Author Topic: Newbie - equip/ingredient list and plans. What am I forgetting?  (Read 581 times)

Offline AJ Peacock

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Newbie - equip/ingredient list and plans. What am I forgetting?
« on: October 22, 2013, 11:22:12 AM »
I finally took the leap and ordered the missing parts etc. so I can start down this road (slippery slope?).

I've been making Yogurt for some time and use a DIY PID (based on an auber PID) and 1 gallon slow cooker. 
I know that yogurt is 'simple' in comparison, but I can actually taste the difference in my yogurt when I vary the temperature by only 3 degrees!

My plan for cheese is to use the same PID and an 18 quart electric NESCO Turkey Roaster (Teflon coated pan).
I've done some water tests with the roaster and the PID maintains temps well with 4 gallons of water.

I have a Dorm room size Refrigerator that will be used with an external controller as the cheese cave.

My ultimate plans are to make blue cheese, but want to get some experience under my belt first with some less demanding makes.

Equipment list:
2 x small Tomme moulds
1 x large Tomme mould
Stainless measuring spoon set
Stainless flat ladle (with holes)
Colander
60 thread count Muslin (for lining moulds)
18qt roaster/PID for use as vat
mini - fridge w/ controller for cheese storage

Ingredients:
Mesophillic  culture
Flora Danica culture
Thermophillic culture
Calcium Chloride
powdered calf rennet
Lipase (mild)
Citric Acid
non-iodized salt

Cheese plans are as follows:
  1) 4 gallon batch of Mozzarella (then Ricotta from the whey).  I make pizza dough from my yogurt whey and can't wait to use my own Mozz!
  2) 4 gallon batch of Caerphilly  (pressed into 2 small tomme rounds).

For pressing, I have a bunch of free weights (finally found a use for those damn things!  ;) )

I'm pretty particular/process oriented, and am really looking forward to this adventure. 

Thanks for any input you all have,
AJ


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Offline Digitalsmgital

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Re: Newbie - equip/ingredient list and plans. What am I forgetting?
« Reply #1 on: October 22, 2013, 12:43:02 PM »
You come from a yogurt background like me, but are much more detail-oriented than I am. I wanted to do pressed cheeses so I made a crude frame to keep the weights pressing evenly. Then I read here that you should press in whey, so I adapted my press a little. I don't have any moulds (except home made) and my cave is a Playmate cooler with ice bottles.  :(

I think you have the bases pretty well covered!
Regards, Dave

Online JeffHamm

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Re: Newbie - equip/ingredient list and plans. What am I forgetting?
« Reply #2 on: October 22, 2013, 02:55:31 PM »
Hi,

That all looks good.  I would suggest the following:

1) go with food grade high heat plastic spatula for stirring.  I find the stainless ones are more likely to cut the curds on you.
2) get two plastic buckets, one red one blue.  Fill the blue one with water, the red one with water + a capful of bleach (or whatever you're using as your sterilising agent - iodine, etc).  Before anything goes in the milk, it goes "blue bucket for rinse" then "red bucket for cleaning" then milk.  This simple two bucket approach will help prevent contamination.
3) If you're going to use liquid rennet at some point (and I would recommend it because, well, it's what I use! :) ), then get some small syringes (from the chemist / pharmacy).  Get one that is for 1 ml, with 0.1 gradations and one that does larger amounts, like 5 mls. 
4) make sure you have a decent long bladed knife or something you can use to cut the curds.  It needs to reach the bottom of the vat.
5) thermometer, but I assume you have temperature control already as you imply in your yogurt comments
6) a pH meter would be very worth while.  I don't have one, but a lot of the people here use them and it gives them more consistent results.
7) a drying rack system of some sort.  Most cheeses need to sit at room temp for 4 or 5 days to air dry before going in the cave.  You need something to sit the cheese on that won't leave it sitting in it's own moisture.
8) a small plastic bowl, like you would use to store an infants food in.  Use this when determining the point of floculation (look up the floc method and floc mutlipliers).
9) a note book or file on your computer, to take very detailed notes and observations; digital camera to take photos that you can post here.  This is most important!  Partly because we like to see other people's cheese, but also because if you have a question, being able to show people what your cheese looks like, and describe what you actually did (not what you think you remember you did), is the best way to get good feedback.

But, most importantly, have fun.  Also, be aware that Mozz is not really the easiest cheese to make so don't get discouraged if it doesn't stretch well.  I think if you use lower fat milk (2%) that might make it stretch better, but I'm not sure.  I've had limited success making mozz with pasturized and homogenized milk.

- Jeff


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Offline AJ Peacock

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Re: Newbie - equip/ingredient list and plans. What am I forgetting?
« Reply #3 on: October 22, 2013, 03:37:19 PM »
Thanks all,

Jeff,

I have a couple very good thermometers and I'll be using the PID which has it's own readout, so I'm good on that.
Great info on plastic spatula, noted!

Logging and pictures are no problem.

Regarding Red/Blue method, do you rinse in water (Blue) first, then sterilize (Red) then into milk? ( I believe that's how you wrote it).
Wouldn't that introduce some sterilizing agent into milk?

Small bowl is easy enough.  I read up on Floc method and multipliers and even have a bowl all picked out! ;)

I want to try Mozz first because we eat homemade pizza once/week and we can get some quick gratification if it works out.  If it doesn't work out, I'm only down 4 gallons of milk.

I've had better luck with yogurt using lower % milk as well, actually best is 1/2% !  Maybe I'll use the same 1/2% milk and just add a little cream?

I was actually contemplating using that same milk and adding cream for the Caerphilly, so might be a good test.

I do have access to Raw milk, but it's far from convenient (long drive, friend of friend etc).  So don't want to play that card unless required.

I have some bamboo draining mats and some stainless cake cooling trays, so got those covered.

Thanks for the comments/questions,
AJ



Offline Digitalsmgital

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Re: Newbie - equip/ingredient list and plans. What am I forgetting?
« Reply #4 on: October 22, 2013, 04:19:25 PM »

Regarding Red/Blue method, do you rinse in water (Blue) first, then sterilize (Red) then into milk? ( I believe that's how you wrote it).
Wouldn't that introduce some sterilizing agent into milk?


I was thinking the same thing..I have only been sterilizing before use...1 TBSP bleach per gallon non-chlorinated water to clean after a make, then drop into boiling water before the next make.   ???
Regards, Dave


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Online JeffHamm

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Re: Newbie - equip/ingredient list and plans. What am I forgetting?
« Reply #5 on: October 22, 2013, 06:05:28 PM »
Hi,

Yes, it is blue bucket then red.  If you're concerned about getting some sterilizer into the milk, just give the item a bit of a shake, and you're fine.  Really, the amount of chlorinated water/iodine that sticks to your thermometer, bowl, stirring stick, curd cutter, etc, is minimal and doesn't affect the make.  I've been doing this for a few years now (it was how I was taught to do it) and have never had a problem.  Contamination from setting the item down on the counter is more likely to introduce something that grows if it gets in.

Bamboo mats can be a problem in the long haul.  They get mouldy and there's not much you can do to get rid of it.  Works for a while though, so no big deal.  You can buy special purpose draining mats (that look like needle point plastic mats, but the horizontal and vertical grid are on different levels to assist draining) or use needle point mats with very wide holes (if you get a small hole one, the whey just sticks in the holes and doesn't drain properly - but you can sit there with an exacto knife and cut out bits to make bigger holes - a pain but doable if you've got nothing else better to do).  Alternatively, just cut strips from a plastic mat and lay them across your cake rack to create a grid.  I use plastic chop sticks myself and they seem to work well.  Other people recommend a rough spruce board.  Lots of options.

Anyway, sounds like you've got it all sorted actually.  Good luck with it!

- Jeff

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Re: Newbie - equip/ingredient list and plans. What am I forgetting?
« Reply #6 on: October 23, 2013, 08:46:10 AM »
I want to try Mozz first because we eat homemade pizza once/week and we can get some quick gratification if it works out.  If it doesn't work out, I'm only down 4 gallons of milk.
I might suggest that you do a trial run of mozz with 1-2 gallons to check your process/technique. As you become more confident that what you're doing is effective, then you can upscale your makes.

Do you have a source of creamline milk (pasteurized, but not homogenized) available nearby? That would be preferable.

I found some old rusty barbell weights when I started. I derusted and repainted them and they work very well.

Great guidance as always, Jeff.

-Boofer-
Let's ferment something!
Bread, beer, wine, cheese...it's all good.

Offline AJ Peacock

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Re: Newbie - equip/ingredient list and plans. What am I forgetting?
« Reply #7 on: October 25, 2013, 05:27:14 PM »
Thanks for the input everyone.

Haven't found a source for CreamLine milk yet.

I'll take the 'smaller' batch idea into consideration, but it's a bit against my nature.  I've always been one of those 'go big or go home' kinda guys.

(I went home a lot!  ;) )

AJ

Offline dthelmers

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Re: Newbie - equip/ingredient list and plans. What am I forgetting?
« Reply #8 on: October 29, 2013, 09:19:56 AM »
AJ Peacock, here are plans for a Dutch press I built for $13. Ugly but effective with a 5:1 mechanical advantage. I think four gallon batch size is good because it doesn't change as fast as a 2 gallon batch. My cheese making got better when I switched up to four gallon batches.
Dave in CT

Offline AJ Peacock

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Re: Newbie - equip/ingredient list and plans. What am I forgetting?
« Reply #9 on: October 30, 2013, 10:17:04 AM »
AJ Peacock, here are plans for a Dutch press I built for $13. Ugly but effective with a 5:1 mechanical advantage. I think four gallon batch size is good because it doesn't change as fast as a 2 gallon batch. My cheese making got better when I switched up to four gallon batches.

Thanks for the plans.  I had actually looked at that a couple weeks ago.  I decided to order the sturdy press, as it isn't that expensive and If I need to, I can always sell it and  recoup some of my costs.

Regarding the 4 gallon batch comment, thanks.  I tried a 4 gallon batch of Mozz this weekend with mixed results. (the ricotta came out great ! ;-) ).  I have some pics and intend to write up my experience when I get some time.

Thanks again,
AJ


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