Sunday, September 10, 2017

Cheese Updates

Colby Cheese: As I suspected, the holes are due to the fact that it wasn't pressed enough. When I made this huge cheese, which took 10 liters of milk!!!, I didn't have a big enough cheese mold. I wrapped the cheese in cheesecloth, then put it in a round plastic colander. 

When you make a hard cheese, it needs to be pressed down by weight. Between the cheese and your weight, you have what's called a "follower". It's basically the top part that pushes the cheese flat and holds the weight on top evenly.

I didn't have this piece of equipment for a larger cheese. I have one for my Cheddars, but they can hold a maximum curd from 6 liters of milk. Since my Colby was made from 10 liters of milk, I had to improvise with a cappuccino saucer, which wasn't as flat as I would have wanted!

If it were flat, then I would have no holes because I have the right amount of weight. Now, that's all technicalities because my cheese will still have a nice flavour! Mystery solved! I've ordered a bigger cheese mold with a follower.

I gave into temptation! I opened up the aging Mozzarella! I don't regret it at all, it was so delicious and melted very well on the pizzas we made. As you can see, I did a side-by-side comparison of 2 balls of Mozza that were made in the same batch. The one on the left is the one I aged for a week after it dried. The one on the right went right into the freezer after it was made. The aging process dried out the cheese and gave it a sharper flavour, as well as made it perfect for grating. The non-aged Mozza was very good, but the taste was much milder and the texture softer. A different cheese for a different purpose!

Look at this lovely cheese! I'm so proud that I made this! :) I hope I can always recreate this Pizza Mozzarella now! I just don't want to buy anymore store-bought "cheese food" anymore!!

12-Month Cheddar: The Cheddar that will age for the next year dried nicely. I had to brush off some mould spots a few times, but otherwise, the rind is nice and hard now after a week of drying. The first two Cheddars I made were coated with an orange cheese coating. This was to help keep mould off the cheese - didn't really live up to its claim, so I decided no more coating. Natural rind then sealing is the way to go!

Newcastle Infused Cheddar: I can't wait to cut into this one! I'm aging this until Christmas or New Year's. It smells like the beer and Cheddar mix that I thought it would! It's very exciting! I now have 5 Cheddars in the cheese cave.

I love my vacuum sealer! I do know that vacuum sealing ages the cheese differently from waxing or natural coating. Waxing provides minute air flow which helps in the aging process. Vacuum sealing is what it seals food from air coming in. It will still age as the bacteria develops, but not as well as it would in other conditions. The flavour may not be as rich as it would if I had a real cheese cave too. But honestly? For my needs right now, it's the best choice. Cheesy-snobs would say that only amateurs vacuum-seal (yes I've heard that one...)...and that waxing is the only way to coat a cheese; then there are other so-called home-cheese-experts who will say that natural wrapping (with lard and cheesecloth) is the only true method of aging a cheese. Why must everyone be a critic??? I don't have the luxury of space so I've made my choice and I'm happy with it! :)

One day I'll wax a cheese at the same time as I vacuum-seal one, and test the results side by side. Then I'll probably decide which way I like better. And hopefully one day I'll have a big large REAL cave in the basement that is sealed from critters so that I can naturally age all of my cheeses!


Plowing Through Life (Martha) said...

Amazing! I love all your cheese creations and find the whole process fascinating. You're getting to be quite the cheese making expert!

Treey said...

Well done Rain. How you do it all is amazing.

MrsDuncanMahogany said...

I echo DO you do it all??!!! :) :)

You are an inspiration!

Rain said...

Thanks Martha! I'm enjoying every minute. I remember the first Cheddar and how stressed out I was, now I'm very relaxed and confident, that helps a lot! :)

Rain said...

Thanks Terry :)) I need to be busy or else depression starts to rear its ugly head. I don't stop from the minute I wake up until after dinner. It helps me a lot to stay balanced! :)

Rain said...

Oh thank you Dianna :)) You'll be making oodles of cheese too once you can retire!!! If I had a full-time job, I wouldn't do any of this stuff I think! :)

Jenn said...

I don't think I will ever get into cheese making, but I sure like seeing you do it! It's neat to see how they work. Can't wait for the cheddars to be ready!!

Rain said...

I can't wait too Jenn! :))