I do not have my copy of 200 Homemade cheese recipes handy so I cannot reference that recipe (Ironically, the existence of a Gruyere recipe in the book was one of the major reasons I got it. Also ironically, I have yet to make Gruyere despite that fact...)
I used a different store bought milk, then my mozza, I also used Calcium chloreide whiche I haven't before.
What do you mean by different store bought milk? What did you use? This could potentially be part of it depending on how the milk was treated. If nothing else you could try the make again using the original type of milk and see how it goes.
My spinning bowl stopped at about 10 min, and I waqited the additional 30 or so (a multiplier of 3 since its a hard cheese and rice sized curd) and I had a less then perfect clean break.
What do you mean when you say less than perfect break? With some store bought milks I have used, the curd is a bit soft and can throw you off when looking for a clean break. I look for being able to make a cut and being able to gently tug one side of the cut over slightly without a backfill (does that make sense?).
Could this just be imperfection with the rennet should I try a bit more in the future?
How old is the rennet and is it the same stuff as before? If it is the same stuff you used before when things turned out fine (and your last make was not last century) then I would guess that it is ok. Unless it is 1,000,000 years old (or more like 5) I personally would be surprised if the rennet is the issue. Other factors (such as temperature, acid levels, etc...) can effect the actions of rennet- assuming you followed the recipe (and assuming the recipe was legit), my hunch here is that either it was actually fine and was just doing the store bought milk thing, or it just needed to go a tad longer. Sometimes milk just acts funny.
I am not trying to make any assumptions here but I know when I first started out I used to worry about clean breaks a lot. At the time, store bought homogenized/pasteurized milk was all I could get. Since such milk sets a little soft, I had a really hard time in the beginning identifying clean breaks and determining the correct time to cut. Over time I got good at "reading" the curds and now it is like second nature. Over time I think you get a feel for these things.
I have notes that I can put together later of the make in better detail, as well as a picture of the pressed cheese (I didnt take any through the make sorry) if that helps.
That could help I am sure.
PS dont know that it will last aging very well as there are a few imperfections in the rind from careless handling but gotta start some where and so far I am happy with the make.
Hey, if you are happy with the make, its hard to argue with that! Congrats. Also sounds like you are examining what went right and what went wrong and asking the right questions. I look forward to the pictures