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It’s Time…

August 28, 2010

It’s been a while since I have had time to make cheese.  Making fresh cheese is relatively hands off, but anything more involved is a time commitment.  Cheddaring can take all day…that’s right…all day…  Hard cheeses are a lot of fun to make though and I would like to set aside time each month and devote it to making hard cheeses again.  So as I sit here today and start to take an inventory of what I have and what I need, I spy this wheel in the back of my aging fridge.  I made this small wheel of a raw milk Gruyère-style cheese back in January and… I kind of forgot about it…

This isn’t a bad thing!  I look back at notes from my make and see that I followed the recipe and instructions from Tim Smith’s book, “Making Artisan Cheese”.  According to my notes (always take notes when you are making cheese!), I had a great curd set, and I hit all of my temp markers right on cue.  The only deviation I made is that I waxed my wheel once I was ready to start aging.  As much as I would like to develop a natural rind and keep with tradition as much as possible, I simply do not have a set up to where I can keep a consistent level of humidity.  You need around 85% relative humidity or RH in order to develop a protective rind.  Anything less than that and your wheel will completely dry out…not good…  Waxing takes humidity out of the equation.  You still need to keep a consistent temperature of around 50°-55°, but the waxing ensures that the wheel stays moist.  Not traditional, but still good.

So this wheel of cheese has been in there for about 8 months… I am just about to leave on vacation for about a week and a half.  When I get back, I am going to crack the seal and see how it turned out.  I will post pics and findings/adjustments that I need to make for the next go round.  It’s time to get back into my making routine and I am using this as my catalyst.  Stay tuned…

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