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CHEESE TYPE BOARDS (for Cheese Lovers and Cheese Makers) => RENNET COAGULATED - Hard Cheddared (Normally Stacked & Milled) => Topic started by: Geo on September 06, 2013, 05:04:03 AM

Title: A tale of two Cheshires
Post by: Geo on September 06, 2013, 05:04:03 AM
These would be Cheshires #1 and #2 for me, and cheeses #5 and #6.

In doing my research I read so many Cheshire cheese recipes from both modern and historic sources, that I decided to try a couple and see how they turned out.  I'm aiming for a fresh, crumbly, acidic white cheshire cheese, but few recipes specify what the end result will be and many seem focused on red cheshire. The tl,dr version is that I've had a partial success.

The first recipe was from an Australian book called "Home cheesemaking" by Neil and Carole Willman. I made this with only minor modifications.

10 litres "Real Milk" (pasteurised, unhomogenised milk from Pyengana dairy)
250 pre-cultured 'type A' starter (a mesophilic single-strain L. Lactis starter)
2 ml vegetarian rennet

Milk brought to 31C in double boiler   (initial milk pH 6.4)
Add 250 ml starter, stir well                (starter pH 4.9)
Recipe called for no culture time between adding starter and rennet which I thought odd, but I ran with it so immediately added rennet.
Add 2 ml rennet, diluted in 20 ml water, stir 3 minutes
Rest 30 minutes. Temp was a constant 31.7C
Checked, had clean break. Cut initially 1/2-inch cubes, then to bean size.
Stir 3 hours, raising temp over first 45 minutes to 34.5C, then stirred intermittently to stop curds from pitching.
After 3 hours pH dropped to 5.8, drain whey. Lost track of the temp at this point and it rose to 36C.
Textured for two hours at 33-34C, breaking up every 30 minutes. pH 5.0 at end of 2 hours.
Pressed 40 hours, turning every 8 hours, gradually increasing weight to 17.5 kg.

Weight out of press = 1008g, Weight after drying = 956g

The second cheese was made according to a combination of a recipe in Kathy Bliss's Practical Cheesemaking and a UK dairy board leaflet

10.5 litres "Real Milk"
200 ml pre-cultured "Farmhouse" starter (L. lactis, L. lactis cremoris, L. lactis biovar diacetylactis, S. thermophilus)
2.5 ml rennet

Initial milk pH 6.8 (possibly my calibrating solutions had shifted as I re-used the ones from two days before)
Bring milk to 26C, add 200 ml culture and mix well.
Rest 30 minutes, gradually increasing temp to 30C               (pH=6.5)
Add 2.5 ml rennet in 25 ml water at 29.5C, stir 3 min. Rest 40 min until clean break.
Cut curds to 1/2 inch initially, then to bean size.
Stir gently without heat 15 min
Stir constantly over next 30 min, increasing heat to 34C.
Maintain heat, stir 30 min until curds firm and free   (T=34.1, pH=6.2)
Drain whey and allow curds to settle. Cut into 2-inch slices.
Scald at 34C for 3 hours, breaking blocks in half and turning every 20 minutes, looking for a texture like chicken breast. (pH=5.2 at end)
Mill and mix with 25g salt
Place in mould. Weight going into press 1230g.
Press 1.25kg for 15 min
Press 2.5kg for 15 min
Press 20kg for 24 hours

Bliss's pressing regime (after the first 24 hours of moulding):
Day 1: Place moulds in warm (21C) room with no pressure
Day 2: Press at 24.9 N/m2 for two hours. Increase to 49.6 N/m2 for rest of day.
Day 3: 49.6 N/m2.
Day 4: pack.

I pressed at 5 kg and then 20 kg for the weights. Cheese weighed 1030g out of the press at the end of that.

The final picture is the two cheeses. The larger, lower cheese on the left is the Bliss recipe and the higher cheese on the right is the first recipe. The first one didn't knit particularly well, which may be a factor of overshooting my target temperature. I'm finding it's very dry and cracking. I've tried a saline wash but it's had little effect. The Bliss cheese is also starting to crack between the curds on the top surface as it dries.

ETA: of the two recipes I definitely prefer the second. It gave a superior texture to the curds during scalding and pressing.

I'm thinking I'll paint these with "cheese plastic" (a PVC coating) and then wax them to stop moisture loss. Would this be a good idea?

Title: Re: A tale of two Cheshires
Post by: graysalchemy on September 06, 2013, 10:47:59 AM
Nice cheese. Born and raised in Cheshire  ;D

By the way what is fermenting in the FV in the back ground  ;)
Title: Re: A tale of two Cheshires
Post by: Geo on September 06, 2013, 03:51:48 PM
ahem, well spotted! In theory it's a goldings-hopped mild, but I'm having trouble convincing the yeast that the wort is a nice home at the moment.
Title: Re: A tale of two Cheshires
Post by: Geo on September 06, 2013, 10:48:14 PM
Turns out the problem with that was duff yeast. Take two...
Title: Re: A tale of two Cheshires
Post by: graysalchemy on September 08, 2013, 01:44:58 PM
ahem, well spotted! In theory it's a goldings-hopped mild, but I'm having trouble convincing the yeast that the wort is a nice home at the moment.

Umm Goldings my favourite hop, I will be tucking into a bottle of bitter latter which Has EKG in the late editions. Are you a all grain brewer? What yeast are you using?

Sorry too many beer related questions on a cheese forum  :-[ :-[
Title: Re: A tale of two Cheshires
Post by: Geo on September 08, 2013, 03:58:08 PM
No problem, I can multitask. ;-) Yes, we brew all-grain but in fairness we're only a short way down that road. This brew was with pale mild malt, amber malt and a bit of chocolate malt. The first yeast was a  Muntings ale yeast which had been mistreated so has passed on. I now have a brown ale yeast in there in lag. We'll see what it does.

Back to the cheeses. After four or five days air drying they were cracking quite badly on whichever the top surface was, where there had ben an imperfect knit between the curds. This was consistent between the two cheese (and is evident in the last photo above) although the first cheese was definitely the worst. The lower surface would rehydrate a bit so there was clearly still moisture inside the cheese. Trying a saline wash didn't help. I also realised after the fact that the three-day press on the second cheese was supposed to be a bandaging method which I hadn't done. I'd just been redressing the cheese in its cloth and returning it to the press.

I've waxed these cheeses (after coating them with "plastic cheese coating": is this the same as the cream coat some people mention?) and placed them in my "cave": an esky with an iceblock.

I think there are two possible reasons for the poor knit. I could have pressed the cheeses too cold but I haven't had a problem with any other cheeses. The other factor that had changed is that I used a new curd knife, which cuts both horizontally and vertically. I've since read that this stresses the curd too much, and I was having trouble with uneven curds with those cheeses. I made another cheshire from the second cheese yesterday, cutting the curd with an icing spatula and doing the initial press in the pot. This seems to have given a lovely knit.
Title: Re: A tale of two Cheshires
Post by: Tiarella on September 13, 2013, 06:08:52 AM
hey, I want to see a photo of the cheese curd cutter that cuts both ways!   :D. Any chance of you posting a photo or link to a photo?  Whichever is easier......  Sorry about the cracking on your cheese.  I've had that happen even with perfectly knitted rounds when my cave humidity was off.  I've used coconut oil, olive oil or, if the air is humid enough I've rubbed it with salt and let it draw moisture in from the air.  I don't think that works if the air is dry.  Good luck!
Title: Re: A tale of two Cheshires
Post by: Geo on September 13, 2013, 04:39:16 PM
I'd say that it couldn't be easier but it took me ages to re-find a couple of links I wanted to include! I've attached a photo. I bought this (with some other things so it's not a total loss) from the US and less than a week after I received it I found this link: http://cheeseforum.org/forum/index.php/topic,10978.msg91200.html#msg91200 (http://cheeseforum.org/forum/index.php/topic,10978.msg91200.html#msg91200)

Sailor, in this link: http://cheeseforum.org/forum/index.php/topic,2301.msg17650.html#msg17650 (http://cheeseforum.org/forum/index.php/topic,2301.msg17650.html#msg17650) mentioned that cutters that cut both ways at once push around and tear the curd, and that's what I found. I ended up with very uneven curds the two times I used the knife, which seems to have gone away now I've gone back to cutting manually with a long spatula.
Title: Re: A tale of two Cheshires
Post by: Geo on September 13, 2013, 05:58:42 PM
I made a third Cheshire last weekend, to the same recipe as the second (from Biss's Practical Cheesemaking), with the only exception being that I didn't use the above curd knife and that I actually went through the bandaging routine, rather then blindly pressing for three full days.

11 litres 3.5% P, un-H milk
200ml precultures M101 starter
2.5 ml rennet

Cultured at 26C, allowed to rest 30 mins, raising temp to 30C
Rennet @ 30C, allow to rest 30 mins
Cut to initial 1" curds, then to bean-size
Stir 15 mins, no heat
Raise heat over 45 min to 34C (I hit 34.4), stirring.
Drain whey, cheddar, breaking in half each half-hour, for two hours until whey pH reaches 4.9.

Pressing:
Day 1: Press lightly (5kg) for 30 mins, flip. Increase weight to 20kg, press 24 hours.
Day 2: remove from press, place in hot water bath (55C) for 1 min, place back in cleaned mould in press in cloth. Press at 10 kg for 2 hours, then 20 kg for 22 hours.
Day 3: Remove from press, bandage with butter. Back in press at 20 kg.
Day 5: (should have been day 4 but a work dinner got in the way): remove from press, bandage with coconut oil, remove to cave.
Title: Re: A tale of two Cheshires
Post by: Tiarella on September 14, 2013, 06:25:08 AM
Thanks for the curd cutter links.  I saw one somewhere (on the forum?) that had two halves with one half having vertical blades and the other half having horizontal.  I presume one inserted it into the curd in the exact sized vat and then turned it gently until a full circle had been done neatly cutting curds in both directions.  I use a whisk to cut curd most of the time now unless it's a huge cut dimension called for.   ???
Title: Re: A tale of two Cheshires
Post by: Geo on September 18, 2013, 04:01:33 AM
Well, it's what the Italians do, isn't it?

Perhaps I ought to try a whisk next time. I'm planning to make some halloumi to use up some leftover milk, this weekend.
Title: Re: A tale of two Cheshires
Post by: Boofer on September 18, 2013, 09:56:37 AM
Perhaps I ought to try a whisk next time.
I cut vertically with my long knife then follow later with my long whisk. Seems to work well for me.

-Boofer-
Title: Re: A tale of two Cheshires
Post by: Spellogue on September 18, 2013, 12:45:45 PM

 I'm planning to make some halloumi to use up some leftover milk, this weekend.

Great looking Cheshire's. Can't wait to see the finished product cut. 

I love halloumi.  Here's a great thread in the subject
CheeseForum.org » Forum » CHEESE TYPE BOARDS (for Cheese Lovers and Cheese Makers) » RENNET COAGULATED - Brine Ripened (Aegean Sea) » Halloumi Cheese Making - Eight Recipes Compared

Title: Re: A tale of two Cheshires
Post by: Geo on September 18, 2013, 03:02:08 PM
Boofer, that's a good approach. I guess it would allow controlled expulsion of they whey. I've reverted so far to cutting with a long knife vertically, then diagonally, then randomly but I haven't been happy with the evenness of my curd size.

Spellogue, thankyou! I'll have a good read through those before making the halloumi on Saturday. I do enjoy comparing several recipes. It must be the scientist in me.  ;)
Title: Re: A tale of two Cheshires
Post by: Geo on September 19, 2013, 02:24:19 AM
One week in the cave and the bandaged Cheshire has developed what I suspect is a PR infection. I can see some small patches of blue mould under the bandage on the base, and there's a touch of a bright yellow mould as well. The photo shows the blue spot on the left and some yellow mould on the right. There's a strong smell of blue cheese about it, more I get from the stilton. Not ammonia yet, but definitely blue cheese.

I'm guessing I should unbandage and treat this, but do people have recommendations for the best way to go about it? Take the bandage off and rub with vinegar or salt, then rebandage?

This cheese has been stacked on the bandaged wort cheddar because of my limited space and its outer bandage has the faintest blue smell about it as well, but comparing the two I put more coconut oil on that one. Would anyone recommend another layer of coconut oil at this stage, just to be safe?
Title: Re: A tale of two Cheshires
Post by: Geo on September 19, 2013, 03:16:24 AM
Replying to my own post. I've just remembered that this is the cheese I bandaged on the bottom layer with butter (old butter at that because we don't use it) before remembering I had coconut oil in the house. I wonder whether I can smell the butter going rancid.

This has been kept in my cooler "cave", at roughly 13C (plus or minus 2C), and at 55-71% humidity.
Title: Re: A tale of two Cheshires
Post by: Geo on September 20, 2013, 05:57:13 PM
This morning I pulled Cheshire #3 out and it looked and smelled even worse. There was no question that something was going wrong there, and that something was going on under the fat layer (first photo). So I removed the top bandage which had been applied with coconut oil and it was clear that the butter-and-bandage layer below was what was moulding (second picture below). The butter was clearly past its best.

I removed this and scraped the moulds off the cheese, and fortunately the cheese below is fine. It's only been moulding like this for maybe 5 days. I scraped off the mould with the back of a table knife and washed with a vinegar-and-salt solution. The third photo is of the cheese post-scraping and pre-washing. The cheese is drying now and still smells of mould in the rind. I'm going to let it dry for half a day and give it another vinegar-and-salt wash, then let it dry overnight. Tomorrow, if all looks good, I'll bandage it again.

I think I'll avoid bandaging with butter in future.
Title: Re: A tale of two Cheshires
Post by: Geo on November 12, 2013, 01:06:04 AM
We had a big storm, Sunday before last, and we had a 9-hour power cut. That was no problem in itself but meant I couldn't cook dinner. That meant I gave into temptation and opened the first two Cheshires, outlined at the beginning of this post.

The first, the smaller piece at the top of the first image, was made using a single-strain, L. lactis starter. It was pressed with a makeshift arrangement before I made my cheese press and was allowed to dry out a bit too much. It was also allowed to rise to too high a temp during the cheddaring phase which meant it didn't knit particularly well.

The second Cheshire, the lower of the two  cheeses in the top photo, was made with a more multi-strain (L. lactis, L. lactis cremoris, L. lactis biovar diacetylactis, S. thermophilus) blend. Both of these have now been maturing, waxed,  for two months. I cut a bit off the ends and then rewaxed the wheels to age further.

Both cheshires are white in appearance and crumbly in texture, but the first cheshire crumbled to the cut. You can see this in the second picture more clearly, where the first cheshire is at the top of the plate. The second Cheshire had a waxier, cheesier, texture, while still being a little crumbly. The second cheese had a much more rounded palate, which is not surprising considering the larger number of different cultures working away.

I'd like to say that these cheeses didn't have the flavour profiles I was looking for, but they didn't seem to hang around for long! They're decent, mediocre cheeses, but they've been a valuable learning process for me. What I've learned is:

- What I'm looking for isn't these heavily pressed cheshires, which are more like aged cheddar. I'm looking for something younger, fresher, and moister.
- These cheeses are drier than I want, and I have created that through being too zealous in my stirring. I'll stir the next batch less.
- Because the cheese were dry, they needed a lot of weight for pressing. So I'll press the next batch with less weight as well.
- I might like to allow a little more acid development and salt a bit more.

I definitely wouldn't call this a failed experiment, more a step in the learning process. And I haven't opened Cheshire #3 yet.
Title: Re: A tale of two Cheshires
Post by: Geo on November 12, 2013, 01:09:18 AM
Dammit, I put the wrong photo as the top one! Attached is the two cheeses as  cut: Cheshire #1 on top, Cheshire #2 on bottom.
Title: Re: A tale of two Cheshires
Post by: Boofer on November 12, 2013, 07:58:02 AM
Dammit, I put the wrong photo as the top one!
Geo, you can go back and "Modify" your posting, including shifting pics around.

Adopt the Zen pose...and breathe.... ^-^

-Boofer-
Title: Re: A tale of two Cheshires
Post by: Geo on November 12, 2013, 01:29:30 PM
Thanks Boofer. I knew I could modify the text, but must have had a "boy look" when I looked to see whether I could change the photo.  ::)
Title: Re: A tale of two Cheshires
Post by: Geo on December 19, 2013, 01:50:19 AM
Last night, with DH home, and a lovely sunny evening, we opened a bottle of wine on the back deck and broke into a pile of cheeses. First up were the Cheshires.

In the second photo, back to front, are cheshire #1, cheshire #2 and cheshire #3, with a wedge of stilton on front. To accompany them were sourdough baguettes fresh from the oven, home-made hummous, olives, semi-dried tomatoes and a handful of nuts.

Cheshire #1 was made according to the first recipe on this thread, with a single-strain L. lactis starter. I overshot the temp a bit, and misreading instructions, pressed it for 40 hours. The texture on this is very crumbly and while it tastes like cheese, it's the kind of cheese you'd like if you didn't know you could make better.

Cheshire #2 was made according to the second recipe on this thread, with a blend of starters. I cut this with a knife that cuts vertically and horizontally at the same time and which tore the curd, which meant I had uneven curd size during stirring. Again, misreading instructions, I pressed this for too long. You can tell the difference in the culture complexity with this one, and it tastes of Cheshire. It's a firmish paste but a pleasant cheese. It has the pleasant crumbliness, creaminess and acidity you expect from a good Cheshire. I've tried both of these before, and now that they've aged for three months, I can't really tell any further complexity in them compared to how they tasted at 1 month.

Cheshire #3 was made to the same recipe as Cheshire #2....although, if I can believe my notes, I made it using the L. lactis single-strain starter, precultured in milk the night before. This cheese was pressed overnight at 20 kg, given a 70C water bath the next day then pressed at 10kg increasing to 20 kg, then cloth bandaged with coconut oil. My then-'cave', a cooler, encouraged mould so I removed the coconut oil at one week and waxed the cheese. It's now 3 months and one week old, and it's a lot moister than the other cheeses. What's more, it's right on the money. THIS is the result I'm after. Nutty, slightly crumbly but holding its paste, lemony but not overpoweringly acid, and moist but a good firm paste. I'm really pleased, and the Cheshireman heaped high praise indeed.

Then, being on a cheese binge, we tried the stilton, a goat's-milk Valencay, and a 3-week-old chilli and smoked paprika cheshire, which I coated in smoked paprika and olive oil. That was so good I'll be making another of those this weekend. Still young and creamy, with a real chilli hit. I'll probably vacuum-seal half of this to age out a bit further.
Title: Re: A tale of two Cheshires
Post by: Geo on December 19, 2013, 03:25:24 PM
We revisited the Cheshires for dinner again last night, and agreed that the second Cheshire, with the blend of cultures, is a lovely cheese but with a notably more buttery flavour than the other two. I've concluded that a single-strain L. lactis starter gives the flavour profile I expect from a Cheshire.

The aromatic blend, nice as it is, gives a flavour more like a Lancashire or a Gloucester.
Title: Re: A tale of two Cheshires
Post by: graysalchemy on January 06, 2014, 09:51:02 AM
Wow what wonderful looking cheese. That is my ambition a selection of cheese to go with my bread and beer.

I need a cheese to go with my damson and tomato chutney I made yesterday using up the fruit which had been in my damson gin since october.  ;) ;)

Back on the quest for Stilton tomorrow and a crumbly cheese the day after.

 :) :)
Title: Re: A tale of two Cheshires
Post by: Geo on January 06, 2014, 11:24:31 PM
Gin-soaked damson and tomato chutney - that sounds amazing!

Good luck with the stilton. I think my cheesemaking is on hold for a short while until I find another suitable time window. Let us know how you go!
Title: Re: A tale of two Cheshires
Post by: graysalchemy on January 07, 2014, 03:29:06 AM
3 Gallons of milk heating up as we speak. Also going to do a caerphilly ish cheese tomorrow as well.  :)

Yes the Damson chutney is lovely  :)
Title: Re: A tale of two Cheshires
Post by: Geo on January 07, 2014, 03:12:54 PM
I'm loving the flat cap.   ;D
Title: Re: A tale of two Cheshires
Post by: graysalchemy on January 07, 2014, 03:58:50 PM
Good old Victor Meldrew I have a Christmas one as well but that has been put away for another year.
Title: Re: A tale of two Cheshires
Post by: Geo on April 08, 2014, 09:28:24 PM
Updating on Cheshire #3. This was made in early September last year, bandaged briefly then waxed when I became nervous about the moulds on the bandage. We tried a little in mid-December, then rewaxed the cut surface to age further.

Over the last few months, I've been noticing that something was leaking salty aged whey and had suspected some vac-packed stiltons. I noticed a couple of weeks ago that it was Cheshire 3#, through a pinhole gap in the rewaxed surface. At 6 months old and with Chesires #1 and #2 consumed it was about time to eat this one, so I removed the wax and found it swimming in whey (see photo below). Astounding considering it had been bandaged for a while before waxing.

I removed the wax and dried the whey off with paper towel. I let the cheese breathe for a few hours before trying it. The whey flavour is noticeable but not the sour bitter flavour that others have described. The fresh, nutty, lemony flavours we detected at three months old have been replaced by a more mature cheddar flavour. That isn't what I'm looking for from a Chesire (which is the young lemony flavours), but it's a decent aged cheese. I would say that this is at about the same level as a decent supermarket matured cheddar in terms of quality of flavour, but far from artisan quality. But it was the fifth cheese I made and I've learned a lot since then.

It makes a really good melting cheese though. We've used a bit melted onto various meals, keeping it in the regular fridge, and I'll probably vac-seal the remaining third to age out a little further, to see what happens.