Monday, June 17, 2013
Waxing the Cheese - No, Not Really
Making cheddar cheese is quite a lengthy process. This cheese was made the day before this picture was taken. For the step-by-step process see the post on Fern's Cheddar Cheese.
After the cheese had been in the press for the final 24 hours, we took it out to dry.
The mold is still pretty full since we put two batches of cheese, made from four gallons of milk, into one mold this time.
Frank had to roll the mold over and over and push on it to loosen up the cheese. We were afraid it might be stuck and the force we would need to use to get it out would break it up, but it didn't. Yea!
Next, carefully remove the cheese cloth. It is not unusual for a little bit of the cheese to stick to the cloth from the edges of the wheel.
Just take your time and slowly peel it off.
And, wa-la! You have a beautiful block of fresh cheddar cheese that has no flavor. The first time we made it I had to try some. It didn't taste like anything. I was disappointed. But the cheddar flavor comes with aging. So, be patient. The cheese has to be dry to the touch and form a kind of rind before it will be ready to wax. So this cheese will sit here on the counter for several days before I wax it.
Day 1 drying
The edges are starting to dry and the top and sides are getting kind of spotty looking - drier vs. more moist areas.
Day 2 still drying
The darker areas are 'spreading'. The cheese won't be dry until the entire surface is the darker color.
We turn the cheese over several times a day for even drying.
Day 3 and still drying
The cheese has a much darker color, but still has a way to go before it is ready to wax. It will be another day or two.
Well, on day 4 we began to wonder about the cheese. It smelled funny. So.....we cut it open. The inside smells just fine, but it is full of holes. We don't think we could press it hard enough with two batches in one cheese press. It will have to dry for a few more days. I have my doubts about this cheese.
Guess what? On day 5 we gave up on the idea of waxing this cheese and started eating it. It actually tastes pretty good. Not like cheddar, but a nice mild flavor. With all of the holes, we figured it would mold as it aged and that would make it a long waste of time.
I don't think any two batches of my cheese have come out exactly the same. It is always interesting if not very successful. But I guess that depends upon your idea of success. If I am learning something, then I consider myself to be doing quite well. It's better than sitting on the couch, staring at the television and eating cheese doodles!
Look for another post on waxing cheese. The next time we make cheddar, we will be using two cheese presses like we have in the past. So we will include pressing and waxing on that post.
Until next time - Fern