I am on my third try at cheddar. I have been making chevre, ricotta, feta and mozzarella with good success.
I am using the recipe I found on the cheeseforum wiki. The recipe is for 1 gallon but I am using 3.5 gallons of raw GOAT milk. I do not have a ph meter.
This is what I did...
-warmed milk to 90 and added culture (just under a tsp of MA) and let ripen 1 hour
- added rennet, got a good clean break in 15 minutes. THis is faster than the recipe allows for but it is less rennet then the amount specified on the bottle. I used 1/2 tsp double strength vegetable rennet
-cut the curd and let sit 10 minutes
-by this time the curds were trying to matt so I separated them and cut what I had missed
Here is where things started to go amiss...
Recipe said slowly raise the temp of the curd to 102 and stir every few minutes to prevent matting. I did this and struggled the whole time with the curds wanting to matt and having to separate them again (this happens when I make feta also but it doesn't seem to effect the end product). I got the curds to 102 but in looking at the recipe now I realize I was supposed to hold them there for 45 minutes longer and I don't think I did that.
When I drained the curds they totally stuck together into an almost solid mass!
So, when I returned them to the pot I had to cut them all apart. I then salted them and stirred them and kept them at 102 for about 30 minutes. The recipe said an hour but by this point the curds were VERY firm and squeaked when you bit them. I do have PH paper and when placed inside a curd the PH looked to be between 5 and 6. So, based on how firm and squeaky the curd was and what it looked like the PH was, I quit cooking it and put it in the press.
So...why am I having such a problem with the curds matting and knitting together? (I do have this problem with Feta also.) Did I make the problem worse by not holding at 102 for the hour?
Also, what do firm squeaky curds mean? Are they too dry? Should I have kept cooking even though they were at this point?
Wish I had a PH meter.
I am getting 3.5 gallons of milk a day from my goats
and I already have made most of the chevre I want for the year and put it in the freezer. I am making mozzarella and am going to try gouda but att this point I really need to figure out how to make cheddar...my goal is great cheddar but at this point edible would be fine. I have 6 hungry cheese eating children.