Author Topic: White Cheddar, Couple Questions / Thoughts  (Read 653 times)

Offline rolsen99

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White Cheddar, Couple Questions / Thoughts
« on: December 15, 2012, 09:45:15 AM »
Well, I have a white cheddar just about ready to begin drying.  It has been in the press for about 12 hours at 11.6 psi.  I won't bore anyone with many details of the make as I don't have PH markers or anything.  It was made according to Tim Smith Artisan, with exception of the pressing schedule.

Questions:
When I cut the curds to begin the cheddar process, it went well until they knitted together.  Then I just ended up to two large slabs that I turned every 15 minutes for 2 hours.  They were kept at 100 F for the entire process.  I wasn't thinking, and didn't expect them to knit together (silly).  Should I have created several smaller stacks for rotating?  Or will this be OK?  See pictures.  Any recommendations is welcome / needed.

Following is the press schedule:
1 psi for 30 minutes, flip redress
2 psi for 30 minutes, flip redress
6 psi for 30 minutes, flip redress
11.6 psi for 12 hours, flip redress
Currently in press for additional 12 hours at 11.6 psi.

After the last 12 hours press, the knit looks perfect.  In the early presses, I was concerned that it wouldn't knit together.  Overnight it knitted right up.  Should I continue the press if it looks knitted?  My original plan was a total of 24 hours at 11.6 psi.

Also, tasting the curds after salt, they were great.  They were squeaky in my teeth, it that good or bad?

Any help would be great!


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Offline bbracken677

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Re: White Cheddar, Couple Questions / Thoughts
« Reply #1 on: December 15, 2012, 10:06:26 AM »
With regards to the cheddaring, there seems to be 2 schools of thought on that. The homemaker recipes I have seen call for the curd mass to be cut up into smaller slabs and then stacked and turned every 10 minutes or so for about 30 minutes (depending on recipe)...

When a commercial outfit, or artisan, makes a 300 gallon make, their slabs that the curd is cut into are larger than our whole curd mass that we wind up with after a 2-4 gallon make. It is my thought that you should leave it as a single mass and turn that, and that will more closely duplicate the professional/artisan make. It is my thought that cutting the mass into small slabs will release too much whey. In all honesty, you are likely to wind up with slabs that are not significantly larger than your milled pieces.

As such, I just work with a single slab and turn it for 30-40 minutes before milling. Due to the long aging process, I have not been able to make comparisons with taste and final texture. The first 2 cheddars I made I followed the homemaker's recipe, whereas with following makes I just worked with a single slab.


Offline tnbquilt

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Re: White Cheddar, Couple Questions / Thoughts
« Reply #2 on: December 15, 2012, 11:16:04 AM »
I like the cheese press. I haven't seen one of those before. The knit on the cheese looks good. My traditional cheddars always look a little rocky on the outside, but yours is smooth.

The curds are supposed to be squeaky when you taste them. It sounds to me like you did it right. As to the cooking of the curd, I have books that says to slice, and then I have the 200 Home Made Cheese book that says to cook it in one slab. I usually cut my one big slab in half because when I tried to do it as one slab it broke in half and that works out fine for me.

I aged one for 9 months one time and it was wonderful. I used Tim Smith's recipe for that one. The outside looked like rocks stuck together, but it tasted really good. Other than that we always eat them so they don't get to age for 9 months.
Tammy

Offline rolsen99

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Re: White Cheddar, Couple Questions / Thoughts
« Reply #3 on: December 15, 2012, 12:17:11 PM »
As such, I just work with a single slab

This makes sense to me, especially because of the commercial process.  Thanks!

I like the cheese press. I haven't seen one of those before. The knit on the cheese looks good. My traditional cheddars always look a little rocky on the outside, but yours is smooth.

With the double lever, I get a mechanical advantage of about 23.  With just the 8 pound milk jug on there, I am pressing at about 184 pounds, or in this case, 11.6 psi.  The knit last night looked "rocky", but this morning, it was great.  It is still in the press (flipped after 12 hours) as I have seen people press them 24 hours.  Unless I hear different, I am taking it to the 24 hour mark, then start the drying.

It is good the hear the squeak is good.  Thanks for the response!

Offline rolsen99

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Re: White Cheddar, Couple Questions / Thoughts
« Reply #4 on: December 16, 2012, 07:18:55 PM »
Couple questions / updates.

After pressing, the weight of the cheese was only 1.6 pounds.  I was expecting 2 pounds, based on the recipe instructions.  Then today, after only a day and a half drying at room temperature, I noticed that it was dry to the touch, and tiny little cracks were starting to form.  The cracks were at maximum about 4-5 mm long.

I immediately put it in the cave, which is currently at about 85 % humidity.  I put a Tupperware bowl upside down over it in an attempt raise the humidity and get the cracks to heal.

I do not measure PH, and may have stirred the curds on this make more vigorously than usual.  It is also the first time that I pressed this hard, but it is standard for a cheddar. 

My question is, what typically causes low yields, and cheeses to dry and crack so quick?


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Offline bbracken677

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Re: White Cheddar, Couple Questions / Thoughts
« Reply #5 on: December 17, 2012, 07:37:39 AM »
Your yield may be low because of low moisture....you stated you may have stirred the curds too vigorously, this would cause more whey to be expelled.

The cracking is likely due to rapid and excess drying. I have found with my cheeses, and the humidity (or lack therof) here I shouldnt allow more than 24 hours or so of outside drying before placing in the cave in a container for additional and slower drying. I then follow that up with vacuum bagging. I would like to graduate one day to waxing.

Offline rolsen99

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Re: White Cheddar, Couple Questions / Thoughts
« Reply #6 on: December 17, 2012, 10:21:56 AM »
Your yield may be low because of low moisture....you stated you may have stirred the curds too vigorously, this would cause more whey to be expelled.
Thank you for the reply.

It is amazing in this "hobby" how such minor differences in time and technique lead to vastly different results.  I made the same recipe yesterday.  Although it is still in the press, initial indications based subjectively on its size, is that the yield is much greater.  The only real difference is that I took care this time in my stirring.  I was not as aggressive.  Temp and time controls were basically identical.

It is funny.  There is a muenster cheese at a local upscale market that my wife and I love.  But, every time we buy it, it is just ever so slightly different.  I think even the pros have trouble with 100% repetition.

Offline Tiarella

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Re: White Cheddar, Couple Questions / Thoughts
« Reply #7 on: December 17, 2012, 10:34:17 AM »
Rolsen,  I think your cheese cracked because of winter dry air.....just a guess.  I noticed that as soon as winter heating started I had to modify my drying technique.  I now dry on a rack with a cake caddy top over the cheese.  There is still air flow from under the rack. (which is over a pan) but not the rampant drying I had otherwise.

Offline rolsen99

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Re: White Cheddar, Couple Questions / Thoughts
« Reply #8 on: December 17, 2012, 11:05:22 AM »
Rolsen,  I think your cheese cracked because of winter dry air.....just a guess.  I noticed that as soon as winter heating started I had to modify my drying technique.  I now dry on a rack with a cake caddy top over the cheese.  There is still air flow from under the rack. (which is over a pan) but not the rampant drying I had otherwise.

That is a good point.  I may have to implement something similar.