Home made cheddar cheese question
I made some cheddar which, after aging, smells wonderful. But when I taste it, the first sensation is delicious but then I get a distinctly bitter after taste. PH is about 5-5.5. I used low temperature pasteurized milk. Using C101 cultures from New England Cheesemaking Supply. Made with rennet tablets. Am I using too much rennet? Dipped in 2-3 layers of cheese wax. Aged at around 55 degrees in a wine cooler that has trouble in the hottest days main tannin g it temp. Could get temp up to 70 for a few hours. Happens with cheeses aged between 2 and up to 20 months.
Bitter flavors in cheddar tend to be associated with proteins breaking down into bitter peptides. It's difficult for me to diagnose since multiple issues could be behind this. Therefore, I will just list some options that could improve flavor. If you try 1 option at a time, you will get an idea of what caused the problem. (In research we try to change 1 variable at a time.)
1. Change rennet. Rennet tablets are not great for aged cheese. Instead purchase liquid rennet, preferably calf rennet. However, recombinant chymosin should also work. Brew supply stores tend to be good sources for rennet.
2. The aging temperature is high for cheddar. I would recommend aging at high refrigeration temperatures. Somewhere around 43-45F should work
3. Your pH variation is quite large: pH 5.0-5.5. Try targeting the lower end of this spectrum.
4. Do you know the moisture content in the cheese? Bitter flavors often develop in cheeses that are too high in moisture. Try lowering moisture.
5. Increase salt. There should be approximately 2% salt in your cheese. Going lower makes it difficult to control microbial action and you're likely to get bitter flavors.