Author Topic: Tasted my first hard cheese, a farmhouse! It was horrible. Any advice?  (Read 1531 times)

Offline rattman

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Hi all,

Here are the specifics.... these are my personal notes:

Cheese Name   Farmhouse cheddar (you tube)         
Date   12/12/2011         
            
Ingredients   Qty         
Milk   2 Gal         
Culture   1/4 tsp   MA 011      
rennet   1/2 tsp         
calcium chloride   1/2 tsp         

Procedure   Step Time   Total Time   Temp   Ph
Heat Milk to 86-88   30   30   87   6.9
Add Calcium Chloride   1   31   87   6.9
Add Culture   5   36   87   6.9
Let Culture Ripen (40-60)   40   127   87   6.7
Accidentally put right in fridge after pressing instead of air dry.            
Did 2 weeks at 65% RH and then into tupperware for last two weeks.            
Vac sealed on 12-28-11 and into cave @ 55 degrees.

I know it has only been 3.5 weeks since I vac sealed the cheese, but the recipe said it could be enjoyed in as little as a month... so I figured that I was ok. I know longer is better, but this cheese was horrible.

Tasted the cheese over the weekend and it was horrible! My girlfriend described the taste as rancid. :(

Here are a few observations.

Within a week I noticed a small amount of whey in the foodsaver bag. I did not immediately cut open the bag and dry off the cheese because it did not appear to be a significant amount. When I actully cut the bag open to try the cheese 1-22-12 I'm guessing about 3 tbs of whey came out. So the cheese was soaking in that whey for the past 3 1/2 weeks. Could that have killed my cheese??

The cheese actually looked very nice. Nice consistency and kind of flakey. No mold that I could see.

Also, I did not initially air dry the cheese at room temp for a day or so as the recipe called for. Live and learn.

So.... hoping that the cheese will taste better in a few months, I have resealed it and put back into the cave for a few more months.

Did I majorly screw up the recipe or was it just not aged enough?

I also have a Cheshire vac sealed, a gouda, and a cantal.

I just had a swiss sitting out for about 3 weeks at room temp.
I don't see any eyes but I think it needs to go into the cave now.
Should I vac seal it or just leave it in its natural rind?

Thanks all!!   


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Offline Tomer1

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Re: Tasted my first hard cheese, a farmhouse! It was horrible. Any advice?
« Reply #1 on: January 26, 2012, 12:14:39 AM »
Quote
My girlfriend described the taste as rancid
Sounds like some kind of spoilage (which aging wont fix).
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Offline smilingcalico

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Re: Tasted my first hard cheese, a farmhouse! It was horrible. Any advice?
« Reply #2 on: January 26, 2012, 12:21:51 AM »
This is my biggest gripe about vac ageing.  Whey out.  What I would suggest is to crack that bag back open.  Trim off what normally would be rind, then let it air out for an hour before tasting again. 
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Offline zenith1

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Re: Tasted my first hard cheese, a farmhouse! It was horrible. Any advice?
« Reply #3 on: January 26, 2012, 07:56:49 AM »
Hi Rattman- can't really discern a whole lot form you make note. I think that you have already thought this through and realize the air dry step that you missed was critical. I think the extra trapped whey is the culprit. The wheels as you probably already know need to be dried 2-3 days before going to the aging area-pretty dry to the touch. That trapped whey in the bag was your key. That said I think 3 weeks is too early for a Farm House Cheddar. I think that you should wait 5-6 weeks as a minimum before cutting into them. You can try drying out and cutting off any areas that look spoiled and re-aging the wheel, you might improve it. As far as the swiss, you won't(hopefully) see any eyes on the exterior of the wheel. And herein lies the problem with eye formation. The small wheel size of the typical home variety does not contain the gasses well enough for really good eye formation. I think the wheel really need to approach 10lbs in size for you to be really happy with the eye formation. In the case of your wheel I would vacuum pack it earlier than later to help keep a nice dense rind. You did the initial ripening at a cooler temperature correct? Then moved back to room temperature?
Keith

Offline dthelmers

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Re: Tasted my first hard cheese, a farmhouse! It was horrible. Any advice?
« Reply #4 on: January 26, 2012, 08:12:32 AM »
Rattman,
What was the rest of your make? Stirring schedule, cheddaring, milling and salting, pressing schedule? Any of these might have effected it. Sounds like too much whey left in the cheese.
Dave in CT


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Offline rattman

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Re: Tasted my first hard cheese, a farmhouse! It was horrible. Any advice?
« Reply #5 on: January 26, 2012, 04:00:37 PM »
Thanks everyone.

Yes... I noticed that my make notes got all messed up above. Sorry about that.

Basically I followed the directions from the you tube link from Shepard's School:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=91COo5YjGho

I think the whey in the bag must have been the problem and was also likely a result of me not air drying before going into the cave.

I'm a bit nervous about foodsaver bags now.... but so many people here swear by them, I'm going to wait on some of the other cheeses before making a final judgement.

Oh well.... it was my first hard cheese. The others all look and smell good at this point. I'm not giving up yet!! :)

Offline zenith1

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Re: Tasted my first hard cheese, a farmhouse! It was horrible. Any advice?
« Reply #6 on: January 26, 2012, 05:56:55 PM »
no harm-no foul. Just give it another go!
Keith

Offline MrsKK

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Re: Tasted my first hard cheese, a farmhouse! It was horrible. Any advice?
« Reply #7 on: January 28, 2012, 09:49:20 AM »
I've found that it is best to age cheeses for at least 2-3 months before they go in the vacuum sealer.  I think that the air exchange that they get during that time frame helps a lot with flavor, plus it avoids the whey seepage issue.

After the initial drying phase, I coat my cheese wheels with lard or butter to help prevent too much drying out and then vac seal them at no early than 2 months old.  I generally don't even seal them up now until after I cut into the wheel.

And, yes, allow your cheese to breathe for 30 minutes to an hour before you taste it.  Odd flavors and odors are significant in a freshly cut cheese, but can dissipate in the breathing time.

Offline zenith1

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Re: Tasted my first hard cheese, a farmhouse! It was horrible. Any advice?
« Reply #8 on: January 28, 2012, 12:47:09 PM »
I agree with Karen whole heartily. If you are going to vacuum bag,and it's a great option for long term aging, the wheels are best aged with naturally rind for a couple of months at least.
Keith

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Re: Tasted my first hard cheese, a farmhouse! It was horrible. Any advice?
« Reply #9 on: January 28, 2012, 06:26:35 PM »
Good feedback from all.

I would add that I have, in the past, followed proper procedures, vacuum-bagged and still found accumulated whey in the bag. When found, I open the bag and either dry the cheese and bag and rebag it or replace with a new bag. I then seal the bag and pop the cheese back into the cave.

I've sampled a number of cheeses from iGourmet and quite a few cheeses come with some degree of moisture (whey) in the vacuum-sealed bag. IMHO, as long as you're vigilant and perform proper maintenance of your cheeses (turning, washing, wiping, rubbing, brushing, misting, drying, etc.) they should come out okay.

And it probably was too early to sample.  ;)

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Offline rattman

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Re: Tasted my first hard cheese, a farmhouse! It was horrible. Any advice?
« Reply #10 on: January 31, 2012, 04:06:12 PM »
This is all great advice.

I waited one month and the vac sealed several of my 2 lb cheeses last week. A gouda, a swiss, a nd a cantal.

I should probably cut them all open and let them breath for another month if that is your advice.

I aalready cut the gouda out wiped it down and let it sit a day in the cave before bagging it a second time. Been a few days.... just went and checked the bag again aand I'll be darned.... a tiny amount of whey when I pull the bag away from the cheesse.

funny thing though.... i put the gouda back in the cheese cave after removing the vac seal bag the first time for about 2 days. (not in tupperware... so about 60% RH) The cheese was actually starting to crack just a bit on the outside so I thought... this cheese HAS to be dry enough to vac seal.

Guess I was wrong.

Should ALL hard cheeses have a natural rind before vac sealing?

My problem is... in tupperware with lid cracked RH @ 78% My cheese does not seem to be creating a rind after one month.
I just get a ton of mold that needs to be wiped off w brine every other day, but the outside of the cheese  is not getting any harder yet.

Thanks all!!

Offline rattman

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Re: Tasted my first hard cheese, a farmhouse! It was horrible. Any advice?
« Reply #11 on: January 31, 2012, 04:39:39 PM »
On another note.... Boofer you were talkng about proper aging techniques.

I usually clean off all cheeses with brine and cheese cloth roughly every 2 days.
I then wipe them clean with regular water and pat dry with paper towel.

Then flipped and back in the tupperware in the cave @ 78% RH.

Am I missing anything? You talked about rubbing, brushing, and misting.
I have not read about those techniques in the past.
Can you elaborate??

Thanks Boofer!!

Offline MrsKK

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Re: Tasted my first hard cheese, a farmhouse! It was horrible. Any advice?
« Reply #12 on: February 01, 2012, 07:27:00 AM »
The cracking on your gouda is probably due to the fact that the inside is much moister than the outside.  Outside dries too quickly = cracked rind.

After 3-4 weeks of being in the ripening container and having to battle mold issues, I just take the cheese out of the ripening container, clean off all the mold as best I can (scrub with coarse sea salt, rinse off with vinegar), then allow the cheese to dry at room temp.  Once the rind is dry, I coat it with lard (home rendered) or butter.  It gets a bit messy, but does a good job of protecting the rind and allowing it to age without over-sealing it.  It will get mold growing through it occasionally, but then I just scrape it off and re-coat it.

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Re: Tasted my first hard cheese, a farmhouse! It was horrible. Any advice?
« Reply #13 on: February 02, 2012, 02:17:40 AM »
On another note.... Boofer you were talkng about proper aging techniques.

I usually clean off all cheeses with brine and cheese cloth roughly every 2 days.
I then wipe them clean with regular water and pat dry with paper towel.

Then flipped and back in the tupperware in the cave @ 78% RH.

Am I missing anything? You talked about rubbing, brushing, and misting.
I have not read about those techniques in the past.
Can you elaborate??

Thanks Boofer!!
The rind treatment depends on what style of cheese it is. If it's a washed-rind that is developing with B. linens and/or Geo or some other strains, those adjuncts will help to protect the cheese and most of the time there will be little foreign incursion. I have my Tomme #5 with just that development going on right now. At most I take it out and give it a chance to breathe for about 30 minutes every other day. At that time I rub it all over to knock back and spread whatever growth may be occurring (very little). It has a low growth of SR3 (linens) and Geo going in its 4th week. Its rind is relatively dry although I keep it in its minicave with the lid closed. Temp: 52F, RH: 93%+.

I have my Tilsit #2 that I'm working to get linens going. It's in its 4th week and, while I was washing it every other day with a 3% brine to moisten and encourage linens growth, I am now just airing it every other day for 30 minutes after misting with 3% brine and SR3 and rubbing to spread the moisture all over. Its rind is somewhat sticky. Temp: 53F, RH: 90%. In minicave with lid cracked slightly.

I have had some cheeses develop a fairly heavy blue within a short period of time (days). I have resorted to gently brushing the blue away while rinsing under cool tap water. Then drying the cheese and lightly wiping with a vinegar-salt wash. At that point I let it air dry at room temperature and return it to its minicave and into the cave. The point is to eliminate the unwanted infection and reintroduce the culture of your choice (linens, Geo, PC, etc.).

Sometimes black mold will find little crevices in which to grow on the rind. These can be dislodged and removed by gently nudging with a clean toothpick dipped in vinegar-salt wash...then blotted dry.

RH of 78% seems very low. It may be a contributing factor for rind cracking.

Hope this helps.

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