Author Topic: Cheddar me that  (Read 2674 times)

Online Boofer

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Cheddar me that
« on: April 27, 2012, 10:51:22 AM »
Another week...another cheese.  :)

I had a whole bunch of glass milk bottles to return to the store. I pondered whether I should just return them...or exchange them. I decided it would be interesting to duplicate my Cheddar effort from last week...with slight variations.

This is my second try at Cheddar and my 49th cheese overall. I proved to myself that I'm still learning with each make following this effort. The pH curve was off the rails, owing to the use of a fresh primer and the change in culture. Pretty potent culture!

Initial pH: 6.84
Renneting pH: 6.59    (target: 6.55)
Cutting pH: 6.47    (target: 6.5)
Drain pH: 6.10    (target: 6.5)
Milling pH: ?    (target: 6.45)
Moulding/Pressing pH: 5.49    (target: 6.4)
Out of press pH: 5.12    (target: 5.4)

4 gallons Twin Brooks whole creamline milk
8 ounces fresh Alp D mother culture
1 tsp annatto, in ¼ cup distilled water
1 tsp CACL, ¼ cup in distilled water
1/16 tsp Renco dry calf rennet, dissolved in ¼ cup cold distilled water
3 TBS pickling salt

Followed same guidelines as last week regarding temperatures, floc'ing, pressing, and air-drying.

The make went more rapidly than last week and the acidity started off okay, but then accelerated. Some of my pH points were missed but I am hoping that the long affinage will bring any correction needed.

The wheel wasn't pressed as long as last week's (only 4 hours), but the acidity encouraged me to stop the pressing. It seemed dry enough after 15 hours, so I sealed it and put it in the cave with the other one.

Now we wait....  8)

-Boofer-
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Offline JeffHamm

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Re: Cheddar me that
« Reply #1 on: April 27, 2012, 12:30:47 PM »
Very nice looking cheddar Boofer.  With two makes so close to each other, you could really age one of them out to 18 or 24 months for some really nice vintage stock.  Yum!

- Jeff
The wise do not always start out on the right path, but they do know when to change course.

Offline Caseus

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Re: Cheddar me that
« Reply #2 on: April 27, 2012, 01:12:09 PM »
That is a lovely cheese, Boofer. 

I hope you won't mind of I ask you a couple of tangential semi-related questions rather than start a new thread for them.  These are questions I've been meaning to ask you for a while.

I see you are using a double boiler arrangement.  What size pots did you use for this make with 4 gallons of milk? 

Why do you like to use a double boiler arrangement?  The reason I'm asking is that I am using direct heat on a gas stove, and it seems to work quite well.  I'm just wondering if I'm missing some advantage of a double boiler.  Unfortunately, my big pot holds 25 quarts and my next biggest one is way too big for the stove (100 quarts), so I don't think it's practical for me.  Still, I'd like to know what I'm missing, if anything.

I see you are using dry calf rennet, and I saw you mention it in another thread.  What made you choose that over using liquid rennet?

TIA, and hope you don't mind the sidebar.

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Re: Cheddar me that
« Reply #3 on: April 27, 2012, 02:30:24 PM »
That is a lovely cheese, Boofer. 

I hope you won't mind of I ask you a couple of tangential semi-related questions rather than start a new thread for them.  These are questions I've been meaning to ask you for a while.

I see you are using a double boiler arrangement.  What size pots did you use for this make with 4 gallons of milk? 

Why do you like to use a double boiler arrangement?  The reason I'm asking is that I am using direct heat on a gas stove, and it seems to work quite well.  I'm just wondering if I'm missing some advantage of a double boiler.  Unfortunately, my big pot holds 25 quarts and my next biggest one is way too big for the stove (100 quarts), so I don't think it's practical for me.  Still, I'd like to know what I'm missing, if anything.

I see you are using dry calf rennet, and I saw you mention it in another thread.  What made you choose that over using liquid rennet?

TIA, and hope you don't mind the sidebar.
Thanks, Caseus.

Alright, questions! Good on you!

The double-boiler is something I have done since I began several years ago now. I looked around and sized up the pots and kettles I had from brewing and boiling lobsters (the clawless, Pacific type I would get from kayaking & hooping{of another sort}). I came up with the big aluminum lobster pot to serve as my water bath and a 33-quart brewing kettle to hold my milk (up to 4 gallons comfortably). The milk kettle's handles rest on the rim of the water pot. The lobster pot was inexpensive too.

There is a danger of scalding/burning the milk if it's heated directly. You'll probably read that most setups on the forum use a water bath similar to mine or they use hot water added to the kitchen sink. I tried the sink and figured it wasn't right for me so I use my double-boiler. The beauty of a water bath, besides indirectly and safely heating the milk, is that it will hold the heat in the milk kettle for the length of time it takes to ripen & rennet.

I originally started using Marschall mucor rennet tablets that were included in Leeners cheesemaking kit. Upon learning that they may induce bitterness in my cheeses, I moved to Renco dry calf rennet. The dry format seemed to be a decent choice for me because I don't make cheese that often. ::)  I was concerned that the liquid rennet would somehow go bad or get too old to use. Meanwhile, the dry version seems to work fine for the little bit of cheesing that I do. I take the whole culture bag out of the freezer, scissor open the bag, remove what I need, and vacuum-seal the whole thing up again. It helps to reduce the incidence of moisture ruining the bag contents.

Let's see, does that cover everything?

-Boofer-
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Offline Caseus

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Re: Cheddar me that
« Reply #4 on: April 27, 2012, 04:22:56 PM »
Thank you Boofer, yes, that pretty much covered it all.  So far...   >:D

You'd think a 33 quart brewing kettle would hold a bit more than 4 gallons (16 quarts)  comfortably.   :)    I measured my 25 quart pot and decided I could comfortably fit 5 gallons in it, maybe 5 and a quarter if I'm very careful when stirring.

Does it take longer to heat the milk in a water bath than it does via direct heat, or is it faster because there is a greater surface area of the milk vat that is exposed to heat?   

How hard is it to avoid overshooting the target milk temp?  That is, by the time the milk is up to your target temp, does residual heat in the outer water bath tend to keep pushing it higher?

I bet the milk heats faster in the double boiler.  I have to heat very slowly to avoid burning the milk.  I may have to find a larger pot to put my 25 quart one in.  My 100 quart crawfish pot is definitely too big, and my 15.5 gallon brewing pots (keggles) are too tall and narrow, not to mention being pretty heavy.



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Online Boofer

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Re: Cheddar me that
« Reply #5 on: April 27, 2012, 07:37:47 PM »
You'd think a 33 quart brewing kettle would hold a bit more than 4 gallons (16 quarts)  comfortably.   :)
I guess I was dreaming of the pot I'd like to have when I typed that. ;)  I believe I meant 17 quart. The lid has a dimple where the handle is and that just barely touches the milk surface. The milk is about an inch down from the lip.

There's a discussion on the forum about turning off the heat just prior to hitting your temp target...then letting the water bath slowly pull the milk temp up to where you want it. I have started off with the water bath hotter and then put the kettle in and added the milk. The milk reaches temp pretty fast. You have to watch it, stir to distribute the heat, and sometimes lift the kettle out of the bath if it's heating too well. I wouldn't necessarily say that is appropriate for everyone. Lifting that much liquid up over the lip of the double boiler may be challenging for some. Be very very careful!  :o

-Boofer-
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Offline MrsKK

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Re: Cheddar me that
« Reply #6 on: April 28, 2012, 07:12:48 AM »
One of the community centers where I teach cheesemaking has an old gas stove.  I didn't realize how hot the pilot light on it was until I saw that the temperature of the milk just kept on climbing.  Because my SS kettles are high quality, with triple layered bottoms, they hold heat for a LONG time.  I had to fill the outer kettle with cool water in order to bring the temp down.  Very very heavy, too, because the kettles themselves weigh almost ten pounds, plus four and a half gallons of milk.  The very definition of strength training!

That cheddar is looking really good, Boofer.  I just made one last week, too.  My first since the fiasco's of four years ago when I didn't have a clue what I was doing.  It looks good, but I guess I won't know a thing for six months, at least.

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Re: Cheddar me that
« Reply #7 on: May 09, 2012, 04:58:06 PM »
I had already pulled this out of the vacuum bag, dried it off, rebagged it, and returned it to the cave.

No good. After several days there is still some moisture between the cheese and the bag, so I removed it, dried it off, and put it in a minicave and into the cave for a few more days of cool drying. The first Cheddar is doing fine and hasn't needed this care. It's nice and dry inside its bag. Go figure.

-Boofer-
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Offline JeffHamm

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Re: Cheddar me that
« Reply #8 on: May 09, 2012, 06:00:13 PM »
Hi Boofer,

I had similar things happen with waxing.  Sometimes waxing early and all is well, other times, it's like an badly capped oil well.  I now try to just age them out 3 to 5 weeks, then wax or bag.  For a cheddar intended for long aging, 5 to 8 weeks in the cave for good rind development wouldn't hurt.  Each one is different.


- Jeff
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Offline Caseus

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Re: Cheddar me that
« Reply #9 on: May 09, 2012, 06:27:08 PM »
Jeff, when you age them for 3 to 5 weeks before waxing, do you need to do that in your cave at a proper temperature and humidity?  Do you get molds growing on the surface during that time?  If so, do you brush or wash that off before waxing?


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Offline JeffHamm

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Re: Cheddar me that
« Reply #10 on: May 09, 2012, 07:14:47 PM »
Hi Caseus,

I air dry them for about 4 or 5 days, then cave them for a month or so.  I brush them to keep unwanted growth to a minimum.  On the day of waxing, I give them a really good brushing and do the best I can to clean the rind up. 

- Jeff
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Offline Caseus

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Re: Cheddar me that
« Reply #11 on: May 09, 2012, 08:24:02 PM »
So after brushing them thoroughly, then waxing, does that keep the mold from coming back under the wax? 

I have to admit that, aside from the white molds used for Camembert and similar cheeses, I find the appearance of mold on cheese quite disturbing. 

Offline JeffHamm

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Re: Cheddar me that
« Reply #12 on: May 09, 2012, 09:16:54 PM »
Sometimes mould still grows, usually this means there's a pinhole in the wax coating.  Mould doesn't penetrate the cheese though, and I'm more concerned with the cheese being kept in a wet environment, which breaks it down and could lead to rot.  If you give it a good brush to knock back the mould as much as you can, keep the cheese cool in the fridge while melting the wax, then apply good hot wax on a cold cheese surface the heat from the wax should help kill off the surface mould.  A week before waxing, start a good brushing then wash down with strong brine and vinegar every two or three days.  Just don't brine wash and then wax right away, give it 24 hours to dry again.  This should help knock back the mould.  After awhile, you won't fear the mould so much and you can just cut the rind off. 

- Jeff
The wise do not always start out on the right path, but they do know when to change course.

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Re: Cheddar me that
« Reply #13 on: May 11, 2012, 09:59:23 PM »
My Cheddar had dried sufficiently in the cave, so I resealed it yesterday. I will of course be checking it regularly for any residual moisture coming out. That really screws up a rind over time.

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Offline MrsKK

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Re: Cheddar me that
« Reply #14 on: May 13, 2012, 10:10:12 AM »
I've been keeping my cheeses in the cave for about 2 months now before vacuum sealing them.  If they start looking dry, I coat them with lard.  It's a bit messy for turning for a couple of weeks, but then it just kind of dries up and almost assimilates into the rind.