Author Topic: Brine - Long Term Use  (Read 614 times)

Offline Annie

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Brine - Long Term Use
« on: April 19, 2012, 12:50:28 PM »
Somewhere I read that when a cheesemaker died, the other cheesemakers would try to get his thermometer and his brine. (being on my 10th one, I can certainly see why they went after his thermometer  ;)) They went after his brine because cheesemakers apparently kept their brine and then it would apparently impart a bit of individualized flavor to the cheese put into it.

So, I started keeping my brine... but, first, I think some of the salt must be dissapating into the cheese, so it would lose saltiness, and I have no idea how to measure the saltiness, other than asking my friend who is a scientist if I can borrow her salinometer or refractometer, or how to maintain the right saltiness (or even, having searched to find the answer, what the right saltiness might be...)

And I noticed that it's getting a little whey-colored, and I didn't know if that would be a problem, and I also wasn't sure if this would be something to keep in the fridge or not.

And of course it may be that one should not keep the brine at all  :-[

Thanks, all!

(I'm off to resume working on my "cheese cave.")

Offline Cloversmilker

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Re: Brine - Long Term Use
« Reply #1 on: April 19, 2012, 01:20:41 PM »
Yes, do keep your brine.  I maintain salinity by sprinkling salt on the floating side of the brining cheese when I first put it in the brine pot and then keeping an eye on the brine.  My goal is to have a little precipitated salt at the bottom of the brine pot.  I boil the brine once a month to avoid harboring pathogens.  When you brine the cheese, it is simultaneously absorbing salt and releasing whey into the brine.  So the amount of brine will grow over time as it gains whey.  I dip off a few ladlefuls to use to brine feta every so often.  The older brine with whey is actually better; the pH level should more closely match the cheese.  I think (and perhaps someone more expert will correct or confirm) the calcium level will increase over time so that the older brine will no longer leach calcium from the cheese.  Do store your brine in the refrigerator to discourage pathogen growth. 

Offline Annie

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Re: Brine - Long Term Use
« Reply #2 on: April 19, 2012, 01:30:47 PM »
Yes, do keep your brine.  I maintain salinity by sprinkling salt on the floating side of the brining cheese when I first put it in the brine pot and then keeping an eye on the brine.  My goal is to have a little precipitated salt at the bottom of the brine pot.  I boil the brine once a month to avoid harboring pathogens.  When you brine the cheese, it is simultaneously absorbing salt and releasing whey into the brine.  So the amount of brine will grow over time as it gains whey.  I dip off a few ladlefuls to use to brine feta every so often.  The older brine with whey is actually better; the pH level should more closely match the cheese.  I think (and perhaps someone more expert will correct or confirm) the calcium level will increase over time so that the older brine will no longer leach calcium from the cheese.  Do store your brine in the refrigerator to discourage pathogen growth.
What a wonderfully complete and concise reply :D Thank you very much!

Your name leads me to ask if you are milking a cow? because we have a cow whom we milk, which is how I started making cheese.

Offline Cloversmilker

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Re: Brine - Long Term Use
« Reply #3 on: April 19, 2012, 01:59:33 PM »
Yes, I milk my Jersey, Mademoiselle Clover, every morning.   :D   Her milk is very sweet and rich and makes great cheese.  :) 

Offline Annie

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Re: Brine - Long Term Use
« Reply #4 on: April 19, 2012, 02:32:38 PM »
Yes, I milk my Jersey, Mademoiselle Clover, every morning.   :D   Her milk is very sweet and rich and makes great cheese.  :)
How wonderful :) We have Valley, whom my daughter took over milking, who gives lots of cream... and milk, of course! She pretty much pays for herself and all our animals if we are steady with the milk. I only know of a couple of other milk-cow owners here.