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GENERAL CHEESE MAKING BOARDS (Specific Cheese Making in Boards above) => Problems - Questions - Problems - Questions? => Topic started by: meyerandray on March 13, 2013, 09:27:01 AM

Title: Waxed pepper jack leaking
Post by: meyerandray on March 13, 2013, 09:27:01 AM
Hello all!  I am brand new to this exciting world of cheesemaking.  I am American, but live in Italy, and decided to start with a pepper jack cheese.  It is my first attempt at making cheese, I followed a recipe that I found on a blog called "chickens in the road".  I dried the cheese for 4 days, and just whe it felt dry enough to wax, I noticed some blue mold on some of the peppers that were exposed.  I wiped down with aplle cider vinegar (I didn't have any white vinegar) and fished out any pieces that didn't come away with a light wipe.  I waxed in beeswax because that is what I was able to find in my area.  Alog the boarder I have noticed a hairline crack, and when I went to turn the cheese yesterday I noticed a drop of clear liquid oozing out of this hairline crack.  I have been keeping a close eye o it, and a drop contiues to ooze out.  The liquid is transparent and has no odor.  The temperature in my cellar is admittedly a little too warm, probably around 14 degrees C (about 57 degrees F).  Should I wax over the hairline fracture to stop the liquid from coming out?  There seems to be no liquid accumulating in the wax, and the quantity that is coming out is very little.  I can't see any mold development under the wax.  The cheese was waxed the 8th of March (5 days ago). 
I made a farmhouse cheddar that was waxed on the 10th of March, it is in the same aging environment and has no liquid oozing out.  Should I conclude that my pepper jack is a bust?  Thank you all in advance for any advice you can offer!
Title: Re: Waxed pepper jack leaking
Post by: Tomer1 on March 13, 2013, 09:41:43 AM
Beeswax from my expirience is very ireliable, even when mixed with lard to form a more pliable wax.
Its not too late for your cheese. you need to unwax and let it dry further.
The reason your farmhouse cheddar did not expell liquid is likely because its a dried curd cheese compered to the Jack.
14c is on the upper side of a cave's temp but its not excessive.
Title: Re: Waxed pepper jack leaking
Post by: meyerandray on March 13, 2013, 09:51:31 AM
Hi Tomer1, thank you for your response!  I will unwax and let it dry further, but what should I do about the blue mold that was forming pre-waxing, I can only imagine that will happen again, my concern is mostly that it will get IN the cheese.
I haven't been able to find anyone who sells cheesewax in quantities less than 50 kg (which is A LOT of wax) and because I am just getting into this, I was trying to make do with what is available (my next door neighbor keeps bees).  I live in the Alps and we make tommes here, no waxed cheeses in the area.  Do you suggest I don't wax as opposed to using beeswax?  Or is there some way that I could be extra careful using the beeswax?
Title: Re: Waxed pepper jack leaking
Post by: stratocasterdave on March 13, 2013, 01:25:22 PM
I wouldn't worry about the blue too much.  Just wipe it down with a salt vinegar brine.  That blue may get into the cheese a bit through the surface inclusions you have with the pepper though.

Can you show us the recipe and time/temps you used?  I did a jack cheese recipe once that had me pressing to early. I ended up with too much residual whey. 

Try drying it a little longer then re-wax.  What's the relative humidity in your cave?
Title: Re: Waxed pepper jack leaking
Post by: meyerandray on March 13, 2013, 04:23:31 PM
The recipe:
A little less than 8 liters of raw, unpasteurized milk
mesophilic starter, divided by me so very approximately for 8 liters (which I now think may have been too much for raw milk?)
1/2 tsp liquid rennet in 1/4 cup filtered water
1 Tblsp salt

Milk to 31 C (about 87 F), st starter, raised to 32 C (89 F) but accidentally went up to 34 C (93 F) for 30 minutes
added rennet and water at 33 C (91 F) goal set was 45 minutes, ended up getting clean cut at 1 hr 10 minutes
Left at 31C (88 F) after cutting for 40 min, stirring occassionally
Began to raise temp, accidentally raised to fast, already at 35C (95 F) in the first 5 minutes, raised slowly the last 3 degrees (to 38 C - 100 F) and maintained temp for 30 minutes, stirring occassionally
Ladled the curds into cheesecloth-lined collander, and mixed in salt, then mixed in peppers (fresh hot peppers)
transfered to a cheesecloth-lined cheese mold and pressed with 2.2 kg (a little less than 5 llbs) for 15 minutes.
Turned cheese and pressed at about 10 llbs for 16 hours
Took it out and air dried for 4 days, it was dry to the touch, but had blue mold on some of the visible peppers.
Waxed with beeswax.

I don't know my RH in my "cave"  This is my first cheese, and it is in a very unprofessional environment, I read that waxed cheeses aren't too sensitive to relative humidity though?

Thank you and I hope this isn't to long to hold your interest!!
PS a photo of the form after pressing, before drying, and another photo after waxing
Title: Re: Waxed pepper jack leaking
Post by: Tomer1 on March 13, 2013, 05:24:41 PM
Hi Tomer1, thank you for your response!  I will unwax and let it dry further, but what should I do about the blue mold that was forming pre-waxing, I can only imagine that will happen again, my concern is mostly that it will get IN the cheese.
I haven't been able to find anyone who sells cheesewax in quantities less than 50 kg (which is A LOT of wax) and because I am just getting into this, I was trying to make do with what is available (my next door neighbor keeps bees).  I live in the Alps and we make tommes here, no waxed cheeses in the area.  Do you suggest I don't wax as opposed to using beeswax?  Or is there some way that I could be extra careful using the beeswax?
Perhaps you can get some cream coating. (PVA coating)
Title: Re: Waxed pepper jack leaking
Post by: Schnecken Slayer on March 14, 2013, 12:30:30 AM
That is a nice looking cheese straight from the mould.

A quick question, Did you sterilise the peppers before adding them?
Title: Re: Waxed pepper jack leaking
Post by: meyerandray on March 14, 2013, 01:56:45 AM
hmmm, no, I did not sterilize the peppers.  I am starting to wish  I had found this board before starting!  The recipe didn't say to sterizlize them, but that sounds more than logical, not to mention that I could have stopped and considered that fresh peppers contain water, which would be undesireable in an aging cheese.  I am thinking I should make pepper jack again, this one may be a bust, or is there any last second move I could make to save it?  Should we just eat it now, as is?  I am un-waxing to re-dry today.
Title: Re: Waxed pepper jack leaking
Post by: Schnecken Slayer on March 14, 2013, 04:05:14 AM
I asked because you mentioned the blue was next to the pepper and I thought they may be the source.
It may not be an issue as I am new to cheesemaking as well, I only started last september!

Others here who are older and wiser may be able to help more. (Although they may not be older, except in experience)

PS I have also found this forum to be a valuable asset. :)
Title: Re: Waxed pepper jack leaking
Post by: stratocasterdave on March 14, 2013, 09:32:23 AM
Just another idea, while look at your recipe notes.  You mentioned that you may have raised the temp of the curd a little too quickly.  That may be your reason for have all the whey retention. Maybe.

I believe that the cut curd can "dry" quicker than the inside creating a skin that holds in too much whey. This can happen when the temp is raised to quickly.  Sorry, not a technical answer.  I have had this happen. 

I would guess that the blue worked its way in through the surface inclusions of the peppers.  You can try to pick it out or rub with salt and vinegar to get at it.  Or...just live with it.  :-)

Good luck!!
Title: Re: Waxed pepper jack leaking
Post by: meyerandray on March 14, 2013, 11:52:30 AM
My tricky pepper jack, now out of the wax definitely contains too much moisture.  Will it ever dry out enough?  Where I picked out the blue mold before waxing, none has re-formed, but I have noticed the beginning of a suspicious, grey, hairy type mold (if I remember from my microbiology class a million years ago, hairy grey mold is bad).  Should I cut this part off or will it suffice to just wipe it down with vinegar?
Will my pepper jack be able to be re-waxed if it does in fact have too much whey because of the overheating?
Here are some photos, the last one is a close up of the potentially suspicious mold...
Title: Re: Waxed pepper jack leaking
Post by: Schnecken Slayer on March 14, 2013, 02:48:32 PM
Wipe it off with a saturated salt and vinegar mix and keep an eye on it daily.

It may only need 3 or 4 days to dry out a bit.
I would consider vacuum bagging it as well. That way you can see if any more whey is leaking.
Title: Re: Waxed pepper jack leaking
Post by: Tomer1 on March 15, 2013, 02:27:00 AM
That is a nice looking cheese straight from the mould.

A quick question, Did you sterilise the peppers before adding them?

You cant accually sterilise spices\fruit\veg at home. Well you can if you have access to maybe an Ozone generator (you can kill what ever is on the outside surface) or a gama-ray radiator. (kills everything)
you can sanitize stuff (reducing microbial load to a reasonable amount which will not harm the cheese or your health). Pav suggested the use of acid (citric can work) or weak bleach for use with herbs. I suppose you can also do this with dehydrated peppers.
Title: Re: Waxed pepper jack leaking
Post by: Schnecken Slayer on March 15, 2013, 03:42:25 AM
You cant accually sterilise spices\fruit\veg at home. Well you can if you have access to maybe an Ozone generator (you can kill what ever is on the outside surface) or a gama-ray radiator. (kills everything)
you can sanitize stuff (reducing microbial load to a reasonable amount which will not harm the cheese or your health). Pav suggested the use of acid (citric can work) or weak bleach for use with herbs. I suppose you can also do this with dehydrated peppers.


Yes, you should sanitise them, it is only the outsides that need to be treated before cutting.

It is the same process as removing blue contamination from your cheese. You can use salt and vinegar or heat to kill any spores that may be there. The other option is to use a mild sterilising product such as Milton's sterilising solution as used for baby's bottles.  http://www.milton-tm.com/sterilising_fluid.html (http://www.milton-tm.com/sterilising_fluid.html)

I hope this helps.
Cheers,
Bill.
Title: Re: Waxed pepper jack leaking
Post by: Tomer1 on March 15, 2013, 08:13:00 AM
Looks like hydrogen peroxide.
Title: Re: Waxed pepper jack leaking
Post by: Schnecken Slayer on March 15, 2013, 02:50:59 PM
Looks like hydrogen peroxide.
There is no Hydrogen peroxide in the Milton product. However, if you found some with suitable strength it could also be used.
The other product you could use, although you would need to rinse the peppers well, is camden tablets as used in wine making. These kill all the unwanted yeasts and spores on the grapes by releasing sulphur dioxide. (Not recommended if you are asthmatic)
Title: Re: Waxed pepper jack leaking
Post by: meyerandray on March 16, 2013, 04:30:08 AM
I re-waxed today, it was looking and feeling pretty dry, I don't have a vacuum sealer, so I will just keep an eye on it if it starts to leak again.  The mold did not come back, neither the blue nor the blackish one that maybe was never there, and I was just being paranoid.  I wiped it down once a day while it was re-drying with vinegar and salt solution.  I hope it will make it through the rest of its time aging!  Thanks for all your help, and I will definitely sanitize in the future, dry out better before waxing, and be much more careful with the temps during the make!!
Title: Re: Waxed pepper jack leaking
Post by: tnbquilt on March 16, 2013, 09:05:30 AM
I make pepper jack with fresh peppers. I chop up a jalopeno and put it in a little bowl and cover it with the amount of salt that I plan on putting in my cheese. I do that 1st, so that it sits while I make the cheese. Then in the end I toss it in. I read that on a different cheese forum, and I've never had the peppers mold.

I also put a tablespoon of red pepper flakes in 1/2 cup of water and boil it, and I add that to the curds also. It adds a little heat.

Pepper Jack is a very moist cheese. I have had weeping after I waxed it, but then I learned to make sure it was dry before I waxed it.

We seem to make and eat a lot of pepper jack. It's my husband's favorite cheese. It goes well on sandwiches, hamburgers, stuffed inside of the hamburger, and cheese dips. We also just eat it with crackers.

I need to make some next weekend.
Title: Re: Waxed pepper jack leaking
Post by: Schnecken Slayer on March 16, 2013, 04:01:50 PM
Salting the peppers sounds like an easy solution Tammy. Thank you for for the tip.
Title: Re: Waxed pepper jack leaking
Post by: meyerandray on March 16, 2013, 04:42:37 PM
Tammy, do you salt them in a colander? I imagine they sweat, so do you put them in the curds with their liquid? How long do you age your pepper jack before tasting?
Title: Re: Waxed pepper jack leaking
Post by: High Altitude on March 20, 2013, 10:45:52 PM
Tammy -  I experienced almost exactly the same thing with my pepperjack.  You'll see in the first photo that it is nice coming out of the press, however as the hours and days passed during drying, it flattened out by about half.  You can see it compared to another black waxed cheese that was similar original size in the third pic.

I used dry red pepperflakes in this make, but used fresh habaneros/jalepenos in the first.  I read somewhere that I should chop and blanch fresh peppers for a couple of minutes, and then pat the peppers dry before adding to the curds. 

Both cheeses are still aging so cannot give you results of either, but can say that neither of the cheeses has leaked in the wax (that I can tell), so I'm hoping for the best.  I do tend to air dry those wetter cheeses until I am positive there will be no further draining...maybe too long sometimes?  :o.

Hoping the best for yours  :D!