Author Topic: turning a mistake into an experiment  (Read 2149 times)

Offline beechercreature

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turning a mistake into an experiment
« on: March 29, 2012, 10:30:04 AM »

This is a general question about cheesemaking methods, but I'll use my specific example. When you make a significant mistake with a cheese, instead of waiting to see what happens and hoping for the best, what can you do to take that cheese into a new direction.

I realize that this would be fairly cheese specific, but I'm looking for some ideas on any kind of cheese. I know that many people turn a too hard/dry cheese into a grating cheese, but what are my other options.

As for the specific example:

I recently made a butterkase that will almost assuredly not become a butterkase. I didn't use enough rennet (el cheapo junkett) and I didn't have the time to wait for it to set correctly, if it ever would have. As a result, I wound up with fragile curds that shattered when I tried to stir them. I was able to get a halfway decent yield out of them by pre draining in some cheese cloth, but logic (noob logic) tells me that the cheese will end up much drier and more crumbly than I wanted. I was able to press it into a normal shape and it survived brining.

What should I do with the cheese now? I'll save the blue mold for something that was intended on being blue. I was considering rubbing it with a brie I have in the fridge, but it's way too tall for that, and cams are high up on my list of cheeses to try soon. I was thinking of trying to capture some natural bugs on it and let them grow, or try my hand at washed rind stuff.

Any opinions, ideas, criticism, money pictures? Crazy or otherwise, I'm open to suggestions.


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Offline DeejayDebi

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Re: turning a mistake into an experiment
« Reply #1 on: March 29, 2012, 05:31:15 PM »
Let it age and dry for a while might prove to be good after all.

Offline Tomer1

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Re: turning a mistake into an experiment
« Reply #2 on: March 29, 2012, 06:43:51 PM »
PR (blue mold) will deacidify the paste but Im not sure if ripening from the outside in (inoculating the rind with PR and piercing) is doable.
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Offline beechercreature

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Re: turning a mistake into an experiment
« Reply #3 on: March 30, 2012, 08:27:43 AM »
PR (blue mold) will deacidify the paste but Im not sure if ripening from the outside in (inoculating the rind with PR and piercing) is doable.

thanks for the input. i'll save the blue for a crack at stilton.

Offline beechercreature

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Re: turning a mistake into an experiment
« Reply #4 on: March 30, 2012, 08:31:06 AM »
Let it age and dry for a while might prove to be good after all.

i think i will. i need to familiarize myself with rind development/maintenance.


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Offline iratherfly

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Re: turning a mistake into an experiment
« Reply #5 on: March 30, 2012, 11:10:23 AM »
What was your flocculation period or curd acidity like? This is the #1 factor to consider when trying to pivot a cheese make to another cheese in the middle of the process.

If the curd was soft and wet I wouldn't suggest anything blue. I would however go surface ripened; mould it all into a basket or hoop, let it drain overnight, turn it when its firm enough to support turning and un-mould it when it's stiff enough to stay in shape. Salt it immediately with about 1.5% salt by weight and let it dry at cool area in the 70%-85% humidity range for a day or two so the salt dissolves and initial rind forms. I would then move it to a cave at 55°F or so at 90%-95% humidity, turn it daily.

A couple of days into the cave (about 4 days after salting or 5 days after making) the pH levels will stabilize and now you can choose a mold mix to spray or a wash. You can sirface-age it like a brie by spraying a simple mix of salt water mixes with a pinch of PC and a pinch of Geo, or a salt water mix with pulverized rind from another cheese that you like. You can also make similar mix with B.Linens, beer or liqueur and use it to wash the cheese every couple of days. After a couple of weeks and proper rind development, move to the fridge for 3-6 weeks. I think you will get something interesting!

Offline beechercreature

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Re: turning a mistake into an experiment
« Reply #6 on: March 30, 2012, 11:28:11 AM »
What was your flocculation period or curd acidity like? This is the #1 factor to consider when trying to pivot a cheese make to another cheese in the middle of the process.

If the curd was soft and wet I wouldn't suggest anything blue. I would however go surface ripened; mould it all into a basket or hoop, let it drain overnight, turn it when its firm enough to support turning and un-mould it when it's stiff enough to stay in shape. Salt it immediately with about 1.5% salt by weight and let it dry at cool area in the 70%-85% humidity range for a day or two so the salt dissolves and initial rind forms. I would then move it to a cave at 55°F or so at 90%-95% humidity, turn it daily.

A couple of days into the cave (about 4 days after salting or 5 days after making) the pH levels will stabilize and now you can choose a mold mix to spray or a wash. You can sirface-age it like a brie by spraying a simple mix of salt water mixes with a pinch of PC and a pinch of Geo, or a salt water mix with pulverized rind from another cheese that you like. You can also make similar mix with B.Linens, beer or liqueur and use it to wash the cheese every couple of days. After a couple of weeks and proper rind development, move to the fridge for 3-6 weeks. I think you will get something interesting!

Pardon the noobishness, unless i'm thoroughly confused about this stuff  the flocculation time was 35 minutes. I waited more than 2 hrs to give it the 3.5 multiplier. I have no idea about the acidity (no meter). 

I was able to get it into a mold and drain it fairly well. I brined it as soon as it came out of the mold. I like the idea of a washing with beer, but I don't have any linens or any other cultures to put on it.

Offline iratherfly

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Re: turning a mistake into an experiment
« Reply #7 on: March 30, 2012, 11:48:05 AM »
No problem!
So you ripened it for 2 hours and then waited 35 minutes after rennet to cut the curd?  This may be a good candidate for washing. Next time if you only have one small wheel, it would be easier to just dry-salt it.

Don't worry about buying cultures. No one bought cultures in the first 8,000 years of cheesemaking.  Beer and liqueurs have specific yeasts and lively microflora that can bring out the best out of your cheese. The B.Linen and Geo will take longer to come out but it will still come out. Just toss a bit of salt onto the surface of the cheese and wipe it with a clean (sanitized) cloth that has been soaked with beer (Belgian style ales are great for that, go more bitter and less sweet, but not seriously bitter). The salt will help the b.linen to come out and will also serve as an abrasive material that microscopically scratch the surface. As the surface heals over and over again it will create stronger harder surface and block the cheese interior from drying out.  Repeat this every couple of days for a week, Second week do that twice and maybe once or twice more in the third week. You should have a nice looking aromatic cheese by then. Move to fridge for 3-4 more weeks and stop the wash regiment.

Another alternative to buying culture is to use morge as I explained in my previous post. Make a brine of water with 4% salt, put it in the blender and dump into it the rind of any surface ripened cheese that you like. Pulverize it. Move to clean bottle and close it shut. Let stand in room temperature for 12 hours, then move to the fridge. It will be ready to wash cheese with the next day. Easy enough? Gotta love cheese hacking

Offline beechercreature

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Re: turning a mistake into an experiment
« Reply #8 on: March 30, 2012, 11:58:49 AM »
ah, great. thanks for all the good info.

i have 4 beers on tap at home i could use. alt, vienna, ipa, or stout.

Offline DeejayDebi

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Re: turning a mistake into an experiment
« Reply #9 on: March 30, 2012, 02:56:19 PM »
I love a good alt!


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Offline beechercreature

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Re: turning a mistake into an experiment
« Reply #10 on: March 30, 2012, 03:00:50 PM »
I love a good alt!

me too. it's one of my favorite styles.  :)

Offline iratherfly

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Re: turning a mistake into an experiment
« Reply #11 on: March 30, 2012, 03:24:34 PM »
Alt could be interesting. Just adjust to taste. I know bpa works well with this style.  You will need a champagne stopper cap though as one 330 ml bottle should be enough to last you the entire wash period.

Offline beechercreature

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Re: turning a mistake into an experiment
« Reply #12 on: May 30, 2012, 09:49:09 AM »
Well, i had a nice rind developed on this one. I had to fight off the blues recently so i cracked the lid to reduce the moisture in the mini cave. It was going well until i forgot to check on it for a few days.

Huge cracks urrywhere and the rind dried out way too much. i vac sealed it right away and that seemed to 'close' the cracks up a little.  :-[

i did eat a chunk that fell off. it was creamy and smooth. a touch bitter, but i didn't mind that. i think i'll try to forget about this one for a while and see what happens with it.

it was a fun experiment either way, and i learned a bit about rind washing. so, well worth the hassle, even if it turns out crappy.

Offline DeejayDebi

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Re: turning a mistake into an experiment
« Reply #13 on: June 01, 2012, 09:06:05 PM »
Any good learning experience is positive - good job!

Offline iratherfly

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Re: turning a mistake into an experiment
« Reply #14 on: June 25, 2012, 07:45:14 PM »
I agree with Debi. It takes a lot of milk and cheese candidates in the trash to make yourself into a decent cheesemaker, let-alone a good one. This experiment, while seems like a waste will prevent you from repeating this and throwing away cheese in the future.  Hopefully you are already well into your next cheese!