Author Topic: Strange looking Curds  (Read 533 times)

Offline kcg

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Strange looking Curds
« on: June 05, 2013, 11:05:09 AM »
I've been making cheese with raw goat and cow milk for almost 6 months now with good success, but over the last month, the curds have started looking different - they set much quicker, feel firmer, and have this netted, bubbly appearance. They aren't quite floating, but they definitely don't look right and I'm not sure why. It appears to be some sort of contamination because it's happening with both the goat and cow milk, which come from different sources (both are raw). The curds don't smell too different - maybe a little stronger - and they seem to be draining and ripening as normal, just a little firmer. Also, the yield seems to be almost half of what I would expect for the amount of milk I'm using.

Any ideas what's causing this apparent contamination and what I might be able to do about it? It seemed to coincide with me starting to make sourdough bread again, and I'm wondering if that has anything to do with it. If so, how can I effectively nurture my two hobbies side by side??

Thanks for any advice!


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Offline linuxboy

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Re: Strange looking Curds
« Reply #1 on: June 05, 2013, 12:42:06 PM »
Quote
nurture my two hobbies side by side??
Sanitize thoroughly and change the air flows so that you have some kind of positive pressure or filtered air to prevent contamination. If you're clean enough, you can do both in the same area.
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Offline kcg

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Re: Strange looking Curds
« Reply #2 on: July 11, 2013, 12:37:38 PM »
So, After some experimenting I still am having the same problem. I bleached the whole area, stopped making bread for last month and switched to an Aroma B Starter thinking that my starter was maybe contaminated. With that batch, I had normal looking curds with clean breaks, which was great. Later batches, though, are now again turning out like the photo above. I am going so far as to bleach all the counters in the kitchen and sanitizing all my utensils, then making the milk and wrapping the pot in plastic and putting it in a closed tub to isolate it from all the outside air. It's really frustrating because the cheese seems to lose a lot of it's yield (much more whey) and it ripens a little differently. Any other thoughts out there about how I could fix this problem? Or any ideas what exactly the root of this issue is?
Thanks a bunch for any more information anyone can lend

Offline linuxboy

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Re: Strange looking Curds
« Reply #3 on: July 11, 2013, 12:46:51 PM »
If it is not being contaminated during the make, then it's somewhere upstream. Meaning from the point of milking to when the milk is in the vat. How is your milking practice and sanitation? Can you do a quick clabber test to check for milk quality (put milk in test tubes or small glass containers and let coagulate to check the curd quality)
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Offline kcg

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Re: Strange looking Curds
« Reply #4 on: July 11, 2013, 01:19:46 PM »
thanks, I'll try that. The reason I ruled out contamination from milking is because this is happening with raw goat and cow milk - from two different sources. The owners of the goat say they haven't experienced their curds looking like mine, either. Could this be a calcium issue? I haven't used calcium chloride because I heard it wasn't always necessary in raw milk. It looks more like contamination, but it just occurred to me maybe it could be a calcium deficiency?


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Offline linuxboy

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Re: Strange looking Curds
« Reply #5 on: July 11, 2013, 01:30:07 PM »
Take a pic of the clabber and I'll be able to tell better. At some angles, the surface of the pic you posted looks like it might just be simple overacidification. I need a curd cross-section (side shot or cut piece).

Not a calcium issue, no.
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Offline MrsKK

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Re: Strange looking Curds
« Reply #6 on: July 12, 2013, 10:17:33 AM »
Wild yeast is just in the air and there isn't much you can do about it.  It may be that the weather conditions have more of it in the air right now than when you weren't having the problem.

Offline kcg

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Re: Strange looking Curds
« Reply #7 on: July 13, 2013, 11:57:35 AM »
Just to confirm - the clabber test is just letting the milk sit out without any additions (no starter, or rennet) and letting it curdle? It just becomes acidic enough to curdle, right? Thanks for the help with this!

Offline linuxboy

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Re: Strange looking Curds
« Reply #8 on: July 13, 2013, 01:04:24 PM »
Yes, leave small sample in clear gass vial (stoppered/closed) between 72F and 92F and check curd appearance after ~24 hrs.
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