pH is a measurement of acidity – alkalinity with 7 being neutral. Generally the early stages of cheese making require acidification of the milk so that it coagulates resulting is removal of whey. Thus knowing the pH of the milk when start and when this stage is complete is important for obtaining a better resultant cheese.
Most home cheese making recipes don’t mention pH and estimate this point based on amount and type of milk, type and amount of culture-bacteria added, temperature and time. Thus most cheese making hobbyists don’t measure pH. However, while temperature and time are global controllable parameters, milk and culture quality are not. Milk varies tremendously around the world and by season. Cultures also vary significantly, even manufactured freeze dried ones can be stale and often tiny measurement used in home cheesemaking sizes are poorly accurate.
Thus, for beginner cheese makers a pH measurement device is not required, for more serious – intermediate ones it is recommended.
pH measurement devices are available in several formats:
- Disposable Litmus Paper where you check the colour against a colour chart.
- Chemical where you check the colour against a colour chart.
- Battery operated analog readout pH Meter frequently used by gardeners to measure soil acidity – alkalinity.
- Battery operated calibratable digital readout pH Meter.
Battery operated digital readout pH Meter have dropped in price significantly in recent years and are recommended for ease of use and accuracy.