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I've made several cheeses at home following a cheddar recipe. After I've aged the cheeses and cut them open, I'm usually finding that the cheese has a somewhat spongy, open texture with small visible holes in it, similar to provolone:

Provolone cheese

This is in place of the denser, solid texture that I expect from cheddar:

Cheddar cheese

The taste of the cheese is quite good, but I can't figure out why the texture isn't turning out as expected. What am I doing wrong?

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i have problems with this, too - i look forward to hearing some ideas. my cheeses are, i suspect, OVER pressed, but the same problem exists for me... the curds are not knitting correctly, and i do not know why. –  franko Apr 24 '12 at 19:06
    
How long are you aging it? And what bacteria did you use? What do you mean by not well knitted? Is the problem just the holes or when you cut it didn't it separate into distinct curds? You mention a spongy texture but I don't see that from the picture. Your picture actually doesn't look bad at all (except for the few small bubbles) –  Sobachatina Apr 24 '12 at 20:52
    
@Sobachatina, by "well-knitted" I mean that the curds should be completely fused together, and the interior of the cheese should have a single, continuous texture. The "small bubbles" aren't actually bubbles but gaps between the curds that didn't close during pressing, and I don't know why. –  JSBձոգչ Apr 24 '12 at 22:47
    
Also, neither of these pictures is actually of my cheese, they're just reference pictures I found online. –  JSBձոգչ Apr 24 '12 at 22:47
    
@JSBᾶngs, Having distinct curds is normal when the curd is first cut and drained. It is during pressing that it solidifies into a homogeneous mass. Perhaps you are not applying enough pressure or your press is trapping in air or whey? I haven't seen this problem so I am reticent to post these suggestions as an authoritative answer. –  Sobachatina Apr 25 '12 at 1:07

2 Answers 2

Several possible reasons...but without seeing the recipe, your make notes, pH markers it is rather hard to say. However, I would say that most likely would be too much moisture left in curds due to:

  1. initial curds cut too large
  2. too much rennet, meaning that more moisture was locked into the curd, resulting in the cut being made later than it should be (did you use the flocculation method to determine when to cut the curd?)
  3. pH was too high at various periods during your make, resulting in a "sweeter" curd
  4. too much time between addition of rennet and the cut of the curd (see 2...related)
  5. lack of or insufficient cooking of the curds prior to cheddaring, resulting in too much whey (moisture) left in the curds.
  6. insufficient salting
  7. insufficient pressing (unlikely, since the previous 6 control moisture much more than the pressing)

Any, some or all of the above.

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Please use toolbar at top of answer box to format and number, you get tidier postings, that way more people can understand them. Also check help on "Markdown" editing –  TFD Sep 18 '12 at 4:37

Try more pressure and a bit less salt.

My guess is that less salt will mean more moisture is retained, which might make the curds fuse together more completely.

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Why would less salt help? This sounds like the beginning of a very interesting answer, it is frustrating that the body of the answer is missing. –  rumtscho Apr 25 '12 at 20:17

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