CHEESE THE DAY
Camembert / Brie
Greek style Feta
CAMEMBERT / BRIE
Too high humidity during the initial aging process
Condensation on your aging container will be a good give away if this is occurring. Not only will your humidity be too high but condensation will also cause water beads to drop onto the cheese, contaminating it and creating too much moisture.
Ensure there is only minimal water added at the beginning (10ml distilled water). If there is too much humidity (condensation), clean out container, add only 10ml water with cheese sitting on a mat/draining rack. If condensation persists - crack open the lid a little.
Too much moisture in the cheese at the time of aging
If your cheese goes into the aging containers with too much whey still present in the curd, and then you increase the humidity by closing the cheese in, you are very likely to end up with slip skin. Slip skin is a defect that makes the appearance of your cheese look less appealing and often clearly separates from the centre mass of the cheese, hence "slip" skin.
Ensure curds are properly drained before removing from the hoops and dry salt or brine to encourage the release of more whey (2% of the cheese mass after taking out of hoop).
Also make sure your Camembert/Brie is properly dry before putting it into the aging container.
The white mould rind forming too quickly
By adding additional ripening agents or speeding up the ripening process in higher temperatures, you run the risk of creating slip skin. In addition to the obvious odd appearance of slip skin, your cheese will also likely have a strong ammonia smell if it has been left to ripen once slip skin has taken hold.
Ripen at temperatures between 10-14c. Too high a temperature will encourage rapid mould growth rather than a growth that supports the ripening of the whole cheese.
Can You Eat The Rind Of Camembert If It Has Slip Skin
Slip skin definitely affects the appearance of your cheese but all is not lost if you spot slip skin early.
Just cut off the rind, leave the cheese to air for a bit and then enjoy it as a fresh cheese rather than ripened.
If you allow the slip skin to remain & continue with ripening, it will develop an ammonia smell which can be off-putting. If you wish to salvage the cheese at this point, unwrap and allow the cheese to air for 30mins.
The ammonia smell may dissipate but if not, it might be best to discard the cheese, chalk it up to experience and try again.
Once sufficient mould has formed, you will have wrapped your cheese & stored in the normal temperature range of a standard refrigerator.
Your cheese will generally be ready for consumption in at the age of 4 – 6 weeks, depending on your taste.
You can tell when it is ready by pressing the cheese in the centre, if it is ripe it will be slightly soft. Not ripe & it will be very firm.
Bring out of the fridge 30minutes before consuming so that the cheese has an opportunity to make the flavours more available as it warms.
As this cheese is somewhat delicate in flavour, you can go two ways with pairing. Pairing Brie with something acidic will bring out its creaminess and soft texture – fruits such as pear, cranberry or apple. More neutral to alkaline pairings such as fig , honey or nuts may allow more of the flavour from the cultures come through - delivering more robust on-the-nose-and-palate flavour.
Cheddar has no flavour
You have opted to taste your cheese & it doesn't taste like much at all...There are three possible reasons - flavour enhancing cultures, time and temperature.
Always read your recipe - if your first attempt at cheddar you opted to only apply the standard cultures, consider adding a flavour culture next batch. Ensure cheddar is aged at the appropriate temperature in your cheese cave, allow it time to develop - the younger the cheese, the less flavourful it will be.
Cheddar tastes very acidic
You've given the young cheddar a try and it is very sour! Sometimes this can be an issue during pressing - not enough whey was expelled and there was too much lactose remaining in the curd. The cultures added to the milk break the lactose down and lower the pH. If there is a high volume of lactose to convert - our cheese will be acidic.
Ensure curds are quite dry when it comes to hooping - sufficient cheddaring, salting and pressing will give us the best chance at success.
Mould during dry aging
Your cheddar is covered in mould - it can form on the surface if there is too much moisture (black/grey/white) over the aging period.
You can give the cheddar a wipe down with a cheesecloth or a stiff sterile brush to discourage excessively fluffy mould growth
Whey extrusion during aging
Again this is a result of the initial processing.
Ensure curds are quite dry when it comes to hooping - sufficient cheddaring, salting and pressing will give us the best chance at success. If you detect moisture while aging, open cheese, pat dry then air dry for a few hours then repackage. Be vigilant over the aging process.
Storage in a cheese cave happens for 4 months to 12 months.
Once you have reached your desired flavour, you can then move your cheese to the refrigerator and store at 2-5°C. You will ensure the longevity of your cheddar if you store it in a dry, watertight container, or vacuum seal the portions that you don't plan on eating in the near future.
Cheddar goes exceptionally well with wine - depending on the age of the cheese will determine the style of wine you might pair it with - experiment!
Densely textured dried fruits work well with younger farmhouse cheddar, older cheddar is suited better to pastes or compotes to fully appreciate the dry, crumbliness of the aged cheese.
Tart additions such as pickled onions or relishes enhance the flavour of almost any age cheddar.
GREEK STYLE FETA
Feta in brine feels slimy
This is an indication that there wasn't a sufficient ratio of acid/calcium chloride in the brine AND/OR the cheese was not sufficiently salted prior to brining.
Always ensure the recipe and ratios are adhered to until you find your feet with feta. If you are already at the stage that it has sat in the brine & is slimy, remove the cheese and allow to air dry. From there, either eat as a young feta OR salt the surface, allow to be completely dry then try vacuum sealing to age further.
Feta isn't very crumby
The texture is quite smooth and squishy - not at all like normal Greek style feta! This is generally an issue that will be solved by time and salt!
If you prefer a drier, crumbly feta - be sure to brine your feta in about an 18% solution & allow it to age for minimum 6 weeks.
Allow the cheese to ripen in a brine solution or vacuum sealed between 4- 14°C for 6-12 weeks in your cheese cave. The lower temperature that it is ripened at, the milder the flavour.
Feta pairs amazingly with alkaline vegetables & pulses such as spinach, avocado, cucumber and chickpeas. It also changes in flavour and texture as you heat it up!