So I'm trying to get into cheesemaking and I'm still trying to get my head around some of the concepts. In cooking and brewing, I don't always follow recipes exactly, but instead use general rules in order to end up with the product I intended. For instance, in brewing, we know mashing higher/shorter = higher FG, the later in the boil hops are added, the more aroma/flavor, general upper limits for certain grain proportions, etc. I'm trying to figure out those same rules for cheese. If anyone has any good online references or recommended books I'd appreciate you listing them here. Also, if you just want to quickly lay down some rules, feel free. So far, these are the kind of cheese rules I already know.
-Longer wait after flocculation before cutting the curd = more whey retained in the curd and a moister cheese
-Bigger curd cut = moister cheese
-Higher curd cook temp = drier cheese (but is cooking the curds required for hard cheeses or can you go straight from cut to mold)(what cook temps lead to what qualities?)
-Washing the curds leads to a "sweeter" cheese (and less aging required?)
Those are the kind of things I'd like to hear. With a good understanding of that type of info, one could design cheeses much like one designs a beer. I'm also still curious as to the differences between different cultures, what each lends to the cheese, the differences between mesophilic and thermophilic cultures, and all that.
I'm mainly interested in pressed, non-mold ripened cheeses.
Thanks for any insight!