Important How-To’s On Cheese Making Part Three: Bandaging Cheddar


So you’re done making your delicious cheddar cheese, the curds are pressed and you’ve removed the cheddar from the mold, it is time to bandage your cheese! Here are some useful directions that will allow for a perfectly bandaged block of cheddar, ready to age.

p1000582.jpg

1. You can begin by cutting 2 circles of muslin cloth which is just slightly bigger than the top of the cheese. Now melt some lard or butter (lard is better for binding) and soak the cloth in it. This is to help the cloth to adhere to the cheese surface. Be sure to wring the cloth of excess.

2. Next, spread the cloth evenly over the surface and smooth it out from center to the edge.

3. After that, bandage the other end and repress it for about an hour at max pressure.

4. Now the side should be finished in a similar manner to the top. Put it back to press overnight.

5. Once you have removed the cheddar from the press, it will be wrapped in cloth and ready to age for around 8-24 months. To ensure this goes successfully, the cloth must be airtight and well pressed against the surface of the cheese. You should wipe away the excess lard/butter from the surface of the bandage before you place it in the cave.

6. You can now place it on a shelf in the cave at 55F and 85% humidity. Turn it once a day for the first 8-12 weeks.

7. The first natural molds will begin to show after the first 2-3 weeks. These will continue to grow and spread over time. You should begin turning only two times a week after 2-3 months of aging.

8. The mold will eventually dry off as the moisture of the cheese decreases, leaving the surface quite rustic after 8-12 months.

Posted in Cheese, Cheese Facts, Cheese Recipes, Cheese Rind, Cheese Use, The Shisler's Family | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Important How-To’s On Cheese Making Part Two: Salt Brining Cheese


The main reason that cheese makers salt brine their cheese is to slow down or completely stop the bacteria process of converting lactose to lactic acid. A lot of lactose is removed during the process. If cheesemakers were not to salt the cheese, the residual moisture will contain enough lactose to produce more acid than ideal for proper curd ripening. Another reason for salt brining is for the cheese flavor.

The moisture is also pulled from the surface to begin forming the rind of the cheese when it is salted. This also tends to allow many molds to grow.

Brining.jpg

How To Brine Cheese

Firstly, we need to determine when to salt the cheese. Cheese will be ready for brining once the final pressing has been completed and the cheese has been moved to a cool cave to stabilize the temperature. If you were to brine warm cheese, it will cause the rate of salt absorption to increase which ultimately causes over salting.

Once your cheese is ready and prepared, pour your brine into a none reactive pan. Here is a good, simple brine formula if you don’t have any brine in mind:

Add 2 lbs of salt to 1 gallon of water, then add 1 tbs. calcium chloride (30% solution) and 1 Tsp. white vinegar.

The result of that will be saturated brine at 5.2 pH, suitable for most cheeses.

Once the brine is in the pan, place your cheese into it. The cheese will float because of the density of the brine, resulting in the surface of the cheese rising out of the brine. You have to keep this in mind because the surface of the cheese will not get salted during the brine process like the rest of the cheese. To fix this, you can simply add a small amount of salt to the surface of the cheese. This will allow your cheese to form its own brine because of the surface moisture.

How long it takes to brine cheese varies depending on the shapes and densities of the cheese. A general tip is to brine for 1 hour per lb. per each 1 inch thickness of cheese. For example, a dense low moisture cheese like Parma will need more time than a moist open texture cheese.

How you should handle cheese after brining is an important step also. It should be drained and allowed to air dry for a day or so, turning it when needed. Once the surface is dry and firm, the cheese can then be waxed or the process for developing natural rind can begin.

Other Useful Information Surrounding Salting With A Brine

How much salt is enough?

Adding salt until the salt no longer dissolves when added is the way to go. This means the brine is made up of a saturated strength.

How do you make the brine as good as possible?

Keeping the brine as cool a temperature as possible is ideal for the brine. A lot of the time people keep it at around 50-55F and store it in the cool cave area to keep it cool.

How long will the brine keep?

Brine can keep for around a year or two. Even if it gets moldy or looks bad, you can just bring it to a boil and re-filter it.
Generally, good brine gets better with time.

Posted in Cheese, Cheese Facts, Cheese Recipes, Cheese Rind, Cheese Use, The Shisler's Family | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Important How-To’s On Cheese Making Part One: Testing Acid


When making cheese, it may never have occurred to you just how important the process in which we test for acid is. At the point where we are trying to convert the lactose in cheese into lactic acid by using cultures, we can never truly determine if it is working in the way which it is intended to. This is why tracking acidity levels are one of the most accurate ways to know if your culture is working or not.

cultures20

Equipment Needed

It is actually relatively easy to test for acid and you only really need two basic pieces of equipment in which you can find online:

Acid Testing Kit

7710-wine-acid-test-2

Using inexpensive acid testing kits, you can easily test the acidity of cheese whey, milk, and other dairy products. It is important to invest in one of these kits because increasing acidity levels is an extremely important stage in cheese making and the kit completely eliminates guess work, to ensure delicious results, as intended. Acid testing kits are generally preferred by home cheese makers who won’t be using it frequently

Acidimeter

usoasvjzh10.jpg

The acidimeter is for more of a serious home cheese maker or farmstead cheese makers who will be making these tastes quite often. Acidmeters make taking titration readings fast and effortless. A small screw clamp allows you to preset drop speed for repeat titration and a squeeze of the bottle will refill the burette back to the zero point.

How The Test Is Done

Depending on which test you are using, here are directions on how to perform these acidity tests:

1. If you are using the acidimeter, fill the glass reservoir with .1N NaOH (Sodium Hydroxide Solution).

2. Then (still using the acidimeter), fill the graduated column with the NaOH by applying pressure to the rubber pump. It will go back to zero with any excess draining going back into the reservoir.

If you are using the acid testing kit, fill the syringe with 3 ml of .1N NaOH

3. You then use a syringe or a pipette and measure out 9 ml of milk.

4. Now pour the sample into a test tube or beaker (held against a white surface).

5. Then add 5 drops of phenolphthalein to the milk sample and gently stir.

6. Use the syringe to let the NaOH run drop by drop into the sample while stirring it in.

7. Continue to do so until the appearance is a light pink color which persists for 10-20 seconds.

8. Now to work out the percentage of acidity, look at the column or syringe and see how many ml of NaOH was used then multiply it by .1 (move the decimal point one place to the left) for the actual TA%

For an example: If the amount of NaOH used was 1.4ml then the titratable acidity is .14%

 

Posted in Cheese, Cheese Facts, The Shisler's Family | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Chocolate Creations Part Three: Chocolate Butter


If you’re looking for something different for dessert, this is definitely the way to go! Served at room temperature with your favorite bread, you can pass the chocolate butter around and let everyone spread their own chocolate on their toast.

chocolate-butter

There is so much you can do with this delicious recipe, be it spreading it on your children’s sandwiches for lunch, or passing it around at dinner parties, the possibilities are endless and delicious!

Recipe

Makes: 1/2 cup

What You Need:

1/2 cup fine chocolate from Shisler’s Cheese House, melted

1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

Sea salt

1 tbsp. cocoa powder

What To Do:

Firstly, beat the butter until a smooth consistency, then add the melted chocolate, cocoa powder and a pinch of salt. Mix thoroughly with a mixer until it is well incorporated and smooth in texture.

Serve at room temperature.

It is that easy and all the more delicious.

Posted in Chocolate, Favorite Recipes, The Shisler's Family, Traditions | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Rest in Peace Matt Patrick


We would like to take a moment to remember our dear friend Michael Ryan (Matt Patrick), and to offer his family our prayers and most sincere condolences.

Back in the 90s, when we had hit a rough patch as a business, Matt practically endorsed us on his WKDD morning show, for the price of a cheese tray.  Thus began a relationship that spanned over two decades.  We had the pleasure of going on a Caribbean cruise with he and his wife Paula in 2002, and he hosted our 50th anniversary celebration in 2008.   He even conducted his “Long Haul for Hunger” food drives in our parking lot. We may not have become the business we are today without his kind help.

Rest in peace Michael.  Thanks for everything.  You will be missed.

Posted in Friends of Shisler's Cheese House | Tagged | 1 Comment

Chocolate Creations Part Two: Homemade S’mores


S’mores are an all-time American favorite, they take us back to times when life was much simpler, sitting by a campfire with our friends, singing campfire songs and burning the marshmallow to our s’more was our only worry. Let’s get back that delicious piece of childhood by taking it to the next level and making the best s’mores you’ll ever taste, using fine chocolate.

Smores-on-the-Grill_Large600_ID-1195436

Recipe

Makes: Around 7 S’mores

What You Need:

1 chocolate bar of the finest dark chocolate of your choice.

Marshmallows

Graham crackers

What To Do:

From experience, we all know that how we roast the marshmallows is the most important part of the process. The best way to roast the marshmallow is to toast it without it catching fire but to let the fire mature into a glowing ember around the marshmallow. This allows the marshmallow to be roasted evenly so it is a perfect, gooey consistency on the inside and crispy on the outside. You should slowly rotate the marshmallow over hot coals until it is golden brown on all sides.

In the meantime, set a large piece of chocolate on a graham cracker by the fire so it can begin to warm.

Once your marshmallow is done, scoop it off the stick with the cracker and close together to make a s’more sandwich. Be sure to eat it straight away and don’t be afraid to let out your inner child and get messy with it.

You could also wrap the other s’mores in tin foil to keep them nice and warm and extra gooey.

Posted in Chocolate, Favorite Recipes, The Shisler's Family | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Chocolate Creations Part One: Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups


You may love store-bought varieties of peanut butter cups, but once you taste these homemade ones, you will never go back! Made with rich dark chocolate, they are oozing with an irresistable flavor that will leave you wanting more.

IMG_2366-e1297366770737

Recipe

Makes: 24 pieces

What You Need:

3/4 cup smooth peanut butter

15 oz. dark ground chocolate, chopped

1 cup icing or confectioners sugar

2 tbsps. butter

What To Do:

It is fairly simple to create these delicious cups of goodness, which makes it all the better to enjoy.

Start by mixing together the peanut butter, sugar and butter in a mixer until smooth and well incorporated. Then divide into 24 evenly sized balls and set aside.

Now onto the chocolate! Melt the chopped chocolate until smooth over medium heat, be sure to stir it constantly. Take the chocolate off the heat once it is done and coat the inside of mini paper muffin liners with the chocolate using a spoon. Try to get as close to the top of the liners as possible. Once all 24 liners have chocolate, place them in the freezer for 10 minutes.

When they are cold and hardened, remove the chocolate coated liners from the freezer and place a peanut butter ball inside of each one, making them fit around the chocolate if needed.

Then, using a spoon, carefully spoon the remaining warm chocolate over the top of the peanut butter balls and then place back in the freezer for 30 minutes or until they are completely set.

These treats can be kept in the freezer for up to 4 weeks. Enjoy!

Posted in Chocolate, Favorite Recipes, The Shisler's Family | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

A Match Made In Heaven: When Bread Meets Cheese- Part One


373393099_9da50e5f3b.jpg

Pao de Queijo- Brazil

Usually served at breakfast, this cheese-flavored roll is crispy on the outside and very chewy on the inside. Parmesan is often the cheese of choice in which this roll is made with for a delicious hit of cheese.

Cuñapé- Bolivia

The crispy outside of this Bolivian treat contrasts so well with the soft, cheesy inside. The key ingredients to this delicious bread are either cassava or tapioca flour inside of all-purpose flour that most people use.

Smørrebrød- Denmark

In the U.S, people often call a “Danish” something that consists of sweet cheese and pastry but traditionally in Copenhagen, a Danish is a delicious piece of rye bread which is coated in meats and butter with smoked or pickled fish as well as sliced cheeses.

Banerov Hatz- Armenia

This is a delicious combination of cheese and onions which are spread over a thin piece of dough which looks quite like a pizza. Some might say that it resembles an Alsatian Tarte Flambee.

Panino- Italy

Nobody combines bread and cheese better than Italy! This grilled cheese sandwich is known as Panino and dates back to Milanese sandwich bars called Pani note Che from the 1970s. It can often contain salads and of course, delicious melted cheese.

Paneer Paratha- India

This famous cheese “Paneer” of India is used in this Indian delicacy which is paired with unleavened bread “Paratha”. These two pairs up and get filled with spiced and are fried and served at breakfast or on it’s on for a light meal.

Beer And Cheese Soda Bread- Ireland

Since the Irish love beer and sharp cheese, it is no surprise that their contribution to this list is beer and cheese soda bread. There is no yeast in the soda bread but there are beer and cheese, which is good enough for us. Some people even add bacon to the mix, what could be better?

Toastie- England

For toasties, cheddar cheese is the selected cheese for this English delicacy. It is pretty much England’s version of the grilled cheese from the U.S. However, the difference between toastie’s and grilled cheese is that the toastie is buttered on the inside and is toasted.

Rasgulla- Bangladesh

These little bread balls are sweet and spongy which are served throughout Indian subcultures in Southeast Asia, Bangladesh in particular. Rasgullas are usually made with an Indian cottage cheese known as ‘Chhena’. They are also made with semolina dough and light syrup. People often eat them as a dessert.

Pan de Bono- Colombia

Very similar to a Colombian bagel, Pan de Bono is usually paired with a hot chocolate. It is made out of cornmeal, question, egg, starch and feta cheese.

Lángos- Hungary

Fried bread is one of the most popular street foods in Hungary. However, the sour cream and melted shredded cheese on top make it a lot more savory. A lot of the time, vendors will add other toppings to it or stuff them with requested ingredients.

Flammkuchen- Germany

Flammkuchen translates to flame cake and is quite similar to pizza. Its thin dough is topped with onions, pork, and soft cheese. It is then cooked in a wood-fired oven to create the perfect combination of gooey, crispy cheese bread.

Tiropsomo- Greece

This perfect combination created by Greeks is feta and bread which is best served warm. It is usually served with dinner, however, leftovers can be reheated to accompany breakfast.

Croque Monsieur- France

Despite this sandwich not being able to exist without the ham, it still is best known for its cheese as well. The French cheese is similar to Gruyere with its nutty flavor which is placed in between two slices of bread and topped with nutmeg. It is then baked, broiled and served.

Khachapuri- Georgia

This popular snack is eaten instead of pizza in Georgia. It is made with sugar, dry yeast, flour, salt, and olive oil. It is topped with lots of butter, eggs and feta cheese and a melty cheese. Yum!

Posted in Cheese, Cheese Facts, Cheese history, Cheese Recipes, Cheese Use, The Shisler's Family, Traditions | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Pasteurized Or Unpasteurized- Which Is Best?


At Shisler’s Cheese House, we home a number of cheeses soft, hard, blue- you name it. These cheeses are either made with pasteurized or unpasteurized milk, it usually comes down to the cheesemakers choice, however, some regulations restrict cheesemakers, for example, Stilton has to be made with pasteurized milk and Comte, which has been subject to many controversies, has to be made using unpasteurized milk.

The biggest wonders that come up when discussing the two kinds of milk are first, is pasteurized milk safer than unpasteurized milk? Secondly, does cheese being made with unpasteurized milk taste better?

The most important subject to discuss is obviously if pasteurized milk is safer. It is not an easily answered question, you need to look at the risks and safety concerns surrounding unpasteurized milk, first.

It is common that cheesemaking rooms will contain lots of different bacteria, mainly good bacteria, but then there are quite a few bad bacterias. Some of the bad bacterias that may be present can contaminate milk or cheese with E-coli, Salmonella, and Listeria. However, there are ways to keep these under control and minimize the risks. Some of these ways are actually part of the cheesemaking processes, such as salt dehydrates, these help a lot because a lot of bacteria requires moisture to thrive. Other processes include appropriate procedures during the handling of the milk, the cheesemaking and the maturing of the cheese, shipping, and packaging.

What Is Pasteurisation?

aseptik-depolama-tanki

Pasteurization is the process of heating the milk to around 160 degrees Fahrenheit for 15-25 seconds. This is to kill the pathogens which were mentioned above, not only that, but it kills pretty much everything else, which can be bad as some are important in cheesemaking as they act as a natural defense which comes from the milk. This process also allows for more errors as cheesemakers can become complacent which increases contamination risks. However, that being said, all cheesemakers that Shisler’s Cheese House works with, are never complacent and work to a high and safe standard at all times.

The main thing we believe is that with the safe and controlled handling of milk and cheese, whether it is pasteurized or not, the outcome will be the cheese that is safe to eat, with no significant risks either way.

Does Unpasteurised Milk Taste Better?

camembertcheese-406

This question is equally as challenging as the previous one. Tying it back into how the process of pasteurization kills all bacteria, good and bad, a lot of friendly cultures essential for tasty cheese are destroyed and therefore they have to be reintroduced back into the milk after pasteurization. However, this still doesn’t help because the microflora is damaged and not passed onto the cheese no matter what. This poses a potential drawback in using pasteurized milk. That being said, it’s not justifiable to just say that unpasteurized milk is better, it is indeed a big factor for great cheese which has the potential to make better cheese. Then again, there are many amazing pasteurized milk kinds of cheese because of the skill of the cheesemaker.

In conclusion, cheeses which are made with unpasteurized milk are equally as safe to eat as those made with pasteurized milk and cheese which is made with unpasteurized milk has potential to taste better but that is just one of the factors that go towards the overall quality of cheese.

Posted in Cheese, Cheese Facts, Cheese history, Cheese Recipes, Cheese Use, Health, The Shisler's Family, Traditions | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Get Cheesy This Fourth Of July!


With the 4th of July being a huge milestone in our country’s history, it is a day where families and friends get together and celebrate it at parades, cookouts, parties- you name it! And the biggest things that center these celebrations are food, alcohol, and fireworks (in no particular order!)

flag-fireworks1

Now, focusing on the food aspect which I’m sure we are all most excited for, let’s take a look at one particular dish which is not only patriotic but also a cheesy delight. Here is a delicious cheese dip that you can make ahead of time so you only have to warm it up before the festivities.

The best cheese found for this delicious dip has got to be our White Cheddar at Shisler’s Cheese House. With its sharp flavor, it really pairs well with the sweet Vidalia onions which are also used in this recipe.

This cheese is so high quality and has such a creamy texture and flavor that it makes it perfect for this recipe as it focuses mainly around the cheese. Not only that but it is a great melting cheese, as discussed in some of our other articles, the type of cheese you melt is important, as not all melt the same or at all. You might know already about how good white cheddar is for melting with it being the season for grilling!

To impress even more at your event, you can keep it festive by making your own tortilla chips to go with the dip. It is very easy, all you have to do is take some flour tortillas and a star cutter and go nuts! You bake for a few minutes on 350 or until they begin to become golden.

Be warned, these are addictive so you might want to make a lot! Enjoy!

Recipe For Cheese Dip

2013_06_11_ettiene_fourth_of_july_finger_foods_star_shaped_homemade_tortilla_chip_recipe.jpg

What You Need

  • 1-1/2 cups Cracker Barrel Vermont White Cheddar Cheese, shredded

  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise

  • 3 ounces cream cheese, softened

  • 1/3 cup diced Vidalia onion

  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper

  • 1/4 teaspoon herbs de Provence

  • 1/4 teaspoon creole seasoning

What To Do

1. Mix all ingredients fully and place in a baking dish.

2. Bake for 25-30 minutes at 375 degrees or until golden.

Posted in Cheese Facts, Cheese history, Cheese Recipes, Cheese Use, Favorite Recipes, Festivals, Holidays, Parades, Seasonal, The Shisler's Family, Traditions | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment