I'm not certain if this is the right place for my question, or if this issue has been addressed elsewhere (I've looked).
I often (always) get curds that will not compress or form a smooth and cohesive lump like the pictures I have seen on this board. My wheels are very cracked, in fact the last one I made had the individual little pieces of curd stay separate and never did form a solid wheel, it was very dry too.
To use a flying expression it is rather like the curd are just flying in formation, they are not a block and DEFINITELY not smooth. I have heard the expression "paste" used on this board, if it refers to the stage of the curds as they are put into the press, then I never achieve a "paste" cheese.
I think my problem is with the rennet/cutting/holding-warm stage as I frequently get distracted and leave things in the warm bath too long, both before and after cutting. Would that be the cause do you think? - too long? - too hot? - not hot enough? (I do follow the recipes with regard to temps though). I can't measure ph. at this stage.
Any advice please?