Author Topic: Basic Cheese Science: Citric Acid vs. Cultures  (Read 407 times)

Offline Tom Turophile / CheeseStud

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Basic Cheese Science: Citric Acid vs. Cultures
« on: January 08, 2014, 11:16:41 AM »
In my troubleshooting my mozzarella failures (http://cheeseforum.org/forum/index.php/topic,12290.0.html), I had a basic science question that dawned on me, that I can't find the answer to.  And trust me, I've been looking and reading and searching...

My curds weren't getting acidic enough.

Does citric acid convert lactose to lactic acid?  Or does it just add acid and therefore drop the pH?  Therefore, after cutting the curds and raining the whey, there would not be additional acidity?

Conversely, I imagine that using a culture (in this case, thermo, as others have done), would be more active and create more acid -- until it is stopped (salting, for example).
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Offline linuxboy

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Re: Basic Cheese Science: Citric Acid vs. Cultures
« Reply #1 on: January 08, 2014, 11:43:16 AM »
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Does citric acid convert lactose to lactic acid?
No, that requires fermentation by microorganisms. The lactic acid is a byproduct of living.
Quote
Or does it just add acid and therefore drop the pH?
Yes.
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Therefore, after cutting the curds and raining the whey, there would not be additional acidity?
We have to be careful here. There are usually lactic acid producing bacteria in all milk, even pasteurized. So it will most likely produce a tiny bit of acidity over time. Also, consider the existing acid. It doesn't just stop breaking down protein when you drain the whey. It will keep acting on the proteins. Again, albeit slowly.
Quote
would be more active and create more acid -- until it is stopped (salting, for example).
Yes, though salting doesn't really stop acid production. Slows it down, but doesn't stop. True to a degree. 5% salt will stop acid production.
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Offline Tom Turophile / CheeseStud

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Re: Basic Cheese Science: Citric Acid vs. Cultures
« Reply #2 on: January 08, 2014, 01:29:23 PM »
I knew you would answer ;)  Then I was, at least, directionally correct; there are no 100% guarantees in cheesemaking.

So, then, I should add more citric acid to the milk to lower the pH by .3 more than I had...and therefore hitting 5.2 when draining (as opposed to the 5.5 I keep getting).  Worth trying (although if I make another mozzarella that I want more certainty with, it'll be with a culture).

Thanks.
CheeseStud(.com coming soon)
4 store-bought cow's milk mozzarellas, 1 rather rubbery raw cow milk mozz, cow's feta that melted, 0 ricotta