How to make pickled cheese at home

Salt is an essential ingredient in making homemade cheese.

The structure, consistency and quality of the product depend on salting. Salt regulates microbiological and biochemical processes in cheese.

Excessive salting sharply slows down the ripening process of cheeses, the cheese mass becomes dry and brittle.

If there is not enough salt, you can get fermented cheese.

The type and taste of the cheese will directly depend on the salting method and the amount of salt.

Salt is also a preservative; it affects the proliferation of microorganisms, but an excess of it is also detrimental to some types of cheese.

But salt is not just salt, it comes in different qualities and tastes. The most important criteria when choosing salt for pickling cheese are its purity and lack of bitterness.

And if you use the dry salting method, then the size of the salt should be about 1 mm so that it is gradual.

In other cases, it is best to use fine salt.

You can salt homemade cheese in 4 ways:

  • dry or wet salt (solid)
  • brine
  • in grain
  • combined

Salt penetrates the cheese in dissolved form, that is, in the form of brine.

And if you salt the cheese in a dry way, then when it dissolves, it will absorb moisture from the cheese, and then penetrate into the cheese mass. The cheese itself dries out.

With the dry salting method, salt will suppress the activity of gas-forming bacteria and reduce the number and size of eyes.

This is especially noticeable in the subcortical layer, which comes into contact with salt the most.

Even the one famous for its ocelli in the subcortical layer either does not have ocelli or they are very small in size.

To salt homemade cheese using the dry method, you need to rub its surface with dry salt.

This should be done daily, rubbing the top and bottom sides of the cheese in turn and placing it with the salted side up. The length of the process will depend on the type of cheese, its size and temperature.

A similar option is how to salt cheese using grounds. For this type of salting, wet salt must be applied to the top and sides of the cheese.

This is done every day, turning the cheese to the other side each time until it is completely salted.

Salting homemade cheese with brine

As a result of this process, milk sugar is removed from the cheese, from the surface to the deep layers, and the cheese mass receives the right amount of salt.

Bacteriological processes slow down, which is important in the fight against early swelling of cheese, which is caused by coliform bacteria.

To prepare 10 liters of this brine, you need to take 2.5 kg of salt and 7.5 liters of water. To quickly dissolve the salt, it is better to use hot water. After which the brine is filtered and cooled to the required temperature.

If the brine is too weak, the cheese will swell and its surface will be slippery. As a result, the cheese will become softer and begin to get soggy.

The cheese must be completely immersed in the brine, but the stronger the solution, the more it will float. Therefore, additional salt is sprinkled on top of the cheese, a wooden board is placed or covered with a clean cloth, the ends of which are dipped in brine.

It is necessary to monitor the concentration of the brine by checking it with a Baume hydrometer and reporting the salt.

How to salt cheese at home

There are several ways to salt cheese at home.

1. Salting in brine (wet salting) - placing the formed cheese in a solution of table salt (brine_ (for example, in the manufacture of Gouda, Mozzarella and many other cheeses).

2. Dry salting - adding dry salt crystals to the curd or Cheddar curd at the end of production (for example, when making Queso Fresco and Cheddar).

Less commonly used is the method of applying dry salt to already formed cheese. Sometimes a combination of the above methods is used.

The duration of wet salting can range from several hours (Camembert) to several days (Parmesan).

The duration of absorption of dry salt by cheese grains or pieces of Cheddar cheese mass is only tens of minutes. This is due to the fact that the salt is absorbed over a much larger surface area.

During dry salting, a fairly significant portion of the salt is lost and goes away in the form of brine along with the whey during pressing. Dry salting requires greater pressing forces to form the cheese.

Cheese wet brines typically contain 21-23 percent salt by weight, which corresponds to approximately 90 percent saturation. In brines containing less than 16 percent salt by weight, foreign microorganisms and potential pathogens may grow.

The acidity (pH) of the brine must match the acidity (pH) of the cheese that needs to be salted. If the brine is too acidic (pH too high), the surface of the cheese will be soft and sticky. Initially, the desired pH must be set by adding acetic acid.

When cheese is placed in brine, calcium begins to leach from its surface layer. This loss of calcium causes the surface of the cheese rind to soften and additional moisture to be absorbed by the outer layer of the cheese. This leads to spoilage of the cheese during aging.

To prevent calcium leaching, calcium chloride is added to the brine in an amount of 0.1 - 0.5%.

The easiest way to make cheese at home is to make a saturated brine using whey. Then you don’t have to weigh the salt or measure the amount of liquid, and the brine environment will perfectly match the cheese you’ll be brining in it. There is no need to add acid and calcium chloride.

If you cover the cheese placed in a saturated brine with a layer of dry salt, the need to maintain a constant concentration of salt in the brine will also disappear. This makes things much easier, since a 2-kilogram head of cheese needs to be kept in brine for up to a day or more.

When cheese is placed in brine, its absorption of salt begins immediately and continues as long as there is a gradient (difference) in NaCl concentrations in the brine and in the aqueous phase of the cheese. This causes the release of water (whey) from the cheese into the brine, due to the difference in osmotic pressure.

When dry salt is applied to cheese grains or pieces (pieces) of cheese mass, part of the salt dissolves in the surface moisture and penetrates into the surface layer of the grain or pieces of cheese. Moisture immediately releases from the grains or pieces of cheese mass and dissolves the remaining dry salt, forming a saturated solution. Next, the process proceeds in the same way as with wet salting.

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The preservative properties of NaCl are due to a decrease in water activity (Aw) in cheese. Aw=P/Po, where P and Po are the water vapor pressure above the water in the cheese and above pure (distilled) water, respectively. It is the activity of water, and not its presence and quantity, that determines the possibility of survival and development of microorganisms.

Bound water does not contribute to water activity and does not support bacterial activity.

In addition, salt increases the osmotic pressure in the aqueous phase of the cheese, which leads to dehydration of bacterial cells, to the death or, at a minimum, the impossibility of bacterial growth.

An important parameter affecting Aw is the percentage of salt in the aqueous phase of the cheese. Those. If two different cheeses contain the same percentage of sodium chloride by weight, the less moist cheese will have more salt in the aqueous phase and less water activity. The drier the cheese, the less salt is needed to achieve the desired reduction in Aw.

The amount of salt, together with acidity and calcium content, determines the ability of cheese proteins to hydrolyze and bind moisture in the protein matrix.

The percentage of salt in different cheeses varies widely: from 0.5 - 0.7 percent by weight in cheeses such as Emmental to 4 - 6 percent by weight in cheese such as Feta. Even within the same types of cheese, the salt content can vary. Thus, Cheddar can contain from 1.6 to 2.4 mass percent NaCl, and Brie from 1.4 to 2.1 percent.

When cheese is wet salted, over time the amount of salt absorbed by the cheese increases and the rate of salt absorption decreases. The amount of salt absorption is proportional to the square root of the time the cheese is in the brine.

With dry salting, the amount of absorbed salt is less than the direct proportion between the weight of the cheese and the weight of the added salt, which occurs due to the greater release of whey and greater losses of salt with the leaving whey.

Increasing the temperature of the brine leads to an increase in the amount of salt absorbed over the same time, due to an increase in the rate of diffusion of NaCl molecules into the cheese structure. Conversely, increasing the temperature during dry salting has the opposite effect. This is due to the release of fat, which creates a barrier to the introduction of salt molecules into the cheese.

Wetter cheese absorbs salt faster due to its relatively lower protein content and less resistance to the incorporation of salt molecules into the cheese substance. With dry salting, the opposite situation occurs.

As the initial humidity level increases, the rate of salt incorporation decreases due to the release of a large amount of whey, which dilutes the brine formed on the surface and washes away the dry salt.

The reason cheese becomes sticky and soft on the outside when wet-salted is because there is a gradient between calcium concentrations in the cheese structure and in the surrounding brine.

Calcium, bound before placing the cheese in the brine, begins to transform into a soluble form in the structure of the cheese and dissolve in the brine. This, in turn, leads to protein hydrolysis in a weakened structure without bound calcium, and absorption of moisture by the protein.

This problem is common to almost all cheeses, but is most pronounced in cheeses with low calcium content, cheeses ripened with molds and slime cheeses ripened with surface microflora.

Wet salting in a conventional high-concentration brine with the addition of calcium chloride is accompanied by a loss of about 2% of the cheese's weight, despite the fact that the cheese absorbs sodium chloride. This is explained by the fact that the loss of moisture during salting exceeds the absorption of salt. Cheese “dries out” in brine.

In the case of using brine with a salt concentration of less than 18 mass percent without adding calcium chloride, the moisture content in the surface layer of the cheese increases.

The use of brine that is too cold (with a temperature less than +4C) also leads to an increase in the moisture content of the cheese rind. The optimal brine temperature is +10C and above. Cheese proteins (caseins) are hydrolyzed to their maximum at pH 5.2 – 5.4. The degree of hydrolysis decreases rapidly as the pH drops below 5.2 and reaches a minimum at pH 4.6.

Salting homemade cheese in grain is carried out as follows. Salt in the amount of 35-50 grams for every 10 liters of milk is dissolved in whey or in clean water. After this, the brine is filtered and poured into the container before the second heating.

This method is considered the most common among cheese makers for making homemade cheese, salting homemade cheese in grain

With this method, whey is released from the grain faster, and it loses its stickiness faster. Salting in grain reduces gas formation, so if you over-salt, you can get so-called blind cheese.

If the brine is made with water, it turns out that the whey is diluted, which causes a decrease in the amount of milk sugar in the cheese and thereby reduces fragility. Brine is made using water in cases where the cheese becomes brittle.

Another way to salt cheese is a combined method. Several methods are used sequentially: first, the cheese is salted with dry salt or grounds (2-3 days), and then by salting in brine. When salting in grain, the cheese is finally salted in some other way.

Although brine is an uncomfortable microbiological environment, some resistant lactobacilli, yeasts and molds can survive and even grow in it. This can cause unwanted defects and stains on the cheese rind.

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Although in some large plants the brine does not change for years, the salt concentration, acidity and microbiological purity of the brine are always monitored.

In the case of using brine with a salt concentration of less than 18 mass percent without adding calcium chloride, the moisture content in the surface layer of the cheese increases.

Salting homemade cheese in grains

When salting grains, salt in the amount of 35-50 g per 10 liters of milk must be dissolved in whey or clean water.

After which the brine is filtered and poured into the container before the second heating. This method is considered the most common among cheese makers in making homemade cheese.

The process causes the whey to be released from the grain more quickly and it loses its stickiness faster.

Salting the grain reduces gas formation, and over-salting can result in so-called “blind” cheese, that is, cheese without eyes.

Brine for cheese in water dilutes the whey and reduces the amount of milk sugar in the cheese, while reducing its fragility. Therefore, brine is made using water when the cheese becomes brittle.

How to salt cheese at home. Cheese brine

Salt is a necessary ingredient when making homemade cheese. The type of salting and amount of salt will determine what type of cheese and what taste you get.

Moreover, salt is a natural preservative, so it affects the proliferation of microorganisms.

However, you need to remember that for some types of cheese, over-salting can have a negative effect.

It must be borne in mind that when cheese is salted, significant changes in its properties occur, so salting, both with dry salt and in brine (brine), has a noticeable effect on what the cheese will be like in the end.

Absorption of salt causes the secretion of whey. And this release has a serious impact on the moisture content of the final cheese.

Cheese with too much moisture is more susceptible to spoilage and may develop excessive acidity and a sour taste.

In the case of hard, aged cheeses, the correct level of salinity allows for the activity of microorganisms that impart the sharpness and pungency characteristic of aged cheeses.

Additionally, the salt that the cheese absorbs changes the texture of the cheese dough and its physical properties. In the case of fresh cheeses such as Mozzarella, the correct concentration of salt inhibits the development of bacteria that can break down proteins, thereby compromising the plasticity and melting ability of the cheese.

That is why proper salting is very important for producing the same, consistent characteristics of the cheese over and over again.

Combined way to pickle cheese

Another way to salt homemade cheese is a combined method.

Using this technology, several methods are used one after another: first, the cheese is salted with dry salt or grounds for 2-3 days, and then salted in brine.

When salting in grain, the cheese is finally salted in some other way.

Cheese brine is a homemade solution consisting of salt and water. It is believed that in order to make 10 liters of brine, on average you will need 2.5 kg of salt and 7.5 liters of water. How to make cheese brine correctly? Do I need to prepare the cheese first and should I use homemade brine in the store-bought product?

Homemade cheese

Suluguni ripens in brine. This process must be kept under control. It is necessary to constantly check the condition of the cheese and the quality of the brine itself. If the surface of the liquid begins to form a film and an unpleasant odor appears, the brine will need to be immediately replaced with fresh one.

Homemade suluguni, like factory-made ones, should be transported in wooden boxes. The inside of the boxes should be lined with parchment or similar material. This product should be consumed no later than 5 days from the date of manufacture.

Brine cheeses: feta, feta cheese, suluguni, chechil (it is often confused with suluguni) must be stored according to certain rules. Like all dairy products, they have a very short shelf life and can spoil within a short period of time. Therefore, it is advisable not only for those who produce it, but also for consumers of this product to understand the issue of how to store Suluguni cheese.

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Step-by-step cooking instructions

The prepared kefir should be placed on low heat and wait until the curd begins to separate and a greenish liquid appears at the bottom. After which the cottage cheese should be strained using a colander covered with gauze. The resulting cottage cheese can be put in the refrigerator, and the whey can be poured into a liter jar and allowed to sour for 2 days.

After two days, you need to take fresh milk, bring it to a boil and, lowering the heat, pour the cheese brine - the finished whey - into the pan with the milk. Over low heat, the milk should curdle and release all the protein. The cheese will rise to the top, separating from the whey. After which you can turn off the fire on the stove and drain the contents of the pan into a colander, previously covered with fresh gauze.

Add salt to the strained cheese and mix the resulting product thoroughly. Next, you need to hang it in gauze for 30 minutes to drain all the liquid. When half an hour has passed, you should form a head of homemade cheese from the mass in gauze and place it under pressure.

After waiting a couple of hours, you can remove the gauze and cut the finished homemade product. From this amount of milk, as a rule, half a kilogram of pickled cheese is obtained. If the whey remains, you can use it to make another wheel of homemade cheese according to this recipe.

If the cheese turns out to be very salty, it must be doused with boiling water before use. Another option is to immerse the product in boiled water or milk a couple of hours before eating. To achieve a more delicate creamy taste, you need to put the cheese in milk for a couple of days. To give it some piquancy, you need to dilute 350 grams of salt in 1 liter of boiled water and pour the resulting brine over the cheese for another 1 day. Then try the product and either leave it for another 1-2 days, or change the brine to a lighter one, adding 200 grams of salt to 1 liter of water. Cheese that was previously soaked in milk should be stored in the same solution.

Recipe for “Korotinsky Homemade Brine Cheese”:

Slowly heat the milk to a temperature of 37-40*C. Add rennet and kefir, diluted separately in water (if you decide to make cheese with herbs, dried tomatoes or something else, then add it at this stage), mix thoroughly for one minute.

Remove from the stove, cover with a lid and leave for 30-40 minutes.

By this time, the state will be “clump”: honestly, I couldn’t find a more suitable word either in my memory or on the Internet. Cut it with a sharp thin knife into 1-2 cm squares and leave for about 30 minutes until the whey is completely separated.

Place the resulting cheese on a sieve lined with gauze. Of course, we don’t pour out the whey; For example, I use it to make homemade ricotta https://povarenok .ru/recipes/show/991 33/

Leave the resulting cheese to drain at room temperature for 24 hours.

Within 24 hours: after two hours, remove the cheese from the sieve, unwrap the gauze and, turning it over, put it back into the sieve. Ideally, we turn the cheese every 1.5 hours - the first 12 hours, then every 3 hours.

After 24 hours, place the cheese in a salt solution: 200 g of salt per 1.5 liters of water for 10-12 hours, turning over every 1-1.5 hours. Then we take out the cheese, dry it with a towel and leave it on the wire rack for 4-5 hours. Then we put it in the refrigerator. That's all, our cheese is ready.

In theory and practice, you can eat it as soon as it reaches a low temperature in the refrigerator. But from experience, I advise you to keep it in the refrigerator for a couple of days, it will acquire its characteristic pale yellow crust, I just love it

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