Author Topic: 12-gallon Parmesan plan  (Read 2173 times)

Offline Mike Richards

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12-gallon Parmesan plan
« on: August 26, 2013, 10:08:14 PM »
I hope to do a 12-gallon Parmesan make this coming weekend.  I've never done a 12-gallon make, never made a parmesan (never used a thermophilic culture, for that matter...), and never used my 10 inch Gouda mold before.  As you can see, there's a lot of room for messing up here.  I'd like to present my plan for comments/critique/inputs.

12 gallons p/h skim milk
2 quarts heavy cream
2 cups thermophilic "bulk culture" (made the night before)
3 tsp CaCl
1 1/2 tsp rennet
1/2 tsp lipase

- Heat milk to 92 F
- Add culture + lipase, let sit for 5 minutes
- Add CaCl, then rennet
- Floc multiplier of 2
- Cut slowly to bean sized curds
- rest 10 minutes
- stir and heat to 124 F over 60 minutes
- let settle
- drain and hoop at pH 6.4
- press, light to heavy until pH 5.4
- brine

So, my questions/concerns:
- I've never used lipase before, is 1/2 a tsp a good place to start?  It's labeled, "mild".
- My milk has been starting at fairly low pHs, like 6.5 +/- 0.05.  How much lower than 6.4 can I drain before I start having texture or flavor issues? (I know that's a somewhat subjective question...just looking for other people's thoughts)
- What do you think of dry salting this?  I'm not sure what I could brine this in (my bathtub?  :o) that wouldn't require me making a lot more brine than I want to.
- Other thoughts?

Thanks!

Mike
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Offline tnbquilt

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Re: 12-gallon Parmesan plan
« Reply #1 on: August 27, 2013, 07:47:36 PM »
Brining in the tub might be somewhat of a hazard, although my husband has put his engine in the tub before. Do you know the old red neck job about moving the transmission out of the tub so you can take a bath? Ours was the engine, and then it remained in the bedroom for a year or so.

I was also wondering about adding lipase, I have never done that. What flavor does it bring? I hear it enhances the flavor. I'd like a better description.

I bought a parmesan and an asiago tonight and I am going to try them later this week and decide which one I want to make first. I'm sure that I will make both eventually.

I am sticking to 4 gallon batches, as that seems to have maxed out all of my equipment. I'm good with 4 gallons, over that I need a new pot and a new mold and possible alterations to my cheese press
Tammy

Offline Mike Richards

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Re: 12-gallon Parmesan plan
« Reply #2 on: August 27, 2013, 08:52:36 PM »
That's a great story about the engine in the tub.  I'm pretty sure my wife would fire me if I tried that.

I don't know what flavor lipase brings, either.  I just know that it is "recommended"...by some people.
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Offline Smurfmacaw

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Re: 12-gallon Parmesan plan
« Reply #3 on: August 27, 2013, 10:26:33 PM »
Not sure I'd try using the bathtub.  That would be a LOT of salt to make a saturated brine deep enough to be effective.  I'd just use a 5 gallon bucket from home depot (two or three bucks).  You'd probably only have to make three gallons of brine that way and save a lot of salt.

Offline Mike Richards

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Re: 12-gallon Parmesan plan
« Reply #4 on: August 27, 2013, 10:59:44 PM »
If I do have to do brine, I'll do a bucket like you've said (I use one when I drain my vat).  I'm a little concerned with the clearance around the edges of the cheese.  I haven't looked really closely at it yet, though.
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Offline gsager18

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Re: 12-gallon Parmesan plan
« Reply #5 on: August 28, 2013, 01:07:57 AM »
It'll definitely fit in whatever pot you use to heat the milk in the first place, right? Although depending on the material of the pot and how long you're brining for it might not be great for it.

Offline Tiarella

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Re: 12-gallon Parmesan plan
« Reply #6 on: August 28, 2013, 05:44:52 AM »
 I'm wicked impressed at your 12 gallon make plans!  Wow!   About Lipase, most threads about it say WAY less is better.  I followed recommendations to halve the amount and when I handle my 12 month aged Parm. (it's now in wedges) for grating my hands smell of that sharp lipase smell and it's hard to get rid of.  it's great as a cheese though and a major thrill to make our own pesto with home grown basil, garlic, and parm!  I'll never grow our own olive oil but once my hazelnuts and walnuts are producing more it'll be our own nuts too.


Offline Tiarella

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Re: 12-gallon Parmesan plan
« Reply #7 on: August 28, 2013, 05:49:37 AM »
Oops!  Forgot to add my idea for brining.  If a local deli will sell you a large cheese wooden round "box" you could drape a piece of food grade plastic in there to make it water tight and brine in that.  Come to think of it, you could do that with any appropriately sized box.  I don't know the guidelines about how much brine you need but logic tells me you can't just create enough to surround the cheese in a container not much bigger than the cheese.  There must be enough salt available for that sized cheese to absorb.  maybe a question about that should be posted on the "Problems/Questions" board?

Offline Boofer

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Re: 12-gallon Parmesan plan
« Reply #8 on: August 28, 2013, 09:00:33 AM »
Assuming my Devil's Advocate pose...

I have yet to make a parm, though I hope to make a massive one in a week.
Just a thought, Mike...have you thought about making a smaller version Parmesan first? Maybe 4-6 gallons?

Not to rain on your parade, but it seems like a smaller "practice" Parm would make the procedure clearer for you at the outset. The logistics for this 12-gallon make seem a little overwhelming to me. Perhaps after you've gone through the process successfully with a smaller version, then you'd be better prepared to upscale the process. ???

Thinking too about the aging time for a 12-gallon cheese versus one that is one third or one half that size.... :P

-Boofer-
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Offline Mike Richards

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Re: 12-gallon Parmesan plan
« Reply #9 on: August 28, 2013, 09:54:01 PM »
gsager--it will certainly fit in there, but I think I'd need about 6 gallons of brine for that to work.

Tia--thanks for all the thoughts.  I think I'm planning on using about half of the lipase that one of the recipes recommended.  I've got stuff that I could put the brine it, but your ideas seem like good ones.  I really just don't want to make up that much brine, but I probably ought to.  If this works (and probably even if it doesn't), I'm going to make other big cheeses that will need to be brined, too.  There is certainly a relationship between the amount of salt available and the amount taken up.  I've thought a few times about how much diffusion and mass transport there is in cheese making.  Someday I'll have to get some text books that describe those things so I can do my own calculations ('cause I'm a nerd like that...).

Boofer--of course you're right, and we all know it.  Luckily, I'm too excited about a big cheese and too foolhardy to listen to reason or good sense.  I have lots of good justifications for why I should just go for it--none of them are actually sufficiently good reasons, but because there are so many of them, I can lay aside the common sense that dictates I do what you've suggested.

I don't know that I've ever seen anything that discusses the relationship between size and aging.  Do larger cheeses need to age longer?

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Offline JeffHamm

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Re: 12-gallon Parmesan plan
« Reply #10 on: August 29, 2013, 01:57:32 AM »
Hi Mike,

After making your saturated brine for your huge parm, you could then take some of the brine and work out how much salt you can add to resaturate your brine.  That will tell you how much was absorbed.  If you then kept track of this information for a variety of sizes of parms, you could see if there was a relationship between size of the cheese (as measured by total mass and/or surface area) and salt uptake.  If you did this for a variety of cheeses, you could see if that relationship was similar for cheese types, or if each type had it's own characteristic function.

This, of course, would mean you would have to make lots of different cheese types, in all sorts of sizes.  But, for some reason, I get the feeling that isn't a downside for you! :)

You can also keep the brine after you use it for your parm and use it for other cheeses, so it doesn't have to be thrown out.  Just boil it again, add salt back in - assuming you have somewhere you could store a large bucket of brine, of course.

- Jeff
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Offline jwalker

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Re: 12-gallon Parmesan plan
« Reply #11 on: August 29, 2013, 09:24:00 AM »
I would be a little leery of making a cheese that big , if anything were to go wrong , well , it would be a BIG letdown , not to mention the cost.

However , on the other hand , if it turns out good , how impressive it will be !

And really , there's no reason it shouldn't turn out well , bigger wheels are made everyday.

Dohhhhh.............I don't know , just go for it and good luck. ;D

Looking forward to seeing the end product.
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Offline Mike Richards

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Re: 12-gallon Parmesan plan
« Reply #12 on: August 31, 2013, 05:48:32 PM »
Well, it's mostly done.  It deviated significantly from my pH targets--in large part, I believe, because of the milk.  I keep saying I need to get a new source, but Sam's club milk is just so cheap.  When I added the culture, the milk pH was already at 6.48.  I didn't get to drain until 6.05.  I'm a little concerned this will be all crumbly when it's done because of the low draining pH.  We'll see...in about a year.

Here's the curd right after draining.
curds pushed to side of pot by strainer
I haven't yet weighed the cheese, so I don't know what the yield was, though it seems lower than I expected.  It's pressing right now.  I was very impressed with how well it knit together while I was draining it.  I pressed it under whey for the first 15 minutes, then increased the pressure and flipped a number of times until it is now under about 7.5 psi.  Judging from how it looked after the last flip (5.6 psi), this should be as high as I need to go.
cheese pressing
I decided on brining in a 5 gallon bucket.  I'm concerned about the small amount of clearance between the edge of the bucket and the cheese, though.  I'm hoping that, since it is a relatively flat cheese, the large surface area on the bottom will allow for sufficient salt uptake.

Other than the pH's being so far off, this was a relatively fun and easy make.  My current set up has barely enough power to do this size make.  I think I could do a larger cheese if I augment with some heating help from the stove, but there's not a whole lot more room in the vat (another 4 gallons, perhaps).
« Last Edit: August 31, 2013, 07:57:11 PM by Mike Richards »
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Offline JeffHamm

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Re: 12-gallon Parmesan plan
« Reply #13 on: August 31, 2013, 06:31:05 PM »
Nice!  Keep us posted and show a photo when it's out of the press and brine. 

- Jeff
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Offline Mike Richards

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Re: 12-gallon Parmesan plan
« Reply #14 on: August 31, 2013, 09:29:34 PM »
Jeff--was it you that posted a formula for calculating brine time based on dimensions?  I need to decide how long to brine this thing for...
If only I could make cheese as well as I grow a mustache...