Author Topic: First feta... very slow set time!  (Read 412 times)

Offline JGA

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First feta... very slow set time!
« on: December 01, 2013, 07:18:50 AM »

I live in Thailand, but while I was in the States last month I purchased some supplies to make feta... Bioren rennet tablets, Lipase powder, and Danisco MT1 culture. Everything was stored in the fridge until I returned to Thailand last week.

All of the recipes that I've seen in print and in videos specify a set time of 1 hour to get a clean break (a couple specify upwards of 3 hours). I just made a batch of feta, but it took a full 5 hours to get a clean break. After the first hour, it had basically done nothing and still looked like liquid milk. After 3 hours, it was about the consistency of yogurt.

I don't know how good the milk quality is here compared to the States or Europe as far as cheese making goes. I made a two gallon batch and used 1/4 tsp of the culture, 1/4 tsp of lipase, 1/2 tsp of 30% calcium chloride solution, and half of a rennet tablet (which should be good for 2.5 gallons). It didn't take much time to bring the milk to 86 degrees since the room temperature here is almost that high during the day. Once I got it up to temperature, it pretty much stayed constant for hours without adding any additional heat.

The cheese is currently hanging in the cheesecloth, but I wanted to know why it's taking 5 hours to set? What variables are the most important to set time? Should I try a different brand of milk?

-Jeff


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Offline Pete S

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Re: First feta... very slow set time!
« Reply #1 on: December 01, 2013, 09:04:24 AM »
  How long did you leave the culture ripen in the milk before you added the rennet. Low acidity  when you add rennet can slow down the set of the curd.  Pete
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Offline JGA

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Re: First feta... very slow set time!
« Reply #2 on: December 01, 2013, 10:45:05 AM »
I waited one hour between adding the culture and adding the rennet (which seems to be the standard of every recipe). After one hour, I first added the calcium chloride and stirred it for a minute. Then I added the rennet and stirred for another minute. Some recipes add the CaCl2 at the beginning and some add it with the rennet... not sure if it matters either way. It smells and tastes like feta (I sampled a small amount with some added salt), so I assume the culture actually did something.

-Jeff

Offline Spoons

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Re: First feta... very slow set time!
« Reply #3 on: December 01, 2013, 11:46:58 AM »
Hi JGA,

Welcome to the forum. The problem might have been your milk. Make sure it's not UHT pasteurized, or one of those milk brands that have extended shelf life. Also, make sure your milk is as fresh as possible.

Hope this helps
- Eric

Offline JGA

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Re: First feta... very slow set time!
« Reply #4 on: December 01, 2013, 06:46:07 PM »

I just found out from another posting in this forum that the milk that I used (Chokchai brand) doesn't work well for cheesemaking. It's one of the more expensive and well known brands here, but they probably pasteurize it at too high a temperature. It's possible that all store-bought milk here is not going to work. They probably all pasteurize at high temps to protect against the hot weather here.

-Jeff


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Offline JGA

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Re: First feta... very slow set time!
« Reply #5 on: December 02, 2013, 03:00:52 AM »

I purchased some of the "Umm! Milk" brand milk here in Bangkok today. They advertise that it's only pasteurized to 75 degrees C and has a one week shelf life. I just tried setting it with some rennet. Only took an hour like it's supposed to. It's the same price as regular store-bought milk.

Problem solved!!

-Jeff

Offline Spoons

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Re: First feta... very slow set time!
« Reply #6 on: December 02, 2013, 08:01:57 AM »
Glad you found a milk source. Happy cheese making  ;D
- Eric