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Saturday, July 6, 2013

Cheese Storage, part 2

This is the second post in my Cheese Storage series. Today we're going to discuss the results of my new cheese storage method and also some pre-storage treatments I tried with the different cheeses. I'll start with the moldiest.

Cheshire at 17 days
My Cheshire wheel was really bad. I took all of my "before" photos with the cheese in the bag, because as you know, mold is gross. The pretreatment on this cheese was just an air dry (not long enough- maybe a few days) and then put into storage. The type of cheese (or at least how I made this type of cheese) turned out crumbly; not a solid mass of curd. It was like a lot of curds sticking together. This made it hard to dry, hard to cure, and hard to clean the mold out of. A wheel like this needs a VERY good pre-storage treatment, like wax or something. I haven't found that 'something' yet, obviously.

Swiss at 22 days
When I took the Swiss out of the back, it was very damp. I don't recall what treatment I used on it, though I doubt I soaked it in a salt brine. I may have buried it in salt for a day or two, but at any rate whatever I did wasn't enough. The cheese cleaned up well though, so I have high hopes for it. It will get an air-dry before I put it back into storage.

Havardi at 34 days
This wheel of Havardi got the salt-cure treatment. It washed up very well, with only one spot of mold still there after I was done. Given the fact that this cheese has been in storage for over a month, I think the salt-cure method was very successful.
Dill Havardi at 32 days
 The Dill Havardi had a decent amount of mold. It recieved a salt brine soaking (and I presume air-dry) before going into storage. Most of the mold washed off.
Havardi with Fresh Lemon Balm at 11 days
This Havardi has only had a week and a half to age, but there was no mold when I checked. I used a salt-brine soaking for this one, and put it into storage with some paper towels because it had not completely air dried yet.
Derby at 31 days
And here's the winner! This cheese was completely salt-cured with not a trace of mold, even after a month.

My conclusions on all of this is that 1) cheese needs to be dry when you put it in the bag, and 2) use lots of salt. It costs about $1.50 extra to use all that salt, but I think it's worth it. I mean, you're going to spend hours making a wheel of cheese- why waste a wheel when it could have been prevented for $1.50? In the future I want to try wine and oil pre-storage treatments as well.

Happy cheesemaking!

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