My finished cheese is too hard, dry, or crumbly - why is that?

by Kelsey

This is only a problem in hard cheeses, and it's so minor that it isn't really a problem; more an irritation!

First, remember that when making cheese at home, you're making cheeses around 1 kilogram, not 100 kilograms. So a homemade cheese is going to dry out and crumble a little more than one made in a factory.

Some of the most delicious artisan cheeses are crumbly. But of course if you're trying to cut a slice of cheese for a sandwich, it's nice if that cheese stays together.

Causes for hard/dry/crumbly cheese may be:

  • You have used a bit too much rennet
  • The curd cooking time was too long 
  • The curd cooking temperature was too high

Drying out can be reduced by:

  • Adding a few more layers of wax during the ageing process to trap the moisture
  • Check your ageing cheeses regularly, if they start to feel like big hard bricks, add some coconut oil or wax to the outside of them.
  • Make sure your ageing environment stays humid. Keeping a glass of water in the refrigerator can help if you're using a cheese fridge. Some cheese makers hose down the inside of their caves at least once a day to create moist, flavourful, and delicious cheddar.