Author Topic: Underpressing - what are the consequences?  (Read 992 times)

Offline tinysar

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Underpressing - what are the consequences?
« on: April 12, 2012, 08:09:56 AM »
I'm just curious, there seem to be a lot of different opinions about pressing cheddary types of cheese. From what I read so far:

*Some people find pressing ~2 psi to be sufficient if curds are good and warm (i.e. "pressing in the pot")
*Others press as high as they can, 6 psi or higher
*Some traditional hard-cheese makes use fairly low pressures (eg. stacked molds only, or simple weights like stones), whereas their modern counterparts use much higher mechanical pressures.

So I guess my question is: what are the consequences/results of underpressing your cheese? Assume that the curds are well-formed, correct pH, kept at ~30'C for a nice knit, etc - what happens? Is it just a matter of ending up with a few mechanical holes in the cheese? What problems does that cause? I don't really care about aesthetics - it doesn't need to look pretty as long as it tastes good.  I can see that underpressing a large natural-rind wheel might be a problem, as it could crumble during handling, but what about a small (1-2 pound) waxed wheel? Surely the wax would help to prevent crumbling? Perhaps after dipping the cheese in hot water to help seal any surface openings which might harbour unwanted mould? Can you just press it for longer? I'd probably be trying a Caerphilly or Lancashire type, so it's going to be sour anyway, right?

I am just trying to figure out whether I should bother attempting cheddared cheeses without a press. It sounds like there are a few techniques that I can use to compensate though, so I'd like to give it a try. Are there specific cheese types which would be better suited to lower pressures? Any other tricks I could use? Have I misunderstood any of those I mentioned? (this is the problem with the recipes: they all say "what", but not "why")

Just for reference, I'm talking about making a short-aged cheddar type, probably in 4-inch molds (I do have a 7-inch mold, but no kind of follower for it), and using a "piling-up-weights" pressing method. I figure 2 psi is do-able, but would not like to attempt anything heavier with balanced weights.

Any help would be appreciated. I've run out of room in my tiny fridge for any more ripening containers, but I figure I can cram a few small waxed wheels in there  >:D

Offline DeejayDebi

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Re: Underpressing - what are the consequences?
« Reply #1 on: April 13, 2012, 07:39:38 PM »
Unless you Drastically unpress so with almost no pressure so you don't even mesh the curds you should be fine. You might have a bunch of tiny little holes but otherwise fine.

Offline John (CH)

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Re: Underpressing - what are the consequences?
« Reply #2 on: April 15, 2012, 02:02:04 PM »
To add to Debi's response, underpressing also results in less dehydration of the surface of the cheese and thus less initial rind development and of course less whey expulsion at least initially until the rind forms then it's all about knitting the curds, which is normally a bigger issue for milled curds like some cheddar cheese making methods.

But moisture content is also dependant on several other factors and a dehydrated rind development is an issue if you are making rinded type cheese.

Offline DeejayDebi

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Re: Underpressing - what are the consequences?
« Reply #3 on: April 15, 2012, 09:11:22 PM »
A lot depends on the type for cheese but generally speaking you'll still have a eddible cheese.

Offline tinysar

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Re: Underpressing - what are the consequences?
« Reply #4 on: April 16, 2012, 08:20:00 AM »
To add to Debi's response, underpressing also results in less dehydration of the surface of the cheese and thus less initial rind development and of course less whey expulsion at least initially until the rind forms then it's all about knitting the curds, which is normally a bigger issue for milled curds like some cheddar cheese making methods.

So say that I wanted to make a small Caerphilly & wax it as soon as possible (i.e. not worried about the rind), using a milled-curd method. If I under-press such a cheese, and the curds fail to knit completely, what will the end result be for my cheese? I'm sure it will be edible, but what happens to the structure? Will it just be really crumbly? (or is crumbliness caused by something else?) I'm guessing that the remaining whey would produce a more sour cheese? And create a nice moist home for unwanted moulds?

Offline DeejayDebi

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Re: Underpressing - what are the consequences?
« Reply #5 on: April 16, 2012, 10:07:57 PM »
It really depends ... If the curds where cooked properly and released enough whey probably not. Sour cheese is more often than not from  heating to quickly trapping the whey inside of the curds like little water balloons.  Lumpy bumpy cheeses tend to get more mold in the little nooks and crannys too. IF it is done I would not worry just let it age and see what you get.