Salt and Cheesemaking. Why Salt is a critical ingredient in cheesemaking
The use of salt is essential for making cheese as it controls the moisture content and, by that, the fungus and bacterial growth. It is used for all kinds of cheese, including fresh cheeses. The salt extracts the moisture out of the cheese. It helps to form hard curd removing the moisture from within. Also, protect the surface of the cheese during the ageing, simply limiting the growth of bacteria and fungi and helping form white rinds. It reduces the PH to drop lower than intended by decreasing the activity of the starter cultures. Thus it would be best if you did not salt a cheese that has not acidified yet. Also, it slows the ageing process so the cheese can be held long enough to develop the desired texture and enhance the flavour.
The best salt is that without iodine or additives and, when refined, is just ideal. We usually need to add salt after trying everything posible to extract as much moisture as possible from the curds or in the beginning or during the ripening process. Most of the things we do during the cheesemaking are to take moisture out of the cheese. We add rennet, cutting curds, straining, and forming the cheese is all about extracting the moisture.
Then salt is added to remove the remaining moisture, which in most cases is almost the last stage of making cheese.
Sometimes the salt is added to the curds and then left to drain the whey. Other types of cheese are salted on the surface and flipped to allow the salt to extract as much as posible whey.
The surface salting frequently requires 2% salt measured from the weight of the cheese. Or in other words, 5L of milk will deliver 500 or 600 grams of cheese and will need one tablespoon (15 ml or 10 grams) of salt.