Author Topic: Help with my Feta, Curd problems  (Read 186 times)

Offline RouxBdoo

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Help with my Feta, Curd problems
« on: August 13, 2014, 12:39:31 AM »
OK guys, I am a newbie and some batches have been good but it takes too long to drain.  I am inconsistent with my Feta, here is the recipe I tried last time.  I had been making one gallon batches but still had curd problems.  I have to let it hang longer or the curd mass splits and crumbles.  Please check my amounts/levels of rennet, lipase, culture, ca-cl, etc.  The cheese tastes good but I have to drain it for a day and a half and then last time it still fell apart. 

1 3/4 gallons cow's milk (all my stainless steel pot will hold)
1/2 tsp lipase in 1/4 cup water
1/4 tsp ca cl in 1/4 cup water (Ball brand Pickle Crisp)
Bring up to 86°
1/4 cup buttermilk (I used buttermilk with the culture since I was afraid the packet wouldn't be enough for over one gallon of milk)
1 dose packet mesophilic culture (New Engand Cheesemaker DS C101)
Wait 1 hour
1/4 tsp plus 5 drops rennet in 1/4 cup water (New Engand Cheesemaker, liquid, animal)
Wait 1 hour
Cut curd
wait 5 mins
stir lightly for 20 mins
etc.

The curd is weak, am I using enough rennet, some recipes seem to go from one extreme to another.  I just want a consistent recipe.  I have bought a better thermometer, this new one is digital, might've had temp problems.  Also using Walmart milk, not supposed to be ultra pasteurized.  Am changing milk to local milk brand assures me it isn't UP.  I also use flour sack cloths to drain.  Too heavy?  I've heard them recommended.

I know this is lengthy but I am trying to get all info in there.  Thanks in advance.  I really want to have a consistent, tasty cheese before I venture into it any more.  I marvel at the knowledge on this board.

RouxBDoo
He who shall, so shall he who.
http://rouxbdoo.blogspot.com


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Offline JeffHamm

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Re: Help with my Feta, Curd problems
« Reply #1 on: August 13, 2014, 03:06:50 AM »
Hi RouxBDoo,

Welcome to the board.  Trying different milk is probably the right thing to do.  Weak curds are usually a result of poor milk.  However, you mentioned how different recipes call for different amounts of rennet.  The thing is, rennet comes in a wide range of strengths, and for some reason recipes often leave out the strength information.  For example, I have 3 different rennets, for an 11 litre make I use 0.6 ml of the strongest one of them, 1.6 ml of the medium, and around 6.5 ml of the weakest!  So, just over a factor of 10 between the extremes.  The thing to do is to first start with the amount recommended on your package of rennet.  When you add your rennett to the milk start a timer and float a small yogurt container (cleaned and sanitised) in the milk.  If you tap it it will sail around freely.  Every minute or so, give it a nudge and observe what it is doing.  It will eventually start to move less, as the milk thickens and starts to set.  Start tapping every 30 seconds, or so, until you find the point where a nudge won't move the container anymore; it snaps back into place like a cartoon character with their feet in glue.  That is the flocculation point.  You want that to happen between 10 and 15 minutes after you added your rennet.  If it takes more than 15 minutes, use a bit more rennet next time, if it sets up faster than 10 minutes, use a bit less.  Each make adjust until you get the floc point in the 10-15 minute range.  (note, you may find that different cheeses will require slightly different amounts of rennet since the temperature and acidity of the milk all influence how the rennet works). 

So, let's say you've got it to 12 minutes.  Now, you will see in some makes that people say "I used a 3x multiplier", which just means, take your 12 minutes to reach floc, multiply by 3 for 36 minutes, and cut the curds 36 minutes after adding the rennet (note, you've used up 12 of those 36 minutes already just getting to the floc point).  What this is doing is adjusting the procedure based upon how the milk is responding to the current cultures and rennet - so  you will get more consistent outcomes by doing this rather than just following a set time that most recipes list.

Hope that is clear?

- Jeff
The wise do not always start out on the right path, but they do know when to change course.

Offline OzzieCheese

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Re: Help with my Feta, Curd problems
« Reply #2 on: August 15, 2014, 01:00:02 AM »
Hi RouxBdoo,  Welcome also to the forum, hope you get to stay.  Check the make notes below.  Please feel free to ask any questions.  On Rennet strength, the IMCU rating, should be on the bottle. (Internation Milk Coagulation Units).
http://cheeseforum.org/forum/index.php/topic,12962.0.html

CheeseOn
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Offline RouxBdoo

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Re: Help with my Feta, Curd problems
« Reply #3 on: August 22, 2014, 06:26:37 PM »
Well, I changed milk sources, added more rennet it curded great and didn't require extra hanging time.  We'll see how it tastes.  I watched the Hoegger Farm lady and she used quite a bit more rennet. 

I made a one gallon batch using 2% milk (for my wife who's on a low fat diet), and it was textbook perfect.  Thanks for the suggestions.  I did the flocculation test and it set in just a few mins.

RouxBDoo
He who shall, so shall he who.
http://rouxbdoo.blogspot.com

Online Gobae

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Re: Help with my Feta, Curd problems
« Reply #4 on: Yesterday at 07:59:06 AM »
The thing to do is to first start with the amount recommended on your package of rennet.  When you add your rennett to the milk start a timer and float a small yogurt container (cleaned and sanitised) in the milk.  If you tap it it will sail around freely.  Every minute or so, give it a nudge and observe what it is doing.  It will eventually start to move less, as the milk thickens and starts to set.  Start tapping every 30 seconds, or so, until you find the point where a nudge won't move the container anymore; it snaps back into place like a cartoon character with their feet in glue.  That is the flocculation point.  You want that to happen between 10 and 15 minutes after you added your rennet.  If it takes more than 15 minutes, use a bit more rennet next time, if it sets up faster than 10 minutes, use a bit less.  Each make adjust until you get the floc point in the 10-15 minute range.  (note, you may find that different cheeses will require slightly different amounts of rennet since the temperature and acidity of the milk all influence how the rennet works). 

So, let's say you've got it to 12 minutes.  Now, you will see in some makes that people say "I used a 3x multiplier", which just means, take your 12 minutes to reach floc, multiply by 3 for 36 minutes, and cut the curds 36 minutes after adding the rennet (note, you've used up 12 of those 36 minutes already just getting to the floc point).  What this is doing is adjusting the procedure based upon how the milk is responding to the current cultures and rennet - so  you will get more consistent outcomes by doing this rather than just following a set time that most recipes list.

Hope that is clear?

That has got to be one of the best descriptions of flocculation I've ever seen! I'm going to start doing this!


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