Monday, November 21, 2011

More on Cheddar Troubleshooting

After the port and beer cheddars sat overnight, after I had already tried to re-knit the curds using the water bath method, my port cheddar still showed signs of cracking where the curds meet.  The beer flavored cheddar seemed OK.  I emailed the author of "200 Easy Homemade Cheese Recipes" to see if she had more suggestions.

Evidently, I am doing all I can now that this happened.  She said she has run into this as well, until they finally discovered that the wine has a low pH (acidic) and that interferes with the curd's ability to knit when pressed.  Beer can also have this effect, but less so.  Hmmm...seems to match my experience.  She suggested that the next time, I buy a wine conditioner and add it to the port before soaking the curds.  It raises the pH and helps.  The downside is that it sweetens the wine.  Wine conditioners are made with complex sugars.  I think, too, I'll still warm the port to 100F to keep the curds warm while they soak, just to be sure.  Patting the curds with a lint-free towel after they've soaked will also help.

But for now, I just have to baby the port cheddar until I can wax it.  Waxing will hold the curds together.  Right now, I'm repressing the port cheddar while it's wrapped in dry cheesecloth, under very light pressure.  This is expressing any moisture, holding the curds closed, and the cheesecloth is wicking away that moisture so the curds can knit a little more.  After that, it's handle with exreme caution.

No comments:

Post a Comment