Well curd nerds, the Emmental (Swiss Cheese) that I made during the recent (June 2013) video tutorial was ready to crack open. I decided that today was the big day. The Swiss Cheese taste test!
Here is my analysis of this cheese.
Aging; Actually, it was ready last month, but I wanted to make sure it was ready. I vac-packed this cheese after the 21 day eye development period and after wiping with a brine solution.
As you can see, the four months aging period was completed last month, so technically I aged it for five months. Not a crime in the home cheese making world, just one of the ways I like to experiment with tastes and flavours.
Unpacking; When I removed the cheese from the vac-pac, there was very little whey, but the cheese was moist.
Texture; Now for the moment of truth. Did it have any eyes as it was supposed to? Well, yes thankfully. For a cheese this size (1kg or 2.2lbs) the eyes were about the right size. Those big eyes that you see in commercial cheese is because the wheels are about 60-70 kg. The bigger the cheese, the bigger the eyes.
The cheese was firm and smooth to cut. As I cut it into quarters for storage, I noticed that the eyes were throughout the cheese, with was a very good sign. It sliced very well, and I could get it quite thin.
Taste; The cheese tasted just how it was supposed to. Nutty, creamy, with a very slight parmesan style aftertaste (which is the thermophilic starter culture at work). Simply delicious. Kim said that it was my best Swiss style cheeses yet. It was much better than some of the store bought swiss cheeses I have sampled, which I find lack body and taste. This one was head and shoulders above the pack.
Verdict; Double thumbs up with five big gold stars. I never cease to amaze myself when it comes to cheese making. Just look at those remarkable eyes in this close-up below. The colour is not really that yellow, as the flash on my camera distorted the final shade. It is more like the photo above, an off white creamy colour.
So that is the LGC School of Swiss Cheese tasting. What lesson did you learn today?
Hi Gavin – I have been following your cheese making tutorials and have made a few cheeses from your recipe book. I have waxed the Cheddars and will follow your guide of waxing the Parmesan after a month. I vacuum sealed the Haloumi and I am wondering how long Feta lasts when vacuum sealed.
Have you any suggestions as would prefer to store that way to limit the salt penetration throughout the cheese as my husband has high blood pressure and follows a low salt diet. It probably won’t last long anyway but would still like to know.
Gavin Webber says
Hi Shelly. I have answered you question in episode 45 of the podcast, however, I would brine for about 12 to 24 hours, pat the Feta dry with a paper towel, then vacuum pack as normal. It should last for about 6 months in the kitchen fridge. Gav
Hi Gavin. Thanks for the great article about Vacuum-packaged cheese, as you've probably read on my website ostepressen.blogspot.com I even bought a vacuum packages and more cheese lying to maturation. It's super nice that you have had a good experience to mature in this way, so I'm really looking forward to the day I have to open one of my own.
It's fantastic to make cheese at home.
Great regards from another curd neards in DK
Hi Aase, I saw your blog post last week and was impressed. Great work, and you have so many cheeses that are maturing.
I need to make a few more as I am starting to run out of supply.
Fantastic! Vacuum sealing is all I do too. However, I feel like we home cheese makers really lose out on the complex flavours and textures of aged cheeses that are naturally aged. In particular, the drier a cheese gets, the saltier it becomes. Without that saltiness, I'm often left wanting a more definite taste of 'sharp' than I can get from a vacuum sealed aged cheese.
Hi Addie. The jury is still out for me. Whilst vacuum sealing is more convenient, it causes waste and I am still not sure about the flavour aspect. I still like to age for the first month naturally, then clean it up and vac-pac as I struggle to keep the humidity high in my cheese fridge.
It looks fantastic. I'm going to have to give it a try. I'm waiting for the Cotswold I made from your recipe to age. Smells so good!
Wait until you taste the Cotswold. You won't be disappointed Ida.
Sharon Bailey says
Looks great, will give that a try next cheesemaking session.
Nice one Sharon, would love to see a photo of the final product!