Brine Brick

Introduction

The description "Brine" is used to distinguish brine salted Brick cheese from the modern version which is similar to Colby. Brine Brick is a sweet, mild version of German Brick.

The acidity of Brine Brick cheese is determined mainly by the amount of lactose removed during washing. There is little acid development until after hooping because the inoculum is small and the milk is not ripened before renneting. . It is mild and sweet in flavour and lacks the sharpness of Cheddar and the strong flavour of Limburger and German Brick.. Brine brick cheese should be clean, well shaped, free from checks and moulds and have a rind with a predominantly smooth surface. The cheese should present a neat attractive appearance and be of uniform size and shape. The sides should be square, not bulged.

Standards: 42% moisture; 29% fat.

Procedure

1. Pasteurize whole milk. Milk standardized to P/F = 1.04 will make a legal cheese but a higher fat cheese is preferred. P/F = .90 is suggested.

2. Add 0.25% of an active lactic starter at 30C. Normally Lactococcus. lactis and/or . cremoris is used but heterofermentative lactics such as Leuconostic mesenteroides subsp. cremoris and/orLactococcus. diaceteylactis may be used to promote an open structure.

3. Add a smear culture according to manufacturer's instructions. Alternatively, 'old to new' smear inoculation may be preferred.

4. Cheese colour may be added at the rate of 6 - 8 ml/1,000 kg milk when the cattle are off fresh pasture.

5. Measure 190 ml rennet per 1,000 kg milk. Dilute the rennet with 10 volumes of water and add the mixture to the milk, immediately after adding the starter. Setting should be complete in 20 - 30 minutes.

6. Cut curd with 1/4" (6.4mm) knives when the curd breaks cleanly with a spatula. Acid development at this stage should be minimal (whey pH 6.5 - 6.6).

7. Agitate gently for 10 min. and then begin to cook. Follow the heating schedule carefully. Heating is required to firm the curd and obtain the correct moisture. 

Time Temperature
Begin heating 30.0 C
5 min. 30.5 C
10 min. 31.0 C
15 min. 33.0 C
20 min. 36.0 C

8. Drain the whey to a level of 2.5 cm above the curd.

9. Add water at 36C. The required amount is 50% of the original weight of milk -- or about the equivalent of the amount of whey removed. Hold the curd in the water with gentle agitation for 15 min to allow the lactose in the curd and water to equilibrate. Short holding times result in acid cheese. Longer holding times (or excess water) results in bland cheese.

10. Drain the whey/water to a level 2.5 cm above the curd.

11. Dip the curd and whey into rectangular perforated forms on a drain table. The curd and whey may be moved with a positive rotary pump. Add curds to each form in rotation until they are full but not heaped up.

12. Turn the hoops at 5, 10, 30, 60, and 90 minutes. Add the metal followers after the first turn. If the curd does not form smooth sides, a little hot water may be sprayed over the curd to close up the cheese and form a good finish.

13. Place in 22 - 25% salt brine for 24 hrs. at 10 - 15C. Dry salt the exposed surface of the cheese. Brine pH should be about 5.3.

14. After removal from the brine, the cheese should be placed in a curing room at approximately 15C with a relative humidity of 90%. Alternatively, the cheese can be placed on plastic mats in large plastic tubs with the lids slightly open to allow some air exchange and maintain humidity. During curing, film yeasts, corynebacterium such as Bacterium linens and other organisms form an orange-red smear on the surface of the cheese. The growth is quite luxurious in 2 weeks. The smear grows only on the surface but the enzymes from the smear penetrate the cheese and break down the protein to produce the desired flavour.

15. Gently wash and turn the cheese every day for about 12-15 days. Washing is done with a damp cloth dipped in a 20% brine solution. Moisten the entire surface of the cheese with the salt water and remove any mould that appears.

16. After the smear has developed sufficiently (12 -15 days), rinse the cheese with cold water, gently brush off excess smear, and then allow the cheese to dry. If a milder flavoured cheese is desired, the smear may be washed off the cheese at an earlier date.

17. After the final washing, dry the cheese for 4 - 6 hrs. and then vacuum pack. Place the packaged cheese in a curing room at 5 - 7C for 1 - 3 months.

Process and Quality Control Notes

1. Acidity: Excessive acidity can result from too much culture. The pH at 3 - 4 days should be 5.1 - 5.2

2. Gas formation: Coliform bacteria may grow in the cheese during draining and salting causing early gas that gives rise to pinholes or to a spongy condition. Coliform organisms can be controlled by pasteurization and by avoiding post pasteurization contamination. Late gas formation by Clostridia organisms may occur due to insufficient acid and salt. The pH should be 5.1 - 5.3.

3. Lack of Smear Development: A smear will not grow if the humidity in the curing room is too low. If the curing room is 'too clean' it may be necessary to inoculate the surface of the cheese from a previously ripened cheese or inoculate the milk with commercial smear cultures.

4. Mould Growth: If the cheese is not washed often enough, moulds may grow on the cheese. The moulds will not grow if a good smear is developing.