Dehydrated Cheese!

I’d read about it, in what few articles I could find online. My Excalibur dehydration book had nothing. I used a combination of suggestions, techniques and some common sense.

1. I used Extra Old Cheddar. It’s hard cheese, thus less fat. This means it is already drier and will dry as opposed to melt and will not get as gooey in the process.

2. On the dehydrator rack, I put down a layer of regular paper towel and then coffee filters. The paper towel for its absorbency and the coffee filters for the same, but also because of their no lint value.

3. After shredding the cheese, I scattered it on the paper lined racks – making sure that the cheese was not clumped – and well spread out. Because the cheese would sweat its fat even at low temperatures, I wanted to make sure the papers could well absorb the sweat. The thing is, you want the cheese to sweat its fat. That’s the point along with sweating any water moisture.

4. The total dehydration time was maybe 8-9 hours. The first hour was on the lowest setting. After an hour, I changed all the paper, it had well absorbed the first round or sweated off fat. In the cheese went again for an hour, at the lowest temperature, and again on layers of paper towel and coffee filters. Again, after an hour, I pulled it all out, changed all the papers and re-sprinkled the now slightly drier cheese shreds. For a third time, after an hour, I pulled the cheese out – most of the fat had sweated off, and I only needed to change to coffee filter layer.

5. For the fourth hour forward, I kept the cheese on the paper, and turned the temp up to the next heat setting, 105 F/41C. Every couple of hours I checked to see the texture and to see if  – between my fingers, I could crumble some of the cheese. When it was at the point that the shreds where dry and crunchy, and would easily crumble, I took them out of the dehydrator.

6. I let the cheese cool, then dumped it into a glass container with a lid, and stuck in freezer for a few hours. This was to see if, during the freezing process, I would see any frost on the side of the glass dish. If there was, it thus indicates there’s still moisture. If it showed any moisture, I would put back in the dehydrator  on racks lined with coffee filters, set to lowest setting for an hour. And then repeat the above, cooling, then into the freezer, etc.

7. When the cheese shreds were totally dehydrated, I then put them into my blender – and grounded shreds to powder.

8. I now have cheese powder that I use: to make cheese sauce (like the stuff that comes in the packs of store bought mac and cheese – but without all the crap in it), I add it to soups and casseroles, on popcorn.

9. I keep the jar of cheese powder in the freezer. Though, it would be fine in the fridge. I’ve got a little jar of it, air tight, that I am testing out how well it keeps.2013-03-03 12.43.52

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