Author Topic: Cheddar Progress  (Read 1303 times)

Offline Wayne Harris

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Cheddar Progress
« on: January 24, 2009, 08:55:55 AM »

I have 3 (4lb) older Cheddars that I repackaged in vaccum bags this morning.
11/23/08
11/27/08
12/1/08

I also took the time to take a nick out them and sample them.

Some background on these: I made these rather recklessly, in that i did not even measure pH,  did not control temperature well, and my times for scalding and stirring were mere approximations.

I will tell you that these cheeses are completely, (and i mean worlds apart) cheeses.

Every attribute has wild swings from cheese to cheese.  The one that got too hot during the cheddaring phase is tangy, almost sour.  The one i pressed a bit early, still has moisture and has a wonderful creamy texture. The one that i did first,  I did not scald long enough (was in a hurry) and the flavor never developed.  Its firm, but quite bland.
 
Also, the importance of flipping the cheese was also noticeable as the curds knit fantastic on the side that contacted the follower and there was an open curd on the opposite.


My lesson learned is that the key to consistant cheese making is...  well, lets be honest,  knowing what you are doing.... :)  I clearly did not/do not know.

But a developing a consistant operational process seems to be key. (at least to me)  A process that understands the reasons each phase of cheesemaking begins and ends.  The ability to recognize and act on those things that mark the boundary of each phase.  And these phases being designed produce a specific cheese product.  (a "sharp" cheddar, a "creamy" Havarti, or a "mild" emmentaler)

These are just my thoughts. These processes here are what I think about constantly.  I just thought i would share my failures.




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Offline Likesspace

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Re: Cheddar Progress
« Reply #1 on: January 24, 2009, 10:48:57 AM »
Wayne, great post and thanks for the information.
All I can add is that I wish all of my "failures" looked that good!
Honestly, this is a very good, thought provoking read.

Dave

Offline Tea

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Re: Cheddar Progress
« Reply #2 on: January 24, 2009, 02:34:24 PM »
Excellent post Wayne, and it is not until we make a mistake in doing something, that we learn the why's and wherefore's in making something.  We do it because that's what we are told to do, not realising the it is in fact an important step in the process.

So I would assume from these three that you have picked out the characters that you would like to see in your next cheese, and will try those steps to see if they work again?

Offline Cartierusm

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Re: Cheddar Progress
« Reply #3 on: January 24, 2009, 08:09:42 PM »
Good tip Tea, Wayne what will you try differently next time?
Life is like a box of chocolates sometimes too much rennet makes you kill people.

Offline Wayne Harris

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Re: Cheddar Progress
« Reply #4 on: January 26, 2009, 08:13:10 AM »
It took me a while to think about things,  but here are my initial thoughts on what do do with this. I've broken it down into a couple components. (There are more, but I will address these now.)

Flavor and Texture:
I came across this:
"The manufacture of Cheddar cheese is more dependent on uniform starter activity than that of washed curd cheeses, such as Gouda. The proper rate of acid development, particularly before the whey is drained from the curd, is essential if the required chemical composition of the cheese is to be obtained. However, the curd is’ cooked’ to expel moisture at a temperature that normally adversely affects the starter bacteria. The cheesemaker must therefore exert judgment to ensure that the desired acid development in the curd is reached at about the same time as the required moisture content."

That being said, here are my tasks:
  • I think I need to pay very careful attention to the rate at which my pH falls and my cooking rate temperature.  These two targets need to be achieved at the same time. 
  • I needto control my cook time,  I need my cook phase to reach the required temperature in the timeframe required to properly dry the curd, while being mindful of the acid development.  (waiting too long for the cook will result in high acidity and a crumbly cheese.)

Moisture:
More from my readings:
"The size distribution of the particles at draining is one of the key factors for controlling the moisture content of cheese. The larger the particles, the more moisture that is retained.That combined with a steps to preserve a larger curd size. (more moisture entrapped in the gel and a moister end product.)"

My tasks:
I need to do those things that ensure that my curd size be maximized. See the "healing time" thread.  This, combined with CaCL2 and Rennet adjustments will maximize my curd size.  My target goal at this point will be to minimize those curds that are <7.5 MM in size. 
Wayne A. Harris - in vino veritas


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Offline Mary Ruth

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Re: Cheddar Progress
« Reply #5 on: January 30, 2009, 10:42:46 AM »
Hi Wayne

I am pretty new to cheesemaking and have reading and "trying" to teach myself.  I thought your posts were really informative.  I was wondering if you use ph strips or what?  I am still in the soft cheese stage as a baby cheesemaker but will soon try some cheddar.  How did you figure your ph?

Thanks :) for any info!

Mary Ruth

Offline Wayne Harris

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Re: Cheddar Progress
« Reply #6 on: January 30, 2009, 11:25:04 AM »
I am a winemaker, and as such pH is a big part of my hobbies.

I bought an electronic pH meter.  They are inexpensive, and when calibrated,  the are accurate.

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Offline Likesspace

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Re: Cheddar Progress
« Reply #7 on: January 31, 2009, 05:29:48 PM »
Wayne...
Just curious, what PH meter do you use, and where did you buy yours?
I'm starting to think that I need to take another step in turning out a better cheese.
I've always gone by the recipe instructions and the feel of the curd but I'm beginning to think that keeping a close eye on PH readings is an important step.
Thanks in advance..

Dave

Offline Wayne Harris

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Re: Cheddar Progress
« Reply #8 on: January 31, 2009, 06:54:24 PM »
<--click me
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Offline LadyLiberty

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Re: Cheddar Progress
« Reply #9 on: January 31, 2009, 11:17:04 PM »
What PH is ideal, Wayne, and how do you manipulate it?


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Offline Wayne Harris

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Re: Cheddar Progress
« Reply #10 on: February 01, 2009, 02:47:15 AM »
pH levels are different between cheeses, and different between each phase of the process, and different depending on temperature.

pH is a good indication of the acidification of cheeses like cheddar. That, combined with curd size and cooking time, will greatly affect the final texture, aroma, and taste of the final cheese.

a pH meter, in that case, is like a thermometer. Its just a way to regulate your recipe.


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Offline LadyLiberty

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Re: Cheddar Progress
« Reply #11 on: February 01, 2009, 03:54:05 AM »
pH levels are different between cheeses, and different between each phase of the process, and different depending on temperature.

pH is a good indication of the acidification of cheeses like cheddar. That, combined with curd size and cooking time, will greatly affect the final texture, aroma, and taste of the final cheese.

a pH meter, in that case, is like a thermometer. Its just a way to regulate your recipe.




Is there a chart out there that tells you the ideal PH for various cheeses then?  And if it's too high, how do you bring it back down? 

Offline Cartierusm

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Re: Cheddar Progress
« Reply #12 on: February 02, 2009, 01:38:17 AM »
Joy, be patient we all are working on this. I've stated collecting ripening and final PH levels from books and the web and I'm still confiring with some professors to figure some of those very same questions.

Wayne, can you post a close up pic of your PH meter's tip? Is the probe tip fairly small, meaning can it be put into a cheese without too much damage and get a reading on a cheese that's allready pressed

P.S. Wayne I wish my vacuum bags would hold my huge wheels, makes it easier to check on them, then I could open them up if any moisture collects.
Life is like a box of chocolates sometimes too much rennet makes you kill people.

Offline LadyLiberty

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Re: Cheddar Progress
« Reply #13 on: February 02, 2009, 05:08:19 AM »
Joy, be patient we all are working on this. I've stated collecting ripening and final PH levels from books and the web and I'm still confiring with some professors to figure some of those very same questions.

Wayne, can you post a close up pic of your PH meter's tip? Is the probe tip fairly small, meaning can it be put into a cheese without too much damage and get a reading on a cheese that's allready pressed

P.S. Wayne I wish my vacuum bags would hold my huge wheels, makes it easier to check on them, then I could open them up if any moisture collects.

I'm patient.  I don't even understand what I don't know yet!  Or what I should know.  Or what other people should know.  I've been told in here there's no such thing as a dumb question...