Brining cheese is the process of floating a cheese in salt water for a period of time to flavor and preserve the cheese. The process is very simple, but to make the brine recipe, you will want to have a Specific Gravity Hydrometer or a Baumè Hydrometer and a Test Jar and pH papers or a pH meter.
Ingredients for Light Brine (See table below for making other brine recipes.)
1 gallon Water
14 oz. Kosher or Coarse Salt (See table below for making other brine recipes.)
2 cups Whey collected from making any mild cheese, ripened for 24 hours
Plastic or Glass Container large enough to hold the brine and the cheese.
Plastic wrap or a lid for this container
Mix a quart of water in a saucepan and add the salt. Mix and heat until all the salt is dissolved. Note: for strong brine solutions, you may need to add all the water. Add the salt water to the remaining water in a container large enough to hold the brine and the cheese.
Allow to cool to room temperature.
Add enough ripened Whey to lower the pH to below 5, preferably 4.7.
Refrigerate and use for brining in your recipe. Will keep for months.
Follow your recipe directions for using the brine. Sometimes you only hold the cheese in the brine overnight, other recipes have you store the cheese in the brine.
Table of Brine Recipes
Light Brine (8-10° Baumè)(1.057-1.074 Specific Gravity)
This strength is used for Feta when it is kept in brine solution until eaten
400 grams (14 oz) of salt for 4 liters (1 gallon) of water
Medium Brine (12-15° Baumè)(1.088-1.110 Specific Gravity)
Use for Feta when saltier cheeses are desired and briefly for Mozzarella
600 grams (20 oz) of salt for 4 liters (1 gallon) of water
Heavy Brine (20-23° Baumè)(1.148-1.169 Specific Gravity)
This solution is almost a saturation of salt to water, therefore the water must be boiled with the salt to dissolve it completely. Mainly used for hard cheeses, semi-hard cheeses and washed rind cheeses. The rule is to leave the cheese in the bath for 12 hours for every 2 lbs. of cheese.
900 grams (32 oz) of salt for 4 liters (1 gallon) of water.
Table adapted from The Cheesemaker’s Manual, Margaret P. Morris, Winchester Print Winchester, Ontario Canada, 2003, used by permission