vacuum sealing cheeses
Posted: 25 October 2010 08:45 AM   [ Ignore ]
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I’ve noticed that some of the recipes on this site suggest vacuum sealing cheeses.  We have v-s equipment, but I was curious about how vacuum sealing affects aging/flavor development, whether it stops or slows mold growth, and whether vacuum sealed cheeses have to be handled differently from waxed cheeses. Any thoughts?

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Posted: 25 October 2010 11:58 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Lots of talk about that and their are 2 camps firm in both. Best u make 2 cheeses and age useing both methods and see what u prefer.

http://www.cheesemaking.com/store/pg/245-FAQ-Aging-Cheese.html

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Posted: 25 October 2010 05:25 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Joanna,

I’ve bandaged, waxed and vacuum sealed; and here are my thoughts on the subject.  First of all, one should always suit his/her own personal tastes.  A lot of the controversy may be based on the aesthetics of it all - what seems “right.”  I personally prefer the vacuum sealing method - this after resisting the trying of it for a very long time.  I felt that waxing was just the right way to go.  But I had a lot of cracking problems with wax, and mold formation in the cracks.  I’ve had none of that with vacuum sealing.  I have, however, yet to hold a vacuum sealed cheese for over 6 months.  I did have a couple where the seals were not as snug as they should have been; and I had to reseal.  I have had no dissatisfaction in flavor, moisture or texture since going to v.s.  And I’ve not seen any cheeses with mold on them either.  As Dave mentioned in another post, v.s. is much easier, faster, not as messy, and you can see what you’ve got at any time during the age.  Another thing is that humidity in your cave becomes a moot point if your cheeses are vacuum sealed. Nor do you have any rind to deal with.

As Neil suggested above, try it and see which suits you.

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Posted: 25 October 2010 05:36 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Thank you both! Rich, how soon do you vacuum cheeses? I’ve been leaving gouda out for 21 days before waxing, colby, cheddar and jack cheeses just long enough to form a rind (usually 3-6 days).  Can I do the same with vacuum sealing, or do you also perceive that cheeses do not age once vac-sealed?

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Posted: 25 October 2010 08:59 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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I don’t know that I have the definitive answer to your question; but I let mine air dry long enough to be dry to the touch.  I sealed my Gouda tonight after 2 1/2 days drying.  And no, I do NOT think the cheese ceases to age once it is vacuum sealed.  I opened a 2 month old Colby for supper tonight and it was superlative!  Medium sharp with just the perfect moist texture.

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Posted: 27 October 2010 09:22 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Thanks again! Just one more thing—Rich, do you use raw milk? One poster on the other cheese forum thought that raw milk cheeses didn’t work as well as store milk cheeses for vac-sealing.  I don’t know the folks on that board well enough to have a sense of who’s reliable.

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Posted: 27 October 2010 05:44 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Yes, I do use raw milk - exclusively.  But I cannot answer your question, because I’ve never vac sealed anything else.  I will say that I have not had any cause to doubt the effectiveness of this method.

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Posted: 29 October 2010 04:43 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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That definitely helps.  One other thing: I have a Foodsaver (Vac 1075) with an instant seal button for fragile items, and I’m wondering whether to use that button and when to stop sealing.  How you know when to stop?

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Posted: 29 October 2010 07:09 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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I don’t know about the instant seal button, as mine does not have one.  I have a “fast seal” button that I use, and just run it until it stops.  Once the vacuum is complete, it automatically seals.  I do generally give it two seals at each end, just to be sure it is well sealed.

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Posted: 02 November 2010 09:22 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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Joanna….

My food saver has both a dry and moist setting as well as a low and high setting.
When sealing cheese I use the dry and high settings as this setup pulls the greatest amount of vacuum.
When I’m finished with a wheel, the cheese is securely wrapped by the food saver bag with no internal air that I can visually see. I’ve found that this provides the best environment for aging my cheese wheels.

One other tip is to look on both Ebay and Cabela’s for bulk food saver bags. I usually buy from Cabela’s since I’ve found a 11” x 50’ bulk roll that lasts a LONG time.
These bulk rolls can be had for about $20.00 which really is a bargain.
I usually cut my 7-1/2” wheels in half and then seal them. That way I never have too much cheese open at a time. I’ve also been considering cutting them into quarters so that I can nibble on several different cheeses at one time.

Dave

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Posted: 25 December 2010 07:26 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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Oooohhh .... I’d forgotten about vacuum sealing! We have a VS.
For christmas DH gave me a press! Yay! Pictures will follow. And a book, “making artisan cheese”, by Tim Smith, seems pretty good.
Now the sort of cheese I want to make is an english farm house cheese, like caerphilly, and I want it to grow a disgusting, oops I mean, lovely mottled rind.
The bacterial urky, eco system in my food thing.

But! Our “cave” is a shed in the shade of our garden shed, which maintains cool humid conditions for a lot of the year but not, I fear in January. DH reckons it will frequently get upto 20C.
So .. obviously VS wont produce the sort of cheese I’m dreaming about, but maybe its a stop gap for the summer.

I asked lots of naive questions about this aaages ago
http://www.rickandlynne.com/rick/go/forums/viewthread/677/P0/

smile Its interesting how the attitude to VS seems to have changed here in almost 2 years. One of the great things about these sorts of forums!

SoI’m thinking I’m gonna try caerphilly in the fridge, vacuum sealed for 4 weeks .. or do you think I should allow more time for the lower temperature? Anyway, it will just be my prototype batch and while I wait for the cave to cool down again. smile

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Posted: 26 December 2010 06:27 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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If you want to go to this effort for your cheese, you can use a standard ice chest for your temporary cave.  I used to freeze blocks of ice in ice cream buckets.  One of them will keep your chest at very close to the ideal temp for a day or more.  Then, simply drain off the water and replace with a new ice block.  A standard fridge is too cold and the bacterial action will be greatly inhibited.

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Posted: 26 December 2010 06:19 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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Ah thanks Rich. That idea had just occurred to me this very instant. I will have to experiment.

I also wanted to ask, how do people air dry their cheese? Do you have a special airy cabinet or box? I was thinking of getting a plastic box and cutting out windows and putting insect screen over it.

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Posted: 26 December 2010 11:07 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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I built an elevated platform, covered with screen.  I usually dry in the open air.  If there are flies in the area, I cover it with cheese cloth or an inverted sieve.  It works well for me.

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Rich

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Posted: 27 December 2010 01:16 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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Covering a open container with cheese cloth.

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Posted: 27 December 2010 07:32 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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Oh really? That’s enough ventilation? Cool! That will save me a few bucks! smile
NOw I just need a mayonnaise bucket and a tile.

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