Author Topic: Help needed with alpkäse  (Read 674 times)

Offline Reino

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Help needed with alpkäse
« on: February 20, 2013, 09:00:23 AM »
As Boofer suggested, I'm starting a new topic.

Here's the problem:

I've been trying to make alpkäse with many failures along the way. No matter what I do, I have excellent swelling and holes appearing from left and right!  Even without any PS. Have been reading the threads from alpkäserei and doing everything as he has adviced.

I'm using raw milk and since everything else has been taken care of, I'm suspecting there is some natural bacteria present in the milk. Which by itself is not bad, it doesn't give any bad taste or smell to cheese, just annoying when you're trying hard to achieve as few holes as possible.

------------------

Boofers' suggestions:

I would say that you could make sure that you aren't giving the cheese a Warm Phase and make sure that the salt level is adequate. PS does not work its eyes/holes magic if too much salt is around. Sounds like your milk has naturally-occurring Propionic shermanii.

-------------------

Thanks Boofer,

I've been trying to follow Alpkäserei's instructions. There is no mention of warm phase and I do move cheese directly to cave after brining. At first everything looks normal and until week 5 there is no or small signs of swelling. From there on it goes wild and starts swelling! :) ( I should be happy if target was emmenthal). Brining is done in oversaturated brine (about a gallon or so of brine and 4 kg cheese) for 20-24 hours. After that daily washing with brine (wine+water+salt) and turning until rind develops. Temperature of the cave is steadily 10-13 degrees Celsius and RH 80-90%.

I do disinfect all the utensils before starting and mother culture should be OK as well. Pressing of the cheese is done according to Alpkäserei (8 to 1).

Any suggestions?

P.S. boofer, I didn't know there was such a thing like naturally-occuring PS. For some type of cheese it would be a blessing, but for others it's quite a nuisance.
« Last Edit: February 20, 2013, 09:06:45 AM by Reino »


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Offline Alpkäserei

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Re: Help needed with alpkäse
« Reply #1 on: February 20, 2013, 09:22:16 PM »
do your cheeses have a prorprionic flavor? this is the characteristic "swiss" bite.

i will need more detailed notes on your make to figure out what is wrong. i would guess that the culture is slighltly under developped. perhaps give a little more time to incubate before rennet is added, or give more time at the brewing stage between cutting and warming the curds
what i suspect is that the desired cultures arent developped enough to oust gas producing wild bacteria, or that acidification is not quite high enough to supress ps.
Guät git's dr schwiizer Chäser

Offline Boofer

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Re: Help needed with alpkäse
« Reply #2 on: February 21, 2013, 12:34:58 AM »
I just happened to think of something else.... You're not baking bread in or around when you're making cheese, are you? If so, it might not be PS, but yeast causing the swelling. :o  That wouldn't be good.

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Offline Vickie

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Re: Help needed with alpkäse
« Reply #3 on: February 21, 2013, 03:39:03 AM »
Just thinking out loud here, I have no experience of milk production, but could this be contributing?

Peter Dixon's site mentions something about diet and silage causing 'late blowing' of cheese.

"The inclusion of fermented feed in the diet  increases the risk of late blowing of the cheese due to the higher risk of clostridium bacteria being present in the milk.  Production counters this with the addition of an extract of egg-white which has anti-bacterial properties. "

The CHR Hansen brochure on Emmenthal (and on Grana) mentions using an extract of egg white

Lysozyme
Lysozyme is an enzyme extracted from egg white. This enzyme is classified as a food additive according to EU/89/107 as E1105.
Lysozyme prevents the swelling of the Emmenthal cheese type by inhibiting the growth of clostridium tyrobutyricum. The enzyme acts on the cell walls of the vegetative form of the bacteria.

Offline Reino

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Re: Help needed with alpkäse
« Reply #4 on: February 21, 2013, 02:22:33 PM »
Thanks everyone!

What an amazing place it is with ever more amazing contributors!


Alpkäserei, Boofer and Vickie, thank you all  for your reply. 

I'll try to answer to your questions.

First Alpkäserei.

Not really sure what propionic flavour exactly is, but I would say it is to some extent reminding me the dirty feet smell you've been talking here often about.

About culture I've been using frozen mother culture and also room temperature mother culture. Usually i let it incubate some half an hour, not more before adding rennet. Guess I should try to have longer period for incubation? Brewing stage has always been what you have described in your posts - 10+10+30+40min.

Do you have any suggestion for PH targets? So far I have not been using PH meter for alpkäse makes. I have been using it for mozzarella and Stilton blue.


Now Boofer.

Yeast was the first thing I suspected as well. As I am using my kitchen for cheese making I cannot 100% say it is not yeast, but I have been trying to air the kitchen after baking. For some time we haven't baked anything, so I would rule that out. Yeast contamination also results to quite a bad flavour and smell which I have encountered before with some smaller batches and now I'm trying to disinfect everything with proper care. I would assume yeast contamination to show up way before 5 weeks? Wouldn't you agree?


And last but not the least, Vickie.

That's an interesting point you're bringing up. I have never heard about it before and when come to thinking, the farmer from whom I acquire my milk does feed with silage during wintertime. And some of the cheeses I've made from summer milk have not swelled up. So I could dig into this a bit deeper.

Must check the milk analyses results from my farmer, because they are selling most of their milk to large dairy producers.

Thanks again! Keep you updated with the outcome.


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Offline linuxboy

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Re: Help needed with alpkäse
« Reply #5 on: February 21, 2013, 02:29:28 PM »
Quote
Not really sure what propionic flavour exactly is
It tastes like emmentaler or rindless swiss cheese. Has that characteristic bite of swiss.
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Offline Alpkäserei

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Re: Help needed with alpkäse
« Reply #6 on: February 21, 2013, 04:26:38 PM »
your procedures sound spot on, as far as i can tell
do you say the dirty feet flavor is in the cheese
if this is the case, and you have a late blowing cheese, i suspect milk problems
i will add this, silage is forbidden when feeding cows for the production of berner alpkäse. the diet is in fact very strictly controlled.
see if the summer milk works (alpkäse is never made in the winter)

if this fails, there is an experiment you can try.
when you amake a cheese, first sterilize the milk. you do this by heating it to 165 or higher . this will kill off any contaminating bacteria
if this works and you no longer have blown out cheeses, you know that the milk is the problem
alpkäse requires the highest quality milk.
Guät git's dr schwiizer Chäser

Offline Reino

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Re: Help needed with alpkäse
« Reply #7 on: February 21, 2013, 04:49:17 PM »
Thanks Alpkäserei,

Sterilizing the milk would have been my last resort as well. But it would take pretty damn long to sterilize around 40-50 liters of milk in your home kitchen! :)

About the dirty feet smell - I must've expressed myself incorrect. Dirty feet smell is in the room where I keep the cheese, not inside the cheese, because it is not cut open yet (the last one which I am talking about, where I tried to follow your instructions as strictly as possible). The other ones I've cut open smell more like emmenthal I would say. Not BAD smell or flavour if you know what I mean.

But here's how the latest "emmenthal" looks like (20 cm diameter, originally 12cm high)!  >:D

« Last Edit: February 21, 2013, 05:13:10 PM by Reino »

Offline JeffHamm

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Re: Help needed with alpkäse
« Reply #8 on: February 21, 2013, 06:08:53 PM »
Hmmm, the dirty feet smell could be from b.linens, which could develop from the wash.  Rather than trying to heat pasturise 40-50 litres, Perhaps try making a small 11-15 litre batch, which you should be able to heat up well enough (then rapidly cool in a sink full of ice) to sterilize it and see if that make also presents the same late blowing. 

I'm sure you'll sort it out though.

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Offline Alpkäserei

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Re: Help needed with alpkäse
« Reply #9 on: February 21, 2013, 06:48:20 PM »
Yes, dirty feet on the outside is b. linens.

Dirty feet flavor is something that might be used in referring to the flavors that can develop as a result of too much alfalfa in the cow's diet, or the eating of excessive amounts of silage (both of which disrupt bacteria balances which create 'off flavors' in the milk, which are magnified in the finished cheese) But this flavor is not detectable to everyone either (usually, only those with dairy experience will notice it, even in the aged cheese).

But yes, I was referring to small batch experiments. Always experiment with small batches, it is easier to control.


I sterilize milk whenever I have the need to (producing cultures, or making yogurt) by placing it in a warm (250-275 degree F) oven. In the case of yogurt, I leave it in there for an hour or so to break down proteins but we dont need to worry about that for cheese. Leaving it there for 10 minutes or so should suffice even for fairly large quantities. This ensures an even, gentle heat that doesn't require constant attention. The milk won't scald or burn.


An Alpkäse should have a taste closer to Italian hard cheeses, especially parmesan (which is made from a recipe stolen from the Swiss Alps a very long time ago. That's my story and I'm sticking to it) It should not have a flavor immediately reminiscent of teh familiar Swiss cheese. The flavor is best described as 'spicy' and 'nutty'
Go to the store, buy a piece of Parmiggiano Reggiano and eat it. That is along the lines of the flavor we want (though not as good). Now compare this flavor to an Emmentaler and note the difference. The difference is the taste of Proprianic Acid. This is the flavor we want to avoid in our cheeses.

If this is not the flavor you are finding, then it is not PS that is producing your gas.
Guät git's dr schwiizer Chäser


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Offline Reino

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Re: Help needed with alpkäse
« Reply #10 on: February 22, 2013, 11:01:02 AM »
Thanks for great contribution!

After heating the milk to 165, should I add calcium chloride?

Offline bbracken677

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Re: Help needed with alpkäse
« Reply #11 on: February 22, 2013, 11:05:19 AM »
I wouldnt think so, using raw milk.

Offline Boofer

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Re: Help needed with alpkäse
« Reply #12 on: February 22, 2013, 11:48:31 AM »
Wow, Reino, that's a swell cheese! ;)

Can't wait to see the insides...after it has been allowed to properly age, of course.

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