Author Topic: I finally cracked open my first cheese!  (Read 1284 times)

Offline meyerandray

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Re: I finally cracked open my first cheese!
« Reply #15 on: April 09, 2013, 10:45:10 AM »
I had trouble getting it to coagulate (although in hindsight I might not be a good reader of flocculation time) and added more rennet after 18 minutes.
Adding extra rennet might not be a great idea. Sometimes it does take a while to gel. Patience. ;)

-Boofer-

Hey Boofer, I kind of knew that as I was doing it, but was using the flocculation method for the first time, and my time seemed SO off.  I probably should have been more patient.  I have since upped my dose of rennet (I now use 3/4 tsp for 8 liters (about 2 gal) milk, but I find that I still struggle to make my goal coagulation times.  For eg. my last make, was a camembert, goal coagulation was 30-35 min.  It was my first make with a pHmeter and my pH was what it should be, my temp was exact according to the recipe and I still found that I had a good 45 min to clean break.  I was originally using the flocculation method, spinning that little mini tupperware on top of the milk, and found that it didn't flocculate until 20 minutes.  I had a flocculation multiplier of 6, so that would mean 2 hrs to cut, which is WAY over the goal cut time.  So I abandoned the floc. method and looked for a clean break.  Am I just judging flocculation wrong or is something else off?  Sorry to get off subject...


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Offline JeffHamm

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Re: I finally cracked open my first cheese!
« Reply #16 on: April 09, 2013, 02:09:30 PM »
Hi,

Just remember, when using the floc method, you are taking into account the fact that you may have over/under rennetted as well as taking into account differences between how your rennet/milk combo works compared to how the author's rennet/milk combo worked.  Ignore "clean break", just cut when the floc calc says.  Adjust your rennet until you get floc in 10-15 minutes.  The amount depends upon the strength of your rennet, so just because a recipe says x you may need much more or much less, depending upon the strength of the rennet the author used.  Unfortunately, they often omit this information.

- Jeff
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Offline Boofer

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Re: I finally cracked open my first cheese!
« Reply #17 on: April 09, 2013, 06:34:46 PM »
Also, is that what a Camembert calls for...6X?  I've never made a Cam so I don't know, but it seems high. My Rebs go 4X or 5X.

And it would be 2 hours minus 20 minutes (100min) before cutting. ;)

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Offline JeffHamm

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Re: I finally cracked open my first cheese!
« Reply #18 on: April 09, 2013, 09:08:41 PM »
Also, if you're getting a floc time of 30-35 minutes with 3/4 tsp (about 3.75 mls), then double your dose, go for 1.5 tsp, which is around 7.5 mls.  That would be about what I use with one the grocery store rennets that I've bought (renco, which has a IMCU strength of 65, is much weaker than the cheese making calf rennet that I also have, which is 280 IMCU, which is weaker again to the microbial rennet, which is 750 IMCU.  I only need about 0.6 ml of the latter to set 10 liters, but around 6.5 to 7.0 ml of the former).  It sounds to me like you have rennet closer to the 65 IMCU strength.

- Jeff
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Offline meyerandray

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Re: I finally cracked open my first cheese!
« Reply #19 on: April 10, 2013, 03:02:42 AM »
I will look on my bottle to see if any strength in indicated on the bottle, but I used liquid calf rennet that I got from a cheesmaker's supplier. On the bottle it Says 8-15 ml for 100 liters- I'll double check that I'm not saying horribly incorrect things when I get home.
Jeff- I just discovered that Caerphilly was a cheese made for Welsh coal miners to bring in the caves with them, I thought that was an interesting tidbit, although you probably already knew that.
The 6x camembert flock multiplier came from G.caldwell's "mastering artisan cheesemaking" but her recipes are by genre, so it isn't specifically a camembert, I guess I don't really know what I should expect from this make!
Ciao, Celine


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Offline meyerandray

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Re: I finally cracked open my first cheese!
« Reply #20 on: April 10, 2013, 07:38:45 AM »
I double checked on the bottle, and it says to use 8-11 cc (or ml) of rennet for 100 liters of "healthy" milk at 35 degrees.  It does say to vary quantities in different pH and temp ranges.  I imagine by "healthy" milk they refer to milk without a starter, so less acidic, and so far I have never added rennet at 35 degrees, but I am using about 4.5 ml for 8 liters, which seems like A LOT more than the dose they recommend.  There is a barcode type thing, and it looks like the IMCU is 130.  They write that it is made from "calf skins" (in my best translation, the term they use is "pellette di vitello".  I guess I should use a much higher dose then!
Since you are being so helpful, I am going to make (try to) crottin de chavignol (chèvre) on Saturday.  The recipe I am using calls for 4-8 drops of liquid rennet, seeing that my rennet is so weak, what would you advise me to do?  Double that?  Or more?  The recipe is for circa 4 liters (1gallon) of goat's milk.

Offline george (MaryJ)

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Re: I finally cracked open my first cheese!
« Reply #21 on: April 10, 2013, 08:01:14 AM »
Also, is that what a Camembert calls for...6X?  I've never made a Cam so I don't know, but it seems high. My Rebs go 4X or 5X.
As an aside, I use 6X for cams, always have.  Picked that up here on the forum back in December 2009 or so.  So 3+ years later, maybe I should drop that down, might solve my annoying rind problems.  Deeeerrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr .....
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Offline meyerandray

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Re: I finally cracked open my first cheese!
« Reply #22 on: April 10, 2013, 08:25:37 AM »
Quote
As an aside, I use 6X for cams, always have.  Picked that up here on the forum back in December 2009 or so.  So 3+ years later, maybe I should drop that down, might solve my annoying rind problems.  Deeeerrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr .....
uh-oh, really?  What kind of rind problems?  I guess for this make it is too late, with all of your experience if you have any tips to help me contain the damage?  Mine are on day 4 (day 3 in the cave). 

Offline Boofer

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Re: I finally cracked open my first cheese!
« Reply #23 on: April 10, 2013, 08:34:18 AM »
Quote
As an aside, I use 6X for cams, always have.  Picked that up here on the forum back in December 2009 or so.  So 3+ years later, maybe I should drop that down, might solve my annoying rind problems.  Deeeerrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr .....
uh-oh, really?  What kind of rind problems?  I guess for this make it is too late, with all of your experience if you have any tips to help me contain the damage?  Mine are on day 4 (day 3 in the cave).
Yeah, what special rind problems?

I would think with a 6X, the paste would run for the hills. :o

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Offline JeffHamm

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Re: I finally cracked open my first cheese!
« Reply #24 on: April 10, 2013, 02:18:39 PM »
Weird, by my calculations, 130 IMCU strength rennet should only require around 2.77 ml to floc 8 litres of milk in the 10-15 minute range.  Hmmm, are you diluting your rennet in water?  YOu should be.  If you are, though, do this just before adding it to the milk.  If you are organised, and prepare this an hour in advance when you're setting up, it will weaken the rennet (especially if the water still has chlorine in it -ie. tap water).  Otherwise, it could be it is old and losing strength (do you keep it in the fridge?).

Those are my first thoughts at least.

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Offline meyerandray

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Re: I finally cracked open my first cheese!
« Reply #25 on: April 10, 2013, 03:25:54 PM »
Yes, I keep the rennet in the fridge, and it is in a dark yellow/orange plastic bottle, so not exposed to light. I always mix it with 1/4 cup water (my 4.5 ml of rennet that is).  I have a pHmeter that just arrived, I have made one make using it, it was my camembert attempt (which may present serious rind issues and a paste that will run for the hills ;) ) and the milk ph was 6.6 before ripening, and 6.55 when I added the rennet, at 34 degrees celsius. 
Maybe I don't stir well enough?
The manufacturing date on my rennet is January 2013 and they write to consume within 3 years, so it shouldn't be too old. I don't get what could be going wrong!

Offline JeffHamm

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Re: I finally cracked open my first cheese!
« Reply #26 on: April 10, 2013, 03:42:12 PM »
Hmmm, rennet sounds fine.  I usually just mix mine in an egg cup of water (pre-boiled, and left to cool) and put the rennet in the water just before adding the mix to the milk (add rennet to water, stir, dump into milk). 

Assuming your water is free from chlorine, etc, then it seems to me that the rennet isn't the problem.  Your PhD meter also sounds like your culture and progression is good.  So, that only leaves your milk itself.  It may be that it is heated quite high during pasturisation, not enough to be UHT (which won't really form a curd) but higher than optimal perhaps?  Is your curd weak after you cut it?  Does it shatter when you stir it?  These are signs of milk pasturised at a temperature that is too high for good cheesemaking.  The more expensive milks, and organic milks, etc, are often pasturised at higher temperatures to extend the shelf life.  I usually use a fairly cheap milk here and it works fine, although the best store bought milk in New Zealand for cheesemaking that I've found is the Farm Gate Silver top, which is non-homogenized and forms a really nice solid curd.  It's around 4% fat as well. 

Anyway, for floc calculations, you judge it like this: add the rennet and then float your bowl.  I tap the bowl a few times to get that visual of what it's like when free flowing.  After 5 or 6 minutes, tap gently again (it is really more of a quick touch).  Do this every minute or two.  At some point, you will notice that the bowl is not as freely floating, you get the impression that the fluid it is in is thicker.  Eventually, it won't move, it will just lurch forward then spring back to place, like a cartoon with its feet stuck in glue.  That is the floc point.   The bowl isn't stuck down in the curd, it's just no longer in a fluid, so sure, if you tap hard it will move, but you're forming a curd not cement. 

If you're doing that (gentle touches, not shoving the bowl), then it seems to me you might want to try other brands of milk and see if things improve. 

As for the semi-lactic crotins, just use the few drops.  It takes 24 hours for the curds to form, and the rennet should just help it along. 

- Jeff

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Offline meyerandray

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Re: I finally cracked open my first cheese!
« Reply #27 on: April 10, 2013, 04:12:59 PM »
I use farm fresh raw milk from farms about 5 minutes from my house. We have raw milk distributors (like vending machines, you put in a euro and it pours you a liter) here, and all three of these farms have a distributor. I get the milk directly from them because I buy 10 liters at a time, but it is still very strictly regulated raw milk. They have to cool it very quickly once milked, and maintain 4 degrees. The milk quality should be excellent.
As far as the floc method goes, I was spinning my bowl, and waiting for it to not spin freely anymore, but maybe I am judging "freely" wrong.
My curd looks pretty good to me, and doesn't seem to fall apart or shatter when I stir.
We don't have chlorine in our water, and it is filtered. I guess it wouldn't hurt to try adding drops of milk to the water just in case. Do you think I should use calcium chloride?
Thanks so much for all your help, I really really appreciate it! -celine

Offline JeffHamm

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Re: I finally cracked open my first cheese!
« Reply #28 on: April 10, 2013, 06:35:31 PM »
Ok, if the milk is raw you should be fine.  I don't think you need to add calcium (that's to help store bought milk).

I've tried spinning, but I find that I have a tendency to spin too vigorously and the bowl can spin on top of the gel, but tapping/pushing the bowl requires it to move through the gel, which only works if it's fluid.  On your next make, try your usual amount of rennet (as that sounds about right, though it may be a bit high) but tap the bowl rather than spin it.  See if that changes your floc point.  And it really is just a gentle nudge.  In milk, the bowl will just move even with the lightest tap, once it flocs, you have to "try" to make it move.

- Jeff
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Offline george (MaryJ)

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Re: I finally cracked open my first cheese!
« Reply #29 on: April 11, 2013, 05:31:50 AM »
uh-oh, really?  What kind of rind problems?  I guess for this make it is too late, with all of your experience if you have any tips to help me contain the damage?  Mine are on day 4 (day 3 in the cave).
Nothing terribly major - I usually end up with rinds that are a little too thick and chewy for my tastes (patting or no patting), or ammoniated.  Not a big deal, I just cut the rinds off, but it would be nice to be able to eat one once in a while. The paste is always perfect.

Weird, though, that for the first year they all came out fine, then never again quite that way.  Same techniques, same recipe, I guess I'm just special.   :o
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