So far in this series we’ve discussed the overall concept of cheese, and we’ve tackled milk selection, and so you’re fairly well on your way to making a cheese of your own. But before we move on to recipes, we have another concept to go over.
And that concept how salt works to flavor and preserve your cheese.
Sciency Salt Science
Salt (NaCL, if we remember correctly from high school chemistry) is an amazing, naturally occuring element that would be used in cheese-making even if it didn’t make the cheese taste better (although it totally does). Salt plays two important roles in the cheese-making process:
(1) Removes moisture
Whether it’s used in baking, cooking steak, or making cheese, salt naturally removes moisture from whatever it touches. We suppose a chemist could explain exactly why this is, but it isn’t important for our purposes. Just know that salt will pull moisture from your curds. It also is a natural preservative, which is why our ancestors began using it to cure meats. Most cheeses will require some salt.
Just Any Salt?
You need cheese salt, which is a way of saying you need non-iodized salt, which is a way of saying, “avoid the blue cardboard tube of salt with the little metal pour spout.” It is true you can buy non-iodized table salt, and it is further true that you can buy iodized sea salt or kosher salt. But we’re going to direct you to the sea salt shelf of your local grocer. Check to see that it is non-iodized, and pick the best one you can. This kind of salt will keep you from adding unnecessary chemicals to your cheese, and it will render a purer flavor.