Source: Ref. 1, courtesy of Tetra Pak Processing Systems AB, Sweden.
A cheese salted too little will, in the beginning, have a flavor termed ''flat,'' and a very elastic texture. Later the flavor easily becomes impure and the texture develops a chewy tendency. Too much salting results in a cheese with short texture and salty-bitter flavor. The initial rind formation will be affected by the brining, and the effect depends on the salt concentration of the brine.
Although a saturated salt solution (approx. 26% NaCl) can be used in salting, for open-texture and round-eyed cheeses a weaker concentration is often used, normally with 20-22% NaCl. The strength of the salting brine is determined by a hydrometer stating °Be (Beaume). At 15°C (70°F), 20°Be corresponds to approx. 21% NaCl (21.2%) for a fresh brine. When the brine has been in use for a certain time, the hydrometer will show a deviation of 1-2° Be because of substances dissolved in the brine. In practice, this means that, when measuring the strength of a 2-3 month old brine solution, degrees Baume can be considered equal to the salt percentage. If the brine is much weaker than 20-22° Be, the rind may become soft. If the brine is concentrated, there is the risk that the rind will become hard and low in moisture; brine that is too concentrated may cause cracks in the rind. The salting can be carried out in brining vats with circulating or nonmoving brine. If the brine is nonmoving, stirring must be done frequently.
The acidity of the brine should be about the same as that of the cheese (i.e., approx. pH 5.2), but in a freshly made solution it will usually be somewhat higher depending upon the acidity of the water supply; but the pH value should immediately be brought to the desired level by the addition of hydrochloric acid to the solution. The salt content in different types of cheese is shown in Table 2.
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