Dehydrating/Drying Food

How To Dehydrate Cheese In Your Home Dehydrator

I will tell you up front the idea to dry cheese was a bit of an experiment because I was not sure, with the fat content in some cheeses, if it would work.  My goal was to see if I could dehydrate cheddar cheese for later use and for camping.  If I make cheese or buy cheese it is always in bulk so I can vacuum seal it or freeze it, but I still have to use power to store it (as in the frig or freezer). 

 

 

I wanted to be able to take my cheese, dry it, seal it and stick it on a shelf.

I will tell you what I learned as I went through this process and hopefully this will keep you from having to go through the same mess I did while learning.

What you will need -

Cheese - I used a mild cheddar my first try, but I would definitley recommend a sharper cheddar because they have less moisture or fat.

A grater - or you can go high tech and use your food processor

paper towels - These need to be good quality paper towels. I used some recycled paper napkins and that was not a good idea at all!  The oil soaked into the very thin paper napkins and then stuck to the paper and I had to peel the cheese off the napikins tiny pieces at a time.  I then switched to thick paper towels and they seemed to work fine.  I think when I try this again I will use my Paraflexx sheets for the starting hour or so until most of the fats have released and then switch to paper towels.

Paraflexx is a premium non-stick drying sheet sold by Excalibur Dehydrators that makes dehydrating much easier:

  • Non-stick:  your dehydrated items slide right off - no more peeling paper off dehydrated food.
  • Easy cleanup: just wash with soap and water.
  • Reusable and long-lasting: saves you money in the long run. No more buying and cutting paper towels or parchment paper.

To see the selection of Paraflexx Non-Stick Premium Drying Sheets and pick up your own, go to Excalibur Dehydrators.

Your dehydrator

Okay, let's get started -

Shred your cheese.  The finer the better.  My grater doesn't go that fine but it worked okay.

 

Line your dehydrator trays with those good paper towels I was mentioning earlier. 

 

Now take that shredded cheese and layer it in a thin layer on your paper towel covered trays. 

I had 5 trays worth in my nine tray dehydrator so I spaced my trays out.

Once the cheese starts melting the fats will release quickly so you will have to change out the paper towels several times. If you're using the Paraflexx sheets, you will need to remove the cheese and dry the fats off of the Paraflexx. This is where the Paraflexx works really well because the cheese just slides right off of it, where with the paper towels you have to peel the cheese off. Now dry the fats off of both sides of the cheese and replace it on the paper towels or the Paraflexx.

 

 

 

 

As you see in the picture to the right the cheese literally melted to the paper napkin at this point.  I should  have checked it sooner.  So the message here is that if you are using paper towels, check your cheese often so you don't have to peel all that paper off like I did.

Set your dehydrator to 135 degrees and now just wait and watch. 

 

 

 

It took about 10 hours for this cheese to completely dry.  Then I broke it apart where pieces had melted together; it should be brittle and break apart with a snap.  I then took some of it and stored it in mason jars.

The rest of the dried cheese I decided I would try to run through my Grain Maker grain mill to turn it into cheese powder.  I figured if it was dry enough then it shouldn't be a problem and if it wasn't dry enough then obviously I needed to dry it more.

The grinding idea was a success.  I set the mill to the same setting as when I grind flour and what came out was a beautiful soft powdery cheese powder.

Want to dehydrate 9 trays of fruits, vegetables, meats and more all at the same time just like Christine does? Go to Excalibur and get your very own Excalibur Dehydrator now.

 

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Comments   

 
0 #18 Christine 2013-07-16 20:16
@ Jessica - That might just work. Next time I dehydrate cheese I am going to try that. Thanks :-)
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+2 #17 Jessica 2013-07-16 19:53
I wonder how it would do if you shaved it super thin instead of grated it? You could set it on the screen then and let the oils flow through, away from the cheese, and put the paper towels on the tray below to catch it.
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0 #16 Christine 2013-01-04 12:27
@ Carol - How wonderful that you are trying new things and enjoying them. I hope you enjoy all your experiences and take us along on the new road you are traveling.

- Christine
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+2 #15 Carol Cannon 2013-01-04 09:37
thanks for all the wonderful and informative information. I'm 62 years old and am just now getting onto this "Survival Foods" band wagon. I have to admit, I am absolutely excited to try all these new (to me) processes. Just bought my first dehydrator and I can't wait to start drying my own herbs and veggies.
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+2 #14 Dana 2012-12-03 02:18
Thank you this is great! I have also started Waxing the cheese and keeping it in a cool dry place. - I got Cheese wax from a place called Grape and Grainery I just used the basic Red - I bought 5lbs and it did great - Cheese was on sale I bought several blocks cut them into smaller blocks then dipped them in the wax - this was 6 months ago and I'm still using my small blocks of cheese and they are just as fresh. Highly recommend looking into Cheese Wax. Little goes a long way - I even did string cheese and took it camping it ended up at the bottom of a wet cooler but they were still perfect once the wax was peeled off.
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+1 #13 Christine 2012-11-26 02:58
Hi Karen,

I haven't had any mold on me yet but I keep it in a cool dark cabinet in a vacuum sealed bag. If you have vacuum seal jars that would be the way I would go over plastic. The plastic will over time allow air through.
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0 #12 Christine 2012-11-26 02:56
@ Valerie - Unfortunately the cheese does not melt like fresh cheese for just using as toppings etc. But it is great for making make and cheese and other yummy cheesy dishes ;)
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0 #11 dee dunbar 2012-11-21 21:16
Dip waxing cheese is easier and I seal in mylar bags with oxygen absorbers and put them on the shelf. But I will try this too for extra and powdered.
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0 #10 Karen 2012-11-19 01:29
How long does the dehydrated cheese last? Will it mold at any point? Is glass or plastic better for long-term storage? Thanks!
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0 #9 Valerie 2012-11-19 01:24
Awesome idea. If the cheese is not ground to powder, how do you use it? With all the fat removed, will it melt in heat? Asking because I don't own a grain mill yet.
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