Any cheese makers here?

Discussion in 'Egg, Chicken, & Other Favorite Recipes' started by Saltysteele, Aug 4, 2011.

  1. Saltysteele

    Saltysteele Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 10, 2011
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    I just tried my 3rd batch of mozzarella. The first batch turned out great, however, the water i put the balls in to sit was too hot and ruined them. It was tasty before that, stretchy and worked wonderfully.

    all 3 batches were done using non-ultra-pasteurized milk from the store (not worth it to me to buy milk shares or a cow for the little bit of milk we use). 1-1/4 tsp citric acid per gallon, rennet tabs, vitamin D milk

    the first batch never set up a solid curd on the top, but yet melted fine and stretched fine. brought it up to 90 degrees, added the rennet stirred for a bit (no more than 15 seconds) and it just swirled into a bunch of small curds. heated to 105, then strained.

    the second batch, i brought up to 89 degrees and added the rennet. did the same thing, never set a curd at the top. this one, though, just stayed a wet mess. even after draining in a cheesecloth for quite a while, it was a thick, ricotta-type cheese, and would not melt or stretch at all.

    the third batch, today, 50 degrees put in the citric acid, heated to 91 and put in the rennet. stirred for less than 10 seconds, and it started developing small curds (like before). i let it sit for 15 minutes, and it formed a solid curd across the top. as i checked for clean break, the underneath curds were still small and unbound, running up to the top. i cut it and let it sit for a while longer. i stirred, and the small curds never did set. heated to 105, and strained. it wasn't as wet of a mess as the 2nd time, but it's like only half of the mass wanted to melt and stretch, the rest just kept that ricotta texture. when all was said and done, i ended up with the whole thing being a ricotta type curd.

    wth is happening? i can't find a cheese making forum (only briefly searched) that has any recent updates or regular posts.

    why the first time i tried, did it work great, and the subsequent tries when i paid more attention to what i was doing it failed?

    the only thing different that i can see, is the first milk sat until its expiration date before i could get to making it. the 2nd and 3rd batches were all within a day or two of buying.

    my dad has nigerian dwarf that is going to kid in august, so i'd like to get my cheesemaking under control so i don't waste all that goat milk
     
  2. arabianequine

    arabianequine Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 4, 2010
    I don't yet but will someday....when I have fresh goat milk might not be till next spring. [​IMG]
     
  3. ChickenChaps

    ChickenChaps Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Malabar, FL
    This is an awesome cheese forum. Read the wiki's for alot of basic information and explanations.
    http://cheeseforum.org/forum/

    I just made my first hard cheese last weekend - cheddar. And made my first Colby yesterday! [​IMG] I dont get to taste it for 3 months though.

    I make a lot of motzerella, its my favorite. I have my own goats, so I am using raw goat milk. The milk you are buying could be part of the problem... But it sounds like you are not giving the rennet enough time to set up. It takes almost an hour to get a clean break with the tablets - and could take longer! Here is my process...

    INGREDIENTS:
    1 gallon milk
    1¼ teaspoon citric acid powder dissolved in 1/4 cup cool water
    ½ tablet Junket rennet suspended in ¼ cup cool water

    • Dissolve 1¼ tsp. citric acid powder into 1/4 cup cool water.
    Add to milk and stir well.
    Heat milk to 88F

    • Dissolve ½ tablet Junket Rennet into ¼ cup cool water.
    Stir thoroughly into warmed milk mixture.
    Let set undisturbed for 1-2 hours, until a clean break is achieved. (this can take anywhere from 30 minutes to 3 hours! Be patient)

    • Cut curd into ½ inches cubes. Criss cross different directions and slant the knife in the pot to cut it. Be gentle! Try not to bust the curds up.
    Let the cut curds sit 15 minutes.

    • SLOWLY, Over low heat, stir the curds and whey gently to keep the curds separated and temperature uniform until temperature reaches 108F
    Hold at 108F for 35 minutes, stirring every five minutes to keep curds separated and off the hot bottom. Be gentle!

    • Pour curds and whey through a strainer, let drain for 15 minutes.
    Save whey to make ricotta !! Ricotta is easy and is a simple by product of the used whey!!

    • Break up curd, thoroughly mix in 1 teaspoon salt (or to taste).
    I add garlic powder and Italian seasonings here too. I just like the extra flavor.

    • Put the curd in a microwave safe dish. Microwave for 45 seconds (adjust the time so that you get the desired elasticity).
    Microwave 10 seconds or so at a time, check on it.
    It will need to be quite hot, use spoons if you can’t tolerate the heat, knead to distribute heat evenly.
    Don’t overheat it though!

    This is the fun part!
    Stretch and fold to make smooth and elastic
    Reheat in the microwave if necessary.

    I do not put the balls in water either. I just let it cool naturally.
     
  4. Saltysteele

    Saltysteele Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 10, 2011
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    thank you for your reply, and recipe!! [​IMG]

    i believe it is my milk. the first batch, which worked, was with walfart brand milk. the next several batches were with spartan, country fresh and another brand from a local store. it is my understanding that milk people are heating their milk past the pasteurization temps, closer to the ultrapasteurization temps. as with anything walmart, though, they must not heat it as high (everything they do is done on the cheap [​IMG]) so, while at sam's club this past weekend, i picked up a gallon of their brand of milk (sam's = walfart).

    it worked. it did not set the proper curd, still, though. it all came to the top, but was small globules (first and last batches; the ones that worked). i drained them, and heated them in the microwave, and sure enough, it melted and turned out great! though, not as great as if i had whole milk, i'm sure.

    i would like to try some cheddar next. we have a market in the area (about 45 minutes away, but i love this place) that in addition to selling cigars, pipes and tobacco, teas of every kind, locally made coffee beans, beer/wine/mead making supplies, and bread making supplies, also sells cheese making supplies. i so love this store. it's actually a liquor store that has turned into a liquor store/DIY cool stuff store, so it's not going to go out of business like most specialty shops inevitably do. [​IMG]

    anyway, i had the tabbed rennet, but in attempt to trouble shoot also purchased animal rennet and lipase powder (i believe mild lipase powder). i need to figure out what else i need for cheddar (cultures, starters, etc.).

    any tips?

    here is a tip from one of the fellas at the market, when i mentioned how incredibly expensive cheese presses are: one of his customers uses two buckets of the same size as his cheese press. the outer bucket he drills holes in, around the perimeter and bottom. the inner bucket he does not drill holes in. then, he puts the curds in the drilled bucket, places the 2nd bucket over that, and the places weight inside the 2nd bucket. ingenious, i say! [​IMG] i was not going to do hard cheeses, because i could not see spending that much money on a press. i realize there are other DIY presses out there, but this is one i really like, as you can contain your weights and their mess inside the bucket [​IMG]

    i'm just practicing on cow's milk, while i wait for my dad's goat to kid [​IMG] although, i'm not looking forward to going down to milk it everday (my wife and i live a quarter mile away)
     
  5. Saltysteele

    Saltysteele Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 10, 2011
    MI
    btw, do you keep your curds/milk heated to 90 degrees while waiting for it to set up?
     
  6. Tracydr

    Tracydr Chillin' With My Peeps

    I use the microwave, about twenty seconds at a time, instead of hot water. At first, I didn't want to. Then I found out how much easier it was.
     
  7. ChickenChaps

    ChickenChaps Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 17, 2008
    Malabar, FL
    Quote:You're welcome. [​IMG]
    Yeah, the milk stays at 90*. I move it off the burner and put a lid on it. My house is 80* in the summer, so it remains at 90 easily.

    Beyond the milk potentially being a problem, I still think your rennet was not working right. Or not using enough, or not letting it set long enough. Or a combination of some of these things.

    You are right with the pasteurization of the milk causing problems with cheese making... Some things i read too is if using store bought milk, add Calcium Chloride. Maybe your special store has that? (I like the sounds of that store!)

    The only other required ingrediant for Cheddar or Colby is Mesophillic starter. I bought live cultured buttermilk at the grocery. Leave it sit on the counter for 8 hours to ripen. Freeze extra in ice cube trays. Each cube is ~1 oz.

    I also made my own cheese press. Your design sounds great! How many gallons do you plan to do at once? How big around are the buckets? I use a heavy PVC pipe 6" in diameter for my press - and use 2 gallons of milk. It makes a nice size, just over 2# of cheese.
    And you realize too, for the hard cheeses, you have to "age" them at 55-60*, 80% humidity for at least 3 months. I got a small wine cooler off Craigslist for $30, works perfect for my cheese cave! (the fridge is too cold).

    You will be amazed once you use raw goat milk!! [​IMG] And homemade yogurt is fantastic too! [​IMG]
     
  8. Saltysteele

    Saltysteele Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 10, 2011
    MI
    i'll have to keep my eye out for a cheap wine cooler. i've been trying to think of where i could age it. i've got some spots that are the correct temp, but the humidity is not there.

    yes, they've got all the cultures and starters, everything. if there is anyone else in southwest michigan looking, it's called Siciliano's Market in Grand Rapids, on Lake Michigan Drive. they've got their rennet (tabs and liquid - veg and animal) in a cooler with their hops and wine/beer making yeasts and stuff, and their cultures are in a freezer in the first part of the store.

    ya know, i was reading somewhere about calcium chloride, and wondered if it would help me with store bought milk; thanks for the tip.

    the next time i try to make it, i'll let it sit longer. this last batch, while it did melt and come together, did not form a solid curd after 45 minutes. i've been reading though (as you also said) it could take a lot longer. i'll try it next time i get a chance to make it.
     
  9. Tracydr

    Tracydr Chillin' With My Peeps

    Did you make sure the milk was not ultrapasturized? Maybe try a different milk source.
     
  10. ChickenChaps

    ChickenChaps Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 17, 2008
    Malabar, FL
    Even in the wine cooler, to get the humidity up, I have a low bowl in there with two rags hanging over as wicks to distribute moisture. It helps, my humidity is about 70%. So if you have something already that will hold the temps in the right range, try something like that to get the humidity up.

    I went to college in Michigan... Macomb CC, then Oakland U. Co-oped at Chrysler in Detroit, then GM near the college. [​IMG] Wish I had a store like that nearby, that sounds awesome!

    I never even look at my curd earlier than 1 hour. Sometimes it takes much longer. The liquid rennet is a whole lot faster. Not sure if its just fresher or why, but I have certainly found that to be true. Be patient for that curd to make a real clean break and your results will most likely improve.

    Good luck! And dont hesitate to ask questions. Its not easy to find information and I have done tons of research looking for answers myself. If I can help, I would love to do so. [​IMG] I still have a TON to learn too! Its tough to figure out what is good info with so many contradictory sources. Motzerella though, I feel I have been successful at. lol Ill find out in 3 months if I was successful with my cheddar and colby. dang, thats a long wait. [​IMG]
     

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