Some times people will try or sample their cheeses during the ageing process to see how the flavour is developing, or to see if they need more time. Normally they would use a Cheese Iron, also known as a Trier, to take a “core sample” so to speak. I unfortunately do not have one…yet. I figured that the cheeses were circles, I could take one of then and cut a section out of the centre and then use my handy-dandy food-saver to vacuum seal the two halves together (I did it once before with a Caerphilly). I picked the one that I was keeping for myself and proceeded to make the cuts. The cheese surgery went well and I am sure the patient will survive.
I was quite happy with the colour of the rind, it developed nicely this time not like the previous time. I am thinking that I have to keep these cheeses small to get the rind I want. The smell was a combination of earthiness and a hint of stout, that was exactly the aroma I was going for.
I set the piece on my board and let it come up to room temperature. I honestly can’t remember how long this took. I was side tracked with adjusting the press for the Cheddar I was making and I was helping in getting the kids to bed. After the hustle and bustle of the evening festivities that is bed time was over, my wife and I sat down to relax…then I remembered the cheese.
I don’t really have a method in trying my cheese, I just broke a piece off the end and popped it in my mouth. What a surprise, all I could taste was salt. The basis of this cheese is a Havarti recipe that calls for salt to be added to the whey during the heating the curd process. Not a lot, 2 tbsp in 14 L of the milk. I am assuming that because I used “Fresh” milk that could be the reason for the saltiness.
Once I got past the shock of the salt lick I thought I produced, I took another piece and cut the rind off and tried it a small bit at a time. The parts that were closer to the rind had more of the flavour I was looking for and less saltiness and the paste was softer. The closer to the centre of the paste the saltier it was. The rind was just the right amount of firmness and the taste was what I expected. I then ate the rest of the piece, waste not want not.
I have come to the conclusion that 29 days is far to early to sample this cheese given the fact I normally age it 3 months at a minimum. I think I will try it again at 60 days or more and I have a feeling that the saltiness will have gone down, as it often does with age. They have now gone into lovely vacuum sealed bags to age further. I now that some people consider this a sacrilege, but to be honest I would never wax these ones and I am having issues with humidity and the rind getting too hard in my “cave” right now (this happens every spring).
I have yet to try the proper Havarti that I made with the remaining curd, but I am sure it will have the same salt issue. It is already vacuum sealed as it was starting to get too hard of a rind for my liking.
Go and make some Cheese, or at least go eat some you like.