Monday, July 29, 2019

Cheese Making Goals and Troubleshooting the Cheese Cave

I've come up with my cheese making goals for 2019! I just have to place an order for some fresh cultures and I'm all set to go. I also have to make a schedule so that all of these aren't ready at the same time! I already have three Cheddars aging and I'll make more once the 3-month Cheddar (ready in October) passes the taste test!

My cheese cave is basically a small bar fridge that I try to keep around 10 degrees Celcius. This is a good temperature to age most cheeses. My challenge is to keep it around 10 without the fridge turning off completely. I check every morning to make sure it's not getting too cold in there. This morning it was just under 9 degrees. 

I know that one degree may not seem like much, but I don't want to take any chances with my precious cheeses! I took all of the soda cans out because they tend to keep things colder in there. I also turned the knob down to the position just before it would turn the fridge off. I also put a tea towel in the tray under the freezer. 

An hour later it hit 11.5 degrees! A wee bit warm so I'm going to be fiddling with the knob all day to hit the sweet spot! Someone once said they thought it was funny how I "babysat" my cheese...I'm very passionate about food and creating so yes, I'm proud to be babysitting my cheese!


Leanna said...

I understand completely about the babysitting your cheese. Really you went through a lot to get it made and you want to age it right. I did notice you bagged it in a food saver bag. shouldn't the cheese be allowed to breathe so it forms that outer shell? I'm just wondering but if this works let me know because I've been fiddling with making my own cheese too. Cheese prices are much too high for my wallet.

Rain said...

Hi Leanna :) Cheese prices are ridiculous and honestly we can't eat the grocery store cheeses anymore (like Kraft and Cracker Barrel etc) because they upset our digestions. I don't know what has changed over the years but my gosh, the quality has really gone down. That's why I looked into making my own. We eats LOTS of cheese, I'd say it was our main source of protein. It's nice to know what's in your cheese too. I've been having a lot of fun learning about bacteria strains, cultures and different cheeses.

It's a bit of an expensive investment at first but once you have all your stuff, the only real cost is the milk.

Yup, I bag my cheeses to age them. It's either that or waxing because I don't have the proper setting to age them in a humid and safe (cat-free) environment! There are SO MANY debates on whether the vacuum seal works against the cheese while aging. Honestly, I vacuum seal ALL of my cheeses, even the ones I buy from the cheese shop - as soon as we get them home. They last longer.

I haven't found any issue with vacuum sealing my cheeses so far. Some say that they will have a weird odour once you open them (due to ammonia build up) - so you let them sit for a day before eating them if you want! Some say they will be too moist and they will develop too much mould...there are lots of considerations. But I work with what I have. I actually look at my cheeses daily and if I see mould or too much condensation, I open up the seal, wipe it all down or brush off the mould, let it air dry and then re-seal it.

I may do a Cheddar that I wax to see the difference though since I do have some non-coloured wax. I just remember opening an Edam cheese (red wax) and the whole wheel tasted like plastic so I veered away from waxing.

Yes, the cheese will still form a rind with or without the vacuum seal because after you've finished your pressing, you let it air dry about 3 days and that's when the rind starts to form. It continues to form and age even in the seal.

Ideally I want Alex to build me a real cheese cave with humidity and temperature control, bug and mice-proof too...but I have a feeling that won't happen any time soon, we just don't have the space for it!

Leigh said...

Excellent goals Rain. I hope you get your cheese cave to behave!

Leftycrafter said...

I would think with the vacuum seal bags you would not need to worry about bugs or mice. I thought the bags kept the smell in. Am I wrong?

I think it is wonderful to make whatever you can at home. Store bought items have so many preservatives and additives these days. Hence the reason I make our own breads, brownies, cookies and other goodies from scratch. I control what goes into my food! The farmers market is my best friend for our fruits and veggies too. I love to buy local as much as possible.

Rain said...

Thanks Leigh! I'm still fiddling around with it, got to 12C this morning, a little too on the warm side!!!

Rain said...

Hi Marsha :) The bags will keep the smell in, from the ammonia that builds up as the cheese is aging. I've read that once a month or so, it's okay to break the seal, dry it up again then re-seal it, but I'm going to test things out as I go. Buying local is something I've started to do almost exclusively too. We have a great market a few towns over and that's where I do most of my shopping now. Baking and cooking from scratch is so much better I agree!! :) Though, you have more of a challenge doing things gluten free.