Author Topic: Newbie Cheesemaker! Help!  (Read 254 times)

Offline MeMyselfandI

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Newbie Cheesemaker! Help!
« on: December 18, 2012, 09:03:06 PM »
Good evening! I have a couple of issues I have run into and would cheerfully take help on either or both. First, when I started out making cheese, I started with Labneh (yogurt cheese). I made 5-6 batches that came out great. However, I suddenly can't seem to make a single one come out properly. The first two batches, the yogurt simply wouldn't become yogurt! The next two set up fine, but when I tried to put it through the draining/aging section, the first one simply stayed liquid-y and the second one looked and smelled fine but tasted horrible. So I cannot figure out why all of a sudden nothing seems to be going right. Secondly, I am trying a hard cheese and I followed the instructions and it seems to have come out okay so far. So now I am trying to wax it and the wax cracks instantly. I have tried doing several thin layers (as the wax suggests) and have tried turning it a number of ways, but nothing seems to help. I think I have more wax at this point than cheese!
Thanks for any help you can give!


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Offline Schnecken Slayer

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Re: Newbie Cheesemaker! Help!
« Reply #1 on: December 18, 2012, 09:20:37 PM »
Are you making your own yoghurt and then making labneh out of that?
-Bill
One day I will add something here...

Offline MeMyselfandI

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Re: Newbie Cheesemaker! Help!
« Reply #2 on: December 18, 2012, 09:22:29 PM »
Yes I am. Near as I can figure I'm using a pretty standard yogurt recipe except that I cheat and use the freeze-dried starter rather than yogurt

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Re: Newbie Cheesemaker! Help!
« Reply #3 on: December 18, 2012, 09:22:58 PM »
Good evening! I have a couple of issues I have run into and would cheerfully take help on either or both. First, when I started out making cheese, I started with Labneh (yogurt cheese). I made 5-6 batches that came out great. However, I suddenly can't seem to make a single one come out properly. The first two batches, the yogurt simply wouldn't become yogurt! The next two set up fine, but when I tried to put it through the draining/aging section, the first one simply stayed liquid-y and the second one looked and smelled fine but tasted horrible. So I cannot figure out why all of a sudden nothing seems to be going right. Secondly, I am trying a hard cheese and I followed the instructions and it seems to have come out okay so far. So now I am trying to wax it and the wax cracks instantly. I have tried doing several thin layers (as the wax suggests) and have tried turning it a number of ways, but nothing seems to help. I think I have more wax at this point than cheese!
Thanks for any help you can give!

Hi MeMyselfandI,
Welcome! How are you making these cheeses/yogurts? You mentioned following some instructions.
My knee-jerk hunchs:
- Yogurt: Either it was too cold (IE keep the temps around 110F for about 6-7 hours), you did not heat the milk to 185F and then cool back down to 110F before innoculating (this will lead to a very soft yogurt), you used a lower fat milk without adding a thickening agent or dry milk powder to compensate, or perhaps a bad starter culture (did you start with store bought yogurt? Same brand as before? Make sure you have one with live active cultures and it is pretty fresh). You mentioned one tasted horrible- what did it taste like?
- Hard cheese Wax: Is this cheese wax? (IE not paraffin wax?)
// bad cheese exception handling
try { Cheese myCheese = new Gouda(); } catch (NastyCheeseException e) { throw new CultureContaminationException(); }

Offline mightyMouse.tar.gz

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Re: Newbie Cheesemaker! Help!
« Reply #4 on: December 18, 2012, 09:24:55 PM »
Oh, and from the successes to the not-so-successes did anything change? Different milk brand? (I see now you used starter culture powder), did you keep the culture air tight, free of moisture and in the freezer?
// bad cheese exception handling
try { Cheese myCheese = new Gouda(); } catch (NastyCheeseException e) { throw new CultureContaminationException(); }


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Offline MeMyselfandI

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Re: Newbie Cheesemaker! Help!
« Reply #5 on: December 18, 2012, 09:37:08 PM »
I think I have done everything exactly the same. Obviously there is something I did differently, I just can't figure out what it is. Especially after the first couple that went bad, I was very careful to keep an eye on how I was going through the process, so I really can't figure out what changed. I think the milk was the same, but I'm not sure to be honest? As far as the various heatings and coolings, I did indeed do all that according to the directions on the starter box, except that the starter stated it needed to be kept in the fridge not the freezer. I did leave it in the air tight packaging it came in though. Not sure how to describe the taste of the one that looked okay, only that it was unbelievably bad. It certainly tasted nothing like any yogurt or indeed any milk product should ever taste  ;D thanks for the help!

Offline MeMyselfandI

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Re: Newbie Cheesemaker! Help!
« Reply #6 on: December 19, 2012, 10:24:25 AM »
Just as a follow-up question: Is it possible I got a bad batch of starter?

Offline mightyMouse.tar.gz

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Re: Newbie Cheesemaker! Help!
« Reply #7 on: December 19, 2012, 08:10:37 PM »
Just as a follow-up question: Is it possible I got a bad batch of starter?

Its possible, depends on how old it is and how it was stored before you got it. Hard to say.

I would suggest posting some more details regarding your makes- its kind of hard to reliably diagnose what went wrong with a make without more details. I know you said that you followed the instructions, I have no reason to doubt that, but we don't know what instructions you followed.

What would help is if you told us all of the ingredients used (including milk type, whether or not it was pasturized, etc..., culture used, etc...), the steps you took, etc...
// bad cheese exception handling
try { Cheese myCheese = new Gouda(); } catch (NastyCheeseException e) { throw new CultureContaminationException(); }