When I last wrote, I asked for your help in sharing with the Curd Nerd readers what other home cheese makers are using to ripen and age their cheeses.
There comes a time when most home cheese makers decide to move on from making fresh cheeses, to aged cheeses, but one thing that often holds them back is the seemingly difficult task of creating the right aging environment for their cheeses to maturein.
But it really doesn’t have to be that hard, or too expensive. Read more
Once upon a time there was only cling film, and sandwich bags. Then someone found a way to take the concept of those two items and invented a product which didn’t just cover your food in plastic, but it actually sucked out all the air first, creating a air-tight, vacuum sealed wrapper.
This post is Part 8 of the continued basic home cheese making instructions. See the Curd Nerd Beginner Page for previous parts.
It’s not always true what they say, that age doesn’t matter.
For cheese, it most certainly does.
Aging cheese (also known as ripening or maturing) is an important part of developing the signature of the particular cheese you are making. It allows time for millions of microbes and enzymes to do their thing, breaking down the proteins and fats into a complex combination of acids that influences how texture, taste and aroma are expressed in your chosen cheese.
A longer aging time causes a firmer, more intense cheese, whereas short aging times result in a more mild taste and a softer ‘paste’. Read more
If you feel so inclined to play with some older, traditional methods of preserving cheese, ‘bandaging’ is an interesting and fun technique to try out.
It is also a more natural method that will appeal to those not wanting to preserve their cheese with colored waxes.
Bandaging involves wrapping your cheese in cheese cloth bandage and then sealing it with a fat based product like lard. And while it is still a slightly messy preserving technique much like waxing, it looks pretty neat when it’s done.
It also produces a better flavored cheese due to the molds that form around the bandage and contribute to the aging of the cheese. Bandaging also allows your cheese to breathe as compared to wax or vacuum sealing. Read more
Aging, preserving and storing cheese can present a few challenges for home cheese makers, between battling with rinds, molds, brines, wraps and waxes and trying to control humidity and temperatures.
There are many tried and true methods and just as many personal recommendations for how to nurture and protect your cheese and it can all get a bit confusing about what works and what doesn’t, and for those wanting to be true to the art of cheese making, what’s wrong and what’s right. Read more
Most cheese recipes require salt to be added, rubbed or soaked in at some stage in the cheese making process. Salt is an important part of cheese making and has multiple purposes including assisting in drawing out whey, preserving the cheese and protection against undesirable moulds.
When you get into making cheese, there quickly comes a point when you have to figure out just where you’re going to age and store all this fabulous cheese you’re making.
Initially when you first start out, and you are focusing on soft cheeses such as Feta, Haloumi and Ricotta, it’s not such a problem because these can be stored in brine, oil or vacuum packed and stored in a standard fridge.
But when you get into the harder cheeses and the mold aged cheeses you will need something that provides the right conditions for storing your cheeses while they mature.
So what are those conditions? And why can’t you just use the kitchen fridge?