I keep looking at Mike's post about a 12 gallon Parmesan and I find a growing desire to do something large as well... My wife said "try it small first, you're a little crazy" and I said
"true. i am crazy. crazy cool." "good point, honey - but I got to try"
Not quite as big as Mike's as my equipment won't allow for more than 8 gallons. But here it goes:
8 gallons p/h milk (5 skim milk, 2 1%, and one whole milk)
Heated to 93 F.
added 2 tsp calcium chloride
Innoculated with 1.5 % bulk thermophilic culture
Added 1 3/4 tsp rennet
Floc time was 10 minutes (one disclaimer - I did this make simultaneously in two 4 gallon batches - see photo 1. Above measurements represent totals for the 8 gallon make; floc time for one was 11 minutes, the other was 10 minutes)
Floc multiplier: 2
Cut 1/2 inch and let rest 10 minutes.
Stirred with wire whisk down to pea size while increasing temp over the next 50 minutes.
(Target temp was 124 - I ended up at 126 and 128 in each batch)
Let settle for 5 minutes.
Placed all curds in 8 inch diameter mold and hand pressed under hot whey to achieve a good knit. Flipped and redressed and hand pressed under hot whey again.
Pressed (in the sturdy press) at 0.9 psi for 1 hr.
Flipped and pressed at 1.7 psi for 2 hrs
Flipped and pressed at 1.7 psi another 10 hrs.
Placed in 22% brine for 15 hrs (2.5 inch height x 5.5 lb cheese = 13 3/4 hrs - went a little longer)
Now air drying.
My calculations show this to be 7.9% yield (5.5 lbs).
I'm rather pleased with the knit (photo 2). Still unsure if I brined correctly. And I feel I got lucky that I didn't have a major mishap with one of the batches. Grateful that my 12 year old helped me as well
I'm also rather pleased with all the ricotta I made from the whey...(third photo)
Plan to for at least one year... Maybe longer. I welcome thoughts and critiques...