Q&A: Cheddar cheese came out dry and brittle. Why?

A customer asked:  I followed the recipe perfectly, but my cheddar cheese came out dry, and it has a brittle texture. What did I do wrong?

Cheese Culture Sampler Kit

Cheese Culture Sampler Kit

Jerri’s answer:  There are three possibilities:

  1. You might have inadvertently added too much starter culture. Excess starter culture can lower the pH below the desired level. This higher acidity can dry out your cheese. Remember, always use the correct dose of starter culture. Don’t think that if a little is good, then more is better. This is not true for cheesemaking!
  2. The cooking time directions weren’t followed properly. If the recipe says to raise the temperature 1 degree every 5 to 7 minutes, don’t try to speed up the process so you can finish sooner. Always follow your recipe exactly as written.
  3. Stirring too vigorously during the early stages of cheesemaking (before the curds are properly formed) causes too much whey to be released. This results in a curd that’s drier than normal. So, take your time, be gentle, listen to calming music… Do whatever it takes to allow yourself to relax and enjoy the cheesemaking process. And always follow the recipe directions exactly.

 

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