probably used a larger diameter mold. To get the required 4 PSI you will need more weight. If your mold is 5 inch diameter you will need 78 lbs  pressing weight, if it is 6 inch diameter you will need 115 lbs  pressing weight. The temperature you press at is also important. There is a press calculator on the forum that you can download to calculate your pressing parameters.


Guests, join the CheeseForum.org community to remove this ad.


Offline smilingcalico

  • A picture is worth a thousand words; but a cheese should leave you speechless.
  • Old Cheese
  • *****
  • Location: Northern California
  • Posts: 674
  • Cheeses: 26
    • Artisan Cheesemaker
Re: Cheddar, First - Several Questions
« Reply #5 on: October 01, 2011, 11:43:59 PM »
Relating to culture, saying a teaspoon (or a little less) isn't the end of the world, but culture strength varies from culture house to culture house, and even varies from lot to lot within each house.  For instance, the culture I use comes in foil bags to culture 1250 liters of milk.  The bags from different lot numbers vary in weight by as much as 3 grams.  So, I calculate by weight as opposed to amount for much more accuracy and consistent results. 
  It sounds like your curds either hadn't firmed up enough, so stuck together quickly, or maybe the curd wasn't as well set before the initial cutting.  Research flocculation on the forum to help you better to determine when to cut.  As to stirring, I personally stir constantly.  It helps prevent curd matting, as well as makes sure all the curds are heating at the same rate.  More importantly, constant stirring prevents me from getting distracted and coming back ten minutes later when I thought only 5 had passed.
The pressing regimen as Smolt1 addressed, is pretty important to follow for established cheese types.  Also, how long did you press for?
Mold is a struggle for nearly all cheesemakers.  Why isn't it a struggle for all of them? Because, some of us believe in a natural rind.  I am mostly a gouda maker, but the same would be true for me if I was mostly a cheddar maker: I don't fuss over any mold that makes its home on my cheese.  Mold adds flavor.  I rarely have cheese succumb to mold (maybe 1 out of a thousand).  The most I do is dry brush each wheel before sale, or for one of my flavors, I oil it just before sale to make the color of the rind pop out.
If you're looking for a bit of rind protection, Web master John adds just a tiny amount of GC to his makes to help keep other molds off.  I haven't asked him personally how well it works, I just know that's what he does.
I hope I helped, but take it all with a grain of salt.
www.brianackerly.com
Website of an Artisan Cheesemaker.

Offline cheesequeen

  • Medium Cheese
  • ***
  • Location: Sunny Southern California
  • Posts: 46
  • Cheeses: 0
  • Default personal text
Re: Cheddar, First - Several Questions
« Reply #6 on: October 03, 2011, 10:59:42 AM »
Hi, I am also new. This is my first hard cheese. I just did a blog on my Farmhouse Cheddar #1 last week. See my step by step process I did ( some advise I followed from the forum and also from the Cheese Guru Linuxboy) I used Farmhouse Cheddar stir curd method from 200 Easy Made Cheese book except I added one cup of cream from Dr. Jill Farmhouse recipe #4.
My blog is "equivalent measure Ricki Carroll book" and the other is "reveal day9/25" . It was time consuming doing the blog but it helped me and I hope others see how things happenned and uncertainties during one day of cheesemaking madness.
So far my two cheeses now are doing well ( thank God) in my mini fridge, no molds ( keeping my fingers cross) and looking and checking everyday. So nice to see they are happy.
 Just a little patience and you can do it.  8)
Thanks to all Happy Cheesemakers.

Offline akhalpin

  • Young Cheese
  • **
  • Location: Mead, WA
  • Posts: 9
  • Cheeses: 0
Re: Cheddar, First - Several Questions
« Reply #7 on: October 03, 2011, 11:51:36 PM »
OK...more mold.  It is really more like black mildew.   And there were some spots of something developing that was redish.  Not good.  Below is a photo.  The faint red spots don't show up but you can see the black.  It has been drying on a cake rack and the mold/mildew is forming where it is sitting on the rack.

So this is what I think is wrong....I didn't press it with nearly enough pressure.  I used 80 pounds and according to an earlier post, at 4psi I shgould have used nearly 200lbs because my mold is 8 inches in diameter (I would have used something smaller but it is what I had and I can't afford to buy something else right now).  My cheese is weeping.  :(   I think the salt I have put on it to inhibit the mold is partially causing this...in addition to the fact that the pressure was inadequate.  So of course it is wet and that just leads to more mold.

I have taken the entire outer layer of the cheese off with a cheese knife.  Wiped it down with vinegar and salted it again.  I was hoping to have waxed it several days ago but I don't think it is dry enough...may never be dry enough.  Should I just eat it as a fresh cheese?  It actually reminds me of mozerella in flavor.   Should I give it to the dog?  Can I age a too wet cheese with any success?  Could I brine it....what would I get?

Offline fied

  • Mature Cheese
  • ****
  • Location: Glasgow, Scotland
  • Posts: 140
  • Cheeses: 5
  • Default personal text
Re: Cheddar, First - Several Questions
« Reply #8 on: October 04, 2011, 03:16:47 AM »
If it's been sitting on a metal cake rack, those may well be rust marks or acid reaction marks. Best to rest it on a plastic draining mat, or on wood when drying. Your cheese will weep for about a week to 10 days after the make. That's fine. Just turn it once a day and mop off the moisture from the uppermost face of the rind.

Offline dthelmers

  • Mature Cheese
  • ****
  • Location: Meriden, CT. USA
  • Posts: 486
  • Cheeses: 27
    • Homely Arts
Re: Cheddar, First - Several Questions
« Reply #9 on: October 04, 2011, 07:59:25 AM »
Akhalpin,
Are you sure that it is mildew? I got marks like that on my cheese when I put it directly on a rack. It's a stain caused by the acid reacting with metal. I tried using a plastic mesh under the cheese, but it seemed to collect a bit of moisture. I've now gone to a box of straw with a piece of clean cheesecloth over it to keep pieces of straw from sticking to it, and then the rack with the plastic mat after a couple of days. It seems to take a full week for my cheeses to dry in my house.
Dave in CT


Guests, join the CheeseForum.org community to remove this ad.