Drying cheese is useful to preserve the dairy product while creating special ingredients necessary for recipes such as chicken parmesan. The trick to successful cheese drying is low temperature combined with constant air circulation and a relative humidity of about 5 percent. A kitchen oven can be used to dry cheese, although a food dryer is less labor intensive, will reduce the time, and uses less electricity. Either way, expect to devote six to 10 hours for drying 1-inch thick pieces of cheese cut into blocks or bricks about 3-by-2 inches. The cheese is dry when it flakes and crumbles with a fork.
Things You'll Need
Preheat the oven to 140 degrees Fahrenheit.
Place cheese pieces of uniform size on baking racks or wire racks covered with cheese cloth. It is important that the pieces be elevated from any flat surface so air can circulate.
Slide the racks of cheese into the oven.
Keep the oven door ajar during drying.
Place a tabletop electric fan on top of the oven (make sure the surface burners are off), pointing it down so the air blows into the slightly open oven door.
Rotate the racks top to bottom, front to back every half hour to maintain even temperature of the drying cheese.
Use a convection oven as an alternative to a standard kitchen oven. A convection oven contains its own fan for air circulation and uses less electricity.
Watch out for a skin formation on the surface of the cheese during drying. Cheese skins over when water evaporates from the surface faster than the heat of the oven can extract moisture from the center of the food. If the cheese skins over, it will slow down the drying process because water cannot escape.
Don’t use metal trays or cookie sheets to dry cheese. Air has to circulate all around the pieces so the cheese can dry on all sides.