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causes which tend toward broken balls which the novice will do well to guard against:
1. Too high heat in the clabber state of the milk resulting in too dry a curd caused by a too thorough separation of whey from curd.
2. Insufficient mixing of salt with curd.
3. Too rapid drying of balls.
4. Careless turning of balls.
Toward the close of the drying period a thin grayish blue mold develops on the balls and they become soft on the outside. The balls are then wrapped separately in paper and packed in small boxes and placed in the curing room. A cheddar cheese box answers the purpose very well. Where no separate curing room is available the boxes can be placed on the ground in the cellar. A damp cellar is better for the purpose than a dry one. In the winter it is well to cover the balls in the boxes with burlap to preserve the heat caused in the fermentation process.
The balls need be turned and separted once each week during the curing process, which requires 3 to 4 weeks to complete. The fermentation changes the white curd to a bright straw color. Some people prefer the curd to be entirely fermented, while others prefer about half to two-thirds fermented. After the curd is all fermented a strong odor and flavor develops which is objectionable to most people. It resembles limburger.
Figures 5 (a), (b), (c), and (d) show the development of the ripening process and change of color. The stage of ripeness as illustrated by 5 (c) is preferred, by many, to 5 (d).
When sufficiently ripened, the balls are removed from the boxes and placed in whey for 10 to 12 hours to soak the paper wrapper and outer mold loose. The balls are then partially cleaned and again placed in whey for 6 to 12 hours after which the grayish blue mold is all cleaned off and the balls rinsed in clean water and wrapped in parchment paper. Four balls are usually wrapped together which are sold for 10 cents. The four balls weigh from 10 to 12 ounces when ready for market. Thus the price per pound of cheese would be 13 to 16 cents. One hundred pounds of milk yields 50 to 60 balls, which would net $1.30 to $1.50 per hundred of skim-milk.
The milk is allowed to clabber as in the natural fermentation method. It is then heated slowly to 85° F., in summer and 90° F. in winter, poured into a thin muslin or crash toweling bag and placed
in draining box and allowed to drain for 24 hours. No pressure is applied to the curd while draining in this method. The heating obviates the pressure. By heating of the clabbered milk, a more complete separation of the curd and whey is secured; but less cheese per 100 pounds of milk is obtained.
The drained curd is salted to taste, one-third to one-half ounce per pound of curd, thoroughly mixed and made into balls. The dying process is the same as outlined in the natural fermentation method. When sufficiently dried the mold that has formed is scraped off and the balls rubbed with baking-soda. During the winter the mold is not removed before applying the soda. The balls are then wrapped separately with paper (newspaper or soft manilla paper will answer) and allowed to ripen for 3 to 5 days when they are ready to be cleaned for market.
Figures 6 (a) and (b) show the rapid development of the fermentation as compared to the natural fermentation method. It will be noticed that the ball ripened 6 days by the soda method has about the same amount of curd unfermented as the ball ripened 19 days by the natural method. (See p-).
Many people do not like the soda cheese, and it does not bring as large returns for the milk used; however, the soda method has the advantage of taking less time to prepare the cheese for market.
The dairymen using the soda method usually have their balls weigh 3 to 4 ounces when ready for market. Thus 4 balls which sell for 10 cents would weigh 14 to 16 ounces. The price per pound of cheese is 10 to 12 cents and the value of cheese per hundred pounds of milk is 90 cents to $1.10.
The loss in weight during the drying period is 45 to 50 per cent., the same as in the natural method, while the loss in ripening is usually most in the soda method; it varies from 5 to 10 per cent. For convenience of comparison, the following table is given:
Amount and value of cheese obtained from 100 lbs. skim-milk.