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Cheesemaking: Interesting use of chamber vacuum sealer

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I made up some feta a few days ago and followed my normal recipe, draining the cheese in a mould, then placing on a rack to drain, then drying for a few days. At this stage, I put it in a 23% brine solution for the time recommended in Mastering Artisan Cheesemaking. I then put it in a 10% brine solution and into the fridge to cool down as I intended vacuum sealing the cheese in bags.

The cheese felt a bit spongy and not like feta but I felt that brine maturing it would make it more like traditional feta.

On vacuum sealing it this morning, I noticed an interesting phenomenon that I thought I'd share.

When the vacuum was drawing out the air prior to sealing a lot of air bubbles came out of the cheese. When the seal was made and the vacuum released, the cheese compressed and suddenly became the texture that I associate with feta.

I haven't cut it open yet as I want to let it mature for a while in the brine. Will post a picture here when I do.

My reason for posting this here is that after normal draining and some drying, it may be worthwhile experimenting with using a vacuum to modify the texture of appropriate cheeses. I use the same technique with fruits such as watermelon to give a very interesting texture.

Has anyone else tried this with cheesemaking?

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I do not make cheese, so nothing to add on that, but I will say that vacuum-sealing some purchased cheeses can utterly destroy the flavor and texture. It depends upon the cheese, I suspect (Parmigiano and other hard cheeses survive well enough), but I recently had two scamorze rendered inedible via vacuum-sealing...

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It is vacuum sealed in brine. It's different from just sealing your purchased cheese.

We had Greek Salad tonight so I cut some of the feta. Here is a cross section.


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I felt sure that was true. Just offering the purchased cheese warning as an aside...

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Looks good, Nick. I'd eat it ...

How different, do you think, is the effect of vacuum sealing compared to placing a weight on the cheese? I realise you were intending to keep the cheese in the brine rather than squashing it to make it denser so it can't be a direct comparison; just interested in an opinion.

Blessed are the cheesemakers.

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For Feta, I'd still let it drain through turning as is my normal process. Then I'll use this as a finishing process. Probably the best way to do this will be to compress without the brine a few times without sealing and remove any liquid that is expelled. Then I'd add the brine, do it again, and seal.

Edited by nickrey (log)

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:rolleyes: I really do certainly not make mozzarella dairy product, thus almost nothing to include upon of which, although I'll state of which vacuum-sealing a few obtained cheeses can easily completely ruin this flavor and also consistency. This will depend after this mozzarella dairy product, I believe although I recently got a couple scamorze caused to become inedible through vacuum-sealing. :laugh:

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