Author Topic: Starter culture quantities  (Read 593 times)

Offline bgreen

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Starter culture quantities
« on: May 17, 2013, 07:57:01 PM »
Hi all

I am new to making cheese and finding there seems to be a lot of contradictory information.  I have seen several recipes that look the same for a particular cheese except the recommended quantity of starter culture.  Varying from a 1/8 of a teaspoon for 10 litres of milk up to 1/2 a teaspoon.  If the instructions on the culture say 1/8 per 10 litres and the recipe states 1/2 teaspoon what should amount should you use.  Will adding more culture change the flavor or have any other impact on the success of the cheese?

Confused... thanks for your advice
Cheers Bruce  New Zealand


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Offline linuxboy

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Re: Starter culture quantities
« Reply #1 on: May 17, 2013, 08:22:17 PM »
It depends on the cheese and on the concentration of live, viable cells in the powder. It ranges from 0.8% to 2.5% bulk culture equivalent (the equivalent number of bacteria in bulk starter like yogurt or buttermilk).
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Offline Alpkäserei

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Re: Starter culture quantities
« Reply #2 on: May 18, 2013, 01:08:44 PM »
To some degree, you do have some wiggle room. This also varies I think with the particular bacteria in question.
Precise amounts don't always matter. For one thing you don't know how viable your culture is at any given point and another thing is the way bacteriae multiply exponentially. So if you start with a smaller population, that population will, let's say, double in x amount of time. In the same amount of time, the new population will double again, and again, and again. Exponential growth curve until they reach certain environmental thresholds (limited by temperature, food source, chemical conditions, pH, competing bacteria, etc.)

If the growth rate was direct (that is, x population of bacteria will be produced every minute under these conditions) than culture amounts would be a lot more important.

So if we start with an amount of viable, active bacteria within a certain range (reflected by your 1/8 to 1/2 tsp measures) then the time factor will vary only slightly.

This, of course, has its limits as well. Obviously if we way undershoot the necessary amounts we can run into problems (especially secondary inoculations) and if we overshoot the amounts we run into another set of problems, especially runaway acidification. And then when it comes to mixing multiple cultures together to make a certain profile, we need to maintain ratios within certain limits or things won't work right.

The biggest advice is, don't sweat the apparent inconsistencies. But, this reminds us to be careful to observe the cheese and don't just trust that things will always happen within a certain amount of time.
Guät git's dr schwiizer Chäser

Offline bgreen

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Re: Starter culture quantities
« Reply #3 on: May 19, 2013, 04:53:49 PM »
To some degree, you do have some wiggle room. This also varies I think with the particular bacteria in question.
Precise amounts don't always matter. For one thing you don't know how viable your culture is at any given point and another thing is the way bacteriae multiply exponentially. So if you start with a smaller population, that population will, let's say, double in x amount of time. In the same amount of time, the new population will double again, and again, and again. Exponential growth curve until they reach certain environmental thresholds (limited by temperature, food source, chemical conditions, pH, competing bacteria, etc.)

If the growth rate was direct (that is, x population of bacteria will be produced every minute under these conditions) than culture amounts would be a lot more important.

So if we start with an amount of viable, active bacteria within a certain range (reflected by your 1/8 to 1/2 tsp measures) then the time factor will vary only slightly.

This, of course, has its limits as well. Obviously if we way undershoot the necessary amounts we can run into problems (especially secondary inoculations) and if we overshoot the amounts we run into another set of problems, especially runaway acidification. And then when it comes to mixing multiple cultures together to make a certain profile, we need to maintain ratios within certain limits or things won't work right.

The biggest advice is, don't sweat the apparent inconsistencies. But, this reminds us to be careful to observe the cheese and don't just trust that things will always happen within a certain amount of time.

So theres no simple yes or no... thanks very much for your very informative answers... much appreciated... regards Bruce