Need Pressed Cheese Help

Discussion in 'Cheese & Dairy' started by jimandpj, Apr 24, 2008.

  1. jimandpj

    jimandpj New Member

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    I have now made 6 pressed cheeses. Two of them cheddars (Ricki Carroll's book) and 4 of them the farmhouse cheese recipe from Carla Emery's book.

    When cut open, the two cheddars did not have any holes in them. All 4 of the farmhouse cheeses have small holes in them. In my cheese book, it says that small holes mean contamination. Could the farmhouse cheese recipe just have holes in it and not actually be contaminated? We threw one of them out, but we actually ate one of them. None of us have gotten sick - yet ;)

    Here is the recipe for the farm cheese:


    Basic Farm Cheese

    Heat 2 gallons milk to 86F.
    Add ¼ rennet tablet (mixed with water).
    Stir well.
    Let set quietly until it curds (~20 minutes).
    Cut into ½ inch cubes.
    Bathe the curds for 2 minutes with your hands.
    Slowly warm to 102, stirring occasionally and gently.
    Take off the stove and let set for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
    Pour into a cheesecloth lined colander.
    Add 1Tbsp salt and mix.
    Add another Tbsp salt and mix.
    Let drip for rest of the day.
    Press overnight.
    Let dry in an airy, cool place, turning frequently.
    Wax it.
    Age at least 2 months.

    The one we ate was VERY good - even if it did have little holes in it. And it is very easy to make.

    It just seems a little two coincidental that the 2 cheddars had NO holes and the 4 farmhouse ALL had holes. I followed the same sanitation practices with all the cheeses.

    What do you think? Does the recipe just produce holes and can I safely eat it? Or is it really contaminated and needs to be thrown out? Or even if it is contaminated is it safe to eat after it has aged 2 months and I just have to deal with the holes being there?

    Thanks!!!!
    PJ
     
  2. cmharris6002

    cmharris6002 Guest

    What did the little holes look like? were they like the holes in a sponge? Did the cheese feel spongy? If the holes were irregular shaped it is no big deal.

    Christy
     

  3. jimandpj

    jimandpj New Member

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    Here is a photo. The cheese on the left was made 3 days ago. The one on the right 2 days ago. The one on the right is a "bit" spongy. But the farmhouse cheese has always been softer than the cheddars.

    PJ

    [​IMG]


    Here is a link in case the image doesn't come up.

    http://i250.photobucket.com/albums/gg259/jimandpj/DSCF0037.jpg

    Thanks, Christy!
    PJ
     
  4. jimandpj

    jimandpj New Member

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    Christy - or anyone else - what do you think?? Are these cheese holes irregular enough to be "no big deal"???

    Thanks,
    PJ
     
  5. cmharris6002

    cmharris6002 Guest

    PJ, these types of holes are caused by yeast but I can not figure out why it only happens to this cheese and not to others you are making.

    Christy
     
  6. Sondra

    Sondra New Member

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    Could it be possible that there was too much humidity when these were made or warmer than when the cheddar was made?
     
  7. jimandpj

    jimandpj New Member

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    Christy - if the holes are caused by yeast - is it still safe to eat?

    And for my education - it is the "irregular" shaped holes that tell you it is yeast? What do coliform holes look like?

    Sondra - I alternated the days the cheeses were made - two farmhouses and a cheddar were made 3 days in a row. I don't know the exact weather conditions on the days they were made (maybe I'll start adding that to my notes), but those 3 sat next to each other to dry out.

    Is there anything you can do to keep yeast out? I try to work in as sterile conditions as I can make my kitchen. But honestly - there are 8 children running around here all day - so it's never going to be like a factory. :D I sterilize the pots and all utensils. But the cheese does drip and press and dry in the house. As long as it is still safe to eat - it's not a big deal. I don't mind the holes and it still tastes good!

    I've got a 4 pound farmhouse cheese in the press right now. For the first time I pasteurized the milk before I made the cheese (I wanted to see if that prevented the holes). I hated pasteurizing it though and don't want to have to do that if I don't have to. I'll let you know in two months how it turns out! ;)

    Thanks!!!
    PJ
     
  8. cmharris6002

    cmharris6002 Guest

    Yes, see how they resemble the yeast holes in bread? Coliform holes are usually more numerous and more uniform in size?

    I think I figured out why this only happens with your Basic Farm Cheese recipe, I just noticed that the recipe does not call for a culture! The purpose of the culture is to acidify the milk in order to ensure the lactic bacteria grows in proper proportion for the type of cheese you are making. By not using a culture you fail to achieve proper acidification which has allowed the cheese to become contaminated.

    These holes are considered a flaw in cheese making. I can not tell you if the cheese is safe to eat or not. I would feel terrible if I told you it was fine and someone got sick from eating it!

    Christy
     
  9. jimandpj

    jimandpj New Member

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    Yeah Christy! An answer! Thank you! Thank you!

    Well... we did eat the one cheese with holes... and nobody got sick. Maybe I'll just feed it all to my husband and keep it from the children. ;)

    I guess I'll either add a mesophilic starter to that recipe - or just go back to the cheddar recipe for now.

    Thanks, again!
    PJ