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Adding age to cheese  

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
For some of the hard, aged cheeses like Parmigiano, Romano or even semi hard like a Fontina Valle d'Aosta how long is too long to keep wrapped in cheese cloth to age? Or is there even a time frame? Do you also suggest a different method other than the cheese cloth?

I find that the Italian style cheeses we seem to get here and even some of the imported ones act like they are "hurried" along. I don't ever remember my Grandmother's cheese's ever sticking to the fork or plate when they were sprinkled on pasta or in soup. But the ones we have today do this to no end.

Thanks in advance.
post #2 of 5

Whey too fast!

Your right......most are released by time rather than profiled for flavor. We buy Parm from cheese makers here in Wisconsin and then age it for 4 years.....that's where I like the flavor profile.

We make cheddars and some the cheese cloth stays on as it is bandaged wrapped. We wax them or just let them mold inside of itself and cure out.

Basically......the harder cheeses are sold to soon. With many of the Artisan cheeses that we do we make one year and sell the next. But it is also a business issue of cash flow and how much "cheese" you can bank.

Sid Cook
post #3 of 5
Thread Starter 
Thanks Sid! Now I don't have a ready supply of wax to coat the cheese but I do have plenty of cheese cloth. Seems that is the oldest and most tried and true method to finish off what the cheese makers start.

What is the optimum temp to use for aging? I typically cure/dry sausage around 42deg. Would cheese require a higher or lower temp to add the age to it?

Thanks again.
post #4 of 5
Here is how that works.......lower temperature.....slower aging.......higher temperature.......faster aging.....and we need a balance.

We age different cheeses are different temps.....depends on what part of the culture flavor spectrum we want to come out. Generally, I like 38-40 for aging us a nice clean fruit big flavor even past 12 years in age. If you go 35-36 the cheese is a bit flat in flavor....if you go 48-53 your going to cure the cheese too fast and you might pick up some off flavors.

It is a balance of what works for the flavor profile you want....take careful notes and keep records for your temperatures......we do all this... so 10 years down the line we know just what we did to get that cheese.

post #5 of 5
Thread Starter 
Thanks again Sid!! That explains a couple things I've tried then. Nothing like a cheddar picking up the flavors of....say maybe an old sock. LOL Yuck! I did have some luck with a Reggiano once. I actually had it stored in a cooler at work for the first year and then my second refridgerator (for my ales/beers ) at home. I primarily kept it around 40deg and it sat in there another three years before using.

The cheese itself did develope some powdery white mold on the rind but we were able to scrape that off with the rind. The cheese itself went from the typical off white color to a light amber.

It's dryness gave it the ability to crumble with little effort and it's ability to be shaven seemed to be lost but it's depth of flavor was mind boggeling. Unfortunately due to a move and no forseeable refridgeration (hotel for temp living) I ended up giving the remaining 3lbs of cheese to a good friend that owned a restaurant in KCMO. Although I know it was put to good use it was still a sad day since that was the first time a cheese I had tried to add some character too worked out.

Thanks again for the info. It will be put to good use over the coming months (years)
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