Parmesan style probable failure... what to do?

Started by luvscritrs, May 31, 2023, 02:31:03 AM

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Good evening!  I am new to cheesemaking so I have a LOT to learn.  I've made about 7 different recipes so far, Camembert, Swiss, Gouda etc.  When I use raw milk, it appears they turn out pretty well. (I've only opened one Camembert so far... I'm THAT new to this!)  Twice however, I didn't let my raw milk folks know I needed milk in time, so I've tried using store bought milk.  The Mustard and Ale cheese seemed to do reasonably well, but it did start cracking while drying.  I decided to fill the cracks with Amish butter and vac pack them to retain the moisture.  They feel more pliable now after just over a month of aging.  The PARM however.... UGH.  I decided to use store bought since I was supposed to use 2% anyway.  I used Gavin's recipe, and a Sous Vide set up so my temps were EXACT.  I did a 6 gallon batch.  Maybe I dried the curds out too much, or maybe I let it get too acidic before removing the curds since they took a little longer to come up to temp than I anticipated.  I poured whey through the mould and even poured some over the curds once they were in the mould to make sure everything was warm.  The result is quite strange really; I have a heavy dense cheese, but individual curds around the edges are crumbly making it rather hard to flip.  Since it was a mess to begin with I decided to try putting it back in the press and added more weight for another couple of hours.  This did improve it, but still, it's almost like the middle has knitted, but the sides have not!  (I'm using a high quality dutch press btw)  There isn't a chance in the word that I'll be able to maintain this cheese as there are too many crevices for molds, and I know I'm not supposed to vac pack this type, so are there ANY suggestions other than 'throw it out'?  I really wonder if the quality of the milk affected this as I got it from a big box store with a "W".  It was a brand name but not sure that mattered.  It claimed to be regular pasteurized/homogenized, not ultra.  The whey didn't pour out when in the press and it was pretty clear so I wasn't losing what little fat this milk had that way.  Thank you in advance for your input!!!!!

Andrew Marshallsay

I haven't made Parmesan, but I'll offer a couple of thoughts anyway. From Gianaclis Caldwell' book 'Mastering Artisan Cheesemaking', in reference to Parmesan; "When curd is cooked too long in the vat, the wheel may come apart during brining" and " If your make strays from them (time and temperature goals)...try to adjust so that total time and temperature goals are met."
As to milk, I always use unhomogenised milk. Apparently, the homogenisation process damages the protein structure.
Like you, I've had problems with cheese, particularly hard cheeses such as cheddar, cracking during drying and have successfully used butter as you did. I believe that this is due to the rind drying faster than the interior of the wheel. To prevent this, I will place the new cheese in an aging box (plastic container) with the lid partly open. This increases the humidity and slows the rate of drying.
If throwing your Parmesan out is your only option, why not  see what happens if you vacuum pack it. Good Luck!
- Andrew

B e n

Use calcium chloride with the treated milk if you aren't already.

You can attempt to reknit the cheese, heat it in just off boiling water for about 3 minutes and repress. Chances are good it's an acidity problem rather than a pressing or milk problem.