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One Day Analysis - Beyond Being Legal

Developing a Good History of Your Cheese

Volume 127, No. 12, Friday, September 27,  2002

Those cheese makers who make rindless Cheddar have the luxury of knowing if a cheese is going to be in compliance immediately the analysis is complete. 
Cheese makers who manufacture brine salted cheese and cheese that requires additional aging are not so fortunate. 
Changes that occur in cheeses which are brined and aged and allowed to develop a rind are not always easy to project. It is interesting to take a look at how the composition changes and to note something that is often overlooked. 
Yield on aged cheeses, when do you calculate the yield, it is surely not the weight that you place into the brine, it is not the weight of cheese you place on the racks or shelves. Only from developing a good history of your cheese can you estimate the shrinkage and project how many pounds of cheese you will have to sell.
These (see figure 1) are a selection of numbers assembled from many years of recorded data, cheese that did not fit within an acceptable range of the 1. Day numbers would be watched closely and tagged where necessary to ensure that they did not deviate too far in flavor and body. Early identification of potential defects saved a great deal of money. I have not included pH as one of the one-day variables as I wanted to focus in on the composition changes.

1 Day Cheese Composition

Cheese Type      Moisture      Fat           Salt      FDB      MNFS      S/M 
1.Day                      %             %             %        %            %                    
Danbo                  42.00       32.00         0.00    55.00       63.10           
Feta                      61.00       20.70        0.00    53.00       77.00           
Romano                40.00       30.00        0.00     50.00      57.00 
2 Mature Cheese Composition

Cheese Type      Moisture      Fat          Salt       FDB      MNFS       S/M 
Mature                     %             %            %         %           %                 
Danbo                  40.00        33.00       2.00      55.00     60.00      5.00
Feta                     55.00        21.50       4.00      48.00     70.00      7.00
Romano               31.50        31.00       2.00      45.00     45.60      6.00

The components listed are not a 100 percent listing; however the only two components, which are changing significantly, are the Moisture and the Salt. Moisture leaves and salt is taken up. Salt is taken up during the salting process and displaces moisture. Then like each of the other components it will change according to the changes in moisture, which typically will continue to decrease as the cheese ages. 
The mature (see figure 2) Feta was a four month old product aged in brine, the Danbo was a five month product placed in Cryovac at five weeks and the Romano was air dried for 15 months.
Observing the changes in each cheese the Danbo did not lose much moisture as it was aged in a high moisture environment to promote the smear, it was relatively low in salt so shows the least overall change. The FDB is relatively unchanged.
The Feta was placed in a brine until time of sale and would have come close to an equilibrium throughout the cheese.
The Romano was air dried and while the analysis shows only a modest amount of salt much of it appeared to get trapped at the surface, this part was not eaten so almost not considered part of the cheese. Because most of it was grated it was not wasted when sold as cuts it (the rind) would not be consumed.
It is also important to note in the examples provided above, the Feta data are taken from samples that include the whole cheese; nothing was removed as part of the rind. For the Danbo, a smear ripened cheese, and the Romano, an air-dried cheese a portion of the sample plug was removed and remaining part of the plug analyzed. As a result of this practice the moisture on both the Romano and the Danbo should in fact read a little lower. 
When aging cheese on shelves and having them air dried for the entire process they age quickly at the outset and slow as time passes. The Feta which was brine salted still showed a moisture loss and salt increase. 
Think about how different the chemistry of a cheese like Romano is if the final composition is achieved in a very short time. Traditional cheese makers have a wonderful opportunity to produce cheese with the most authentic flavor and character the most natural way. 

Neville McNaughton, president of Cheez Sorce, St. Louis, MO, has many years of experience manufacturing dairy products in both New Zealand and US. He has been a judge at several cheese competitions. Neville will be writing a regular column in Cheese Reporter and will take any questions regarding cheese manufacture. You can reach him at CheezSorce@sbcglobal.netjumhoefer@wischeesemakersassn. org


Other Neville McNaughton Columns
The Shape of Cheese
Adding the Extra Column
Pasta Filata Cheese
Very Hard Cheese
Hard Cheese with Eyes
Gouda, Edam And Other Washed Curd Cheese

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