Author Topic: Reliable cheese from overdue and possibly sour milk, as a community project.  (Read 1458 times)

Offline Alison

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Hi

It's a crazy thing to ask, but I heard a talk this morning by a charity that has already started collecting overdue vegetables from stores and are bottling/canning the good bits to make a cheap source of food for their orphans, as well as training others to do the same. It got me wondering, what could be done with the overdue milk from the same stores.

I was thinking that what would be fantastic would be a cheese that needs minimal technology (read: no fancy press), minimal refrigeration (read no affinage room), and maybe even no electricity for a "normal" refrigerator (replace with a evaporative water chiller)
Maybe a Feta? or a Houlumi? or an Edam? I'm not keen on the cream cheese/ yogurts as they do not last as long.

Naturally the milk's first step is !pasterise! but after that dealing with the sourness may be the hardest part to get the cheese with a reliable/OK taste.

I'd love to hear your thoughts! Milk in SA is quite expensive compared to "cheap" cheese so if the milk's for free then actually its a worthwhile exercise in sustainability for vulnerable people.

thanks
alison

Offline Tiarella

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If I was raw milk that had soured I'd think there was something you could do but pasteurized milk that has gone bad is quite bad.  So would the milk be "gone by" or just past the "sell by" date and still drinkable? 

Offline linuxboy

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It will likely have excessive lipolysis (high ADV). Besides, the homogenization makes it unsuitable for most hard cheese. You could try making a blue with it. Feta might work.

Anything you make will have to be consumed quickly. It won't age out too well.
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Offline Sailor Con Queso

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Make yogurt.
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Offline Zoey

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Halloumi might be an easy way to go, since it is heated really hot in the making process anyway, so I wouldn't bother pasteurizing it in advance.

Some sources say that halloumi was made from old milk anyway (and therefore no starter is added), but I'm sure they don't mean as old as you are planning to use.

If the milk is pasteurized, I have always thought that it's quite easy to recognize the bad milk from the good: the bad milk has bits floating in it, or is even totally coagulated. Of course there can be nasties in it anyway, but since you would be heating/pasteurizing...

Anyway, I have to agree with linuxboy; it would have to be consumed quickly. Heating the milk probably kills most nasties that are present at the instant, but it could well leave spores that start reproducing again.

Offline Alpkäserei

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I would recommend something along the lines of a ricotta,

or a similar cheese we made in the Alps called Ziger. This is made by heating the whey left over from cheesemaking to 90 C, adding some lactic acid, then scooping out the solids. This is just drained, not pressed. We would then hang it up over the fire and smoke it. It is consumed fresh, doesn't last long. Heating to 90 C kills just about everything in it
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Offline Alison

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What great ideas! Thankyou.
If I was raw milk that had soured I'd think there was something you could do but pasteurized milk that has gone bad is quite bad.  So would the milk be "gone by" or just past the "sell by" date and still drinkable? 
It may be pretty difficult to get a "consistent product" as it were - because the shops are not going to be too careful about old dumped stock.
It will likely have excessive lipolysis (high ADV). Besides, the homogenization makes it unsuitable for most hard cheese. You could try making a blue with it. Feta might work.

Anything you make will have to be consumed quickly. It won't age out too well.
Why is it a poor ager, Linuxboy? If the fats are already lysed into "bitter" products, will they just become more obvious on ageing? Or is there a different process that I'm missing, eg more lysis by bacteria/extra oxygen during the ageing?  Would a cheese that "does not age" like a cheese spread that is bottled suffer the same problems? I ask, because another suggestion (from a good cheese merchant here) was a cheese spread, bottled and stored out of the fridge (Hang-on can I call this a cheese?? - it's DEAD).

What about something like a whole milk Geitost? The cooking may be prohibitively expensive.... and could you get away with high ADV with  that?

Thanks again to all the suggestions. I have a good idea where to start now (Feta/Halloumi ) and will be offering my "old milk transformation" services shortly .... will let you know how it turns out (in a couple of weeks).

Al

Offline linuxboy

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Quote
Why is it a poor ager, Linuxboy? If the fats are already lysed into "bitter" products, will they just become more obvious on ageing? Or is there a different process that I'm missing, eg more lysis by bacteria/extra oxygen during the ageing?
A hard cheese requires high quality raw components. Meaning proteins that are undamaged. Fats that are whole. Becuase when the enzymatic and non-enzymatic processes begin to take place during aging, the breakdown needs to be slow and balanced. If you "pre-cook" the milk, meaning if the breakdown is already significant, the enzyme mix in the cheese will really rapidly break it down. End result of this is poor flavor and texture. Bitterness is just one possible side effect.

Quote
Would a cheese that "does not age" like a cheese spread that is bottled suffer the same problems? I ask, because another suggestion (from a good cheese merchant here) was a cheese spread, bottled and stored out of the fridge (Hang-on can I call this a cheese?? - it's DEAD).
You mean making a process cheese? Or something like a neufchatel? Explain the product you have in mind, could be several. And yes, this is more possible. If you use additives, eg citrate/phosphate, you can do a lot with lower quality milk.

Quote
Would a cheese that "does not age" like a cheese spread that is bottled suffer the same problems? I ask, because another suggestion (from a good cheese merchant here) was a cheese spread, bottled and stored out of the fridge (Hang-on can I call this a cheese?? - it's DEAD).
That would be fine, as would evaporated milk. Depends on the milk quality still.
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Offline Alison

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I think I get it - I recall from my childhood cheap Cheddar's that had no texture, and were bitter, though I was (am) no connoisseur. 

You mean making a process cheese? Or something like a neufchatel? Explain the product you have in mind, could be several. And yes, this is more possible. If you use additives, eg citrate/phosphate, you can do a lot with lower quality milk.

I was thinking the dreadful bottled stuff, SA has "melrose" (http://www.melrose.co.za/why-mums-love-melrose/melrose-product-types.asp?TypeID=1). Are the citrate/phosphates the "emulsifiers" or do they prevent breakdown of the fat and proteins during high temperature processing, or is it the same thing?

The hope of being able to cope with variable (low) quality is attractive, I'll put "spread" the experiment list.

Thanks again
Al



Offline linuxboy

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Melrose is thickened with hydrocolloids and likely starch. Emulsifiers prevent separation, which isn't the same as preventing breakdown, but close enough practically.

Making a spread requires some flavor, eg aged cheddar cheese. If you have just milk to work with, makes it harder.
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Offline Spellogue

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I was thinking the dreadful bottled stuff, SA has "melrose" (http://www.melrose.co.za/why-mums-love-melrose/melrose-product-types.asp?TypeID=1).



Looks like the infamous 'Cheeze Whiz' we have here in The States.  A step down from Velveeta. :o.  I must admit though, it is an 'essential' ingredient in a number of family favorite recipes. (Hanky-Pankies anyone?)

In any regard, if it helps feed some people that would otherwise go without it would be a VERY good thing.
I can resist anything but temptation.      ~ Oscar Wilde

Offline Alison

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Hi all

Just a quick update on the community project:
 ??? It's great when one listens to a problem, gets an idea, does some research and contacts the person who has the problem and ..... He has disappeared! Gone.... ! So
a) sorry to you good people of the forum that the project is stalled in "brilliant ideas from the forum" stage
b) I'm struggling to source the throw away milk (not for the trials, but for "real"), so no sweet milk melrose knock off as yet.

However, there are also other milk byproducts I have access to: namely the 80 litres/week of whey from my own cheese making, and other communities that I know of that are needy (but don't have a sour milk source). This particular charity does home care for Aids sufferers in Attridgeville township near Pretoria. My proposal is a bottled "ricotta pate" with roasted garlic and tomato paste, and I will find out shortly if this is helpful (an acceptable flavour) for this community.

What I would request is critical feedback for the recipe (I'm trying to ensure that the I do not compromise immunity - ie this is a food safety critique), but other inputs are welcome! The recipe & technique is as follows

1-1.5 cups ricotta
2 large cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1/4 cup sunflower oil
1/4 cup tomato paste/ roasted tomatoes
1 tablespoon yellow bean paste/soy sauce
1 teaspoon citric acid
salt, pepper

Roast garlic in sunflower oil until brown and nutty flavoured.
Add rest of ingredients and blend (I use hand blender), check flavour/seasoning
Return to heat and allow mixture to come to boil,
Bottle in warmed jars with lids untightened
Place jar in boiling water for 20 minutes and seal.

Thanks
Alison

Offline Spellogue

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From a home canning standpoint I can say that higher acid foods do preserve best with the shorter processing times in a water bath.  The ingredients you've chosen would seem to me to have sufficient acid to preserve well without having to resort to pressure canning.  Fermented soy sauce might be lower ph than the bean paste and could be a good choice.  Is the ricotta made with just a heat process or an acid process?    The garlic shouldn't be a concern since you're cooking it first.  Raw garlic can purportedly cause problems (botulism) in home canning/pickling.  I've used raw garlic for years in preserved salsa and pickles without any problems. but my friend, a county extension agent, considers that practice unwise. 

From a taste preference standpoint I would rather bits of dried or fresh tomato to paste, but that's just me. 

The whey itself may present a good nutritional resource.  Perhaps for lacto-fermenting if surplus produce is available.  It is also great baked into breads and used in place or in addition to stock in soups and sauces. 

Perhaps you will find another 'sour' milk source.  I think it was a great idea.
I can resist anything but temptation.      ~ Oscar Wilde

Offline Alpkäserei

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In Swtzerland there is what we call 'Schabziger', which is a 'Ziger' type cheese (one made from the whey) but this one is special ecause of the additives. They add the sap of a certain plant to it to give it flavor, which also makes the cheese green. It is then used as a spread on bread, like butter.

The same idea can be used for other Ziger (or ricotta, they are the same) type cheeses. simply add juices, ground up pulp, or even solid to the whey before producing the Ziger. The process will cook the additives, preventing contamination issues, and also help to blend the flavor into the cheese itself. Might make it a smooth, colorful paste that is easy to spread.

In fact, talking about this makes me really want to try it for myself. Ah, if Indiana did not have these pasteurization laws...
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