Author Topic: "Hi there!" from Seattle  (Read 1858 times)

Offline Micah

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"Hi there!" from Seattle
« on: March 13, 2009, 04:48:05 PM »
I am new, very new, to cheese making.

Today I ventured to make my first cheese (a "farmhouse" cheddar).  I can, without hesitation, state that the endeavor was not short of disastrous.  I thought I had picked up some liquid rennet yesterday along with other supplies but I must have neglected to carry it up to the register.  I had some junket rennet tablets that came with my press and decided to go ahead with the process and use it.  After 45 minutes there was no coagulation.  I called the dairy from which the milk came to verify that it was not ultra pasteurized; they assured me that it wasn't.  So I left my, perhaps, over ripened milk and headed off to the LHBS to buy some liquid rennet.  It seems to have done the trick.  The curds are now hanging and I shall press them shorty.  Though I must add that the temperature rise when I cooked the curds was a bit more rapid than the 2 minutes per 5 minutes desired.

I have no expectation of an eatable cheese after this debacle.  However, as a beer home brewer I know that sometimes from most bungled batch can result surprisingly good results.

Please encourage me.

I shall be better prepared next time and have started a list of items that will, I hope, make my next experience more smooth.
« Last Edit: March 14, 2009, 07:39:57 AM by micah »


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Offline John (CH)

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Re: "Hi there!" from Seattle
« Reply #1 on: March 13, 2009, 05:26:56 PM »
Howdy micah in Seattle!

Congrats on diving in to making cheese! Tough luck on the rennet tablets, if you Search this forum you will find several with similar problems. One trick, ensure great dilution of the rennet.

Disastrous? Sounds like amazingly for a first try, only one problem . . . so onward and upward . . . it's a great but frankly very complicated hobby.

PS: There is a Geographic > USA > Washington board in case you wanted to post where you found your rennet . . .

Offline linuxboy

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Re: "Hi there!" from Seattle
« Reply #2 on: March 13, 2009, 06:07:23 PM »
If the curds come together after cheddaring, milling, and salting, you should be ok. The big thing with temperature is to not exceed the target range for the culture, or you'll kill it. With mesophilic culture (like with cheddar), you don't want to go above 110F or so. If you brought it up to temp too quickly, it speeds up your enzyme actions, so you might need to adjust total cooking time for the curds.

But honestly, there are so many more factors to take into account, like amount of initial culture, milk pH, pH levels through inoculation, renneting, cooking, etc, ionic concentrations of dissolved salts, and so on, that you should still be able to get an edible cheese after aging even if you make some mistakes. And if you don't want to age the cheese, can always use it in place of panir in a curry :)
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Offline MrsKK

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Re: "Hi there!" from Seattle
« Reply #3 on: March 14, 2009, 09:43:41 AM »
Welcome to the forum and to the cheesemaking life!

I'm rather short on liquid rennet and will only be milking for a couple more weeks, so have been reluctant to buy more.  I've been making my cheese lately using Fankhauser's methods (http://biology.clc.uc.edu/Fankhauser/Cheese/Cheese.html) and have found that Junket rennet does fine, if you first allow the milk enough time to acidify.  The first time I tried it, I warmed my milk to about 90 degrees before adding my culture, wrapped it in a towel to keep it warm over night.  It had already coagulated by the next morning and made some awesome (and LOTS) cream-cheese type product.

Now, the method I use is to warm the milk to about 68 degrees, add my culture, and allow to sit overnight.  I then warm to 90-96 degrees (depending upon the recipe) and then add well-diluted Junket rennet to the milk.  Two tablets in a half cup of cool water, allowed to sit for 10-15 minutes, sets up five gallons of milk quite well.  It does sometimes take an hour or so, but I just coordinate it to set while I am doing chores/milking or some other task so that I'm not watching it.  Like water and boiling, you know?

Anyway, don't lose faith.  Some cheeses turn out, others don't, but it's always an adventure.  Who wants predictable anyway!  You may very well be pleasantly surpised by what you think may be a disaster.

Offline Tea

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Re: "Hi there!" from Seattle
« Reply #4 on: March 14, 2009, 03:21:12 PM »
Welcome Micah to the forum and congrats on making your first cheese.  Hope there are plenty more from where that came.


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Offline Ronnie

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Re: "Hi there!" from Seattle
« Reply #5 on: March 14, 2009, 03:57:24 PM »
Hey Micah... Welcome to the forum.

Congrats on the cheese.  Don't give up on it yet.  You learn from your mistakes.  You wont know how it will turn out till you age it a bit.  You might be surprised.

I haven't ventured to a cheddar yet as I haven't built my confidence up yet but I am progressing slowly.  The more I learn about cheese-making the more interested I become.  It will certainly be a challenge to say the very least.

Welcome again...

Offline Micah

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Re: "Hi there!" from Seattle
« Reply #6 on: March 15, 2009, 10:41:15 AM »
Thanks everybody.  My pressing went well and the cheese is now drying; I'll wax it tomorrow most likely.  I'll report back in a couple of months as to how my first hard cheese turned out.

I'm already looking into ways to make my experience easier.  The stock pot method is a little awkward when it comes to cutting the curds so I'm going to look for a rectangular SS warming pan...

Offline linuxboy

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Re: "Hi there!" from Seattle
« Reply #7 on: March 15, 2009, 09:55:42 PM »
Emerald supply by the baseball field or cash and carry have the stainless trays. I remember seeing them in cash and carry for around $40. Those hold 2-6 gallons, depending on the size you get.
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Offline Micah

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Re: "Hi there!" from Seattle
« Reply #8 on: March 16, 2009, 03:28:49 PM »
Quote
Emerald supply by the baseball field or cash and carry have the stainless trays. I remember seeing them in cash and carry for around $40. Those hold 2-6 gallons, depending on the size you get.

Thanks.  I'll check them out.  I've already got a large plastic tub and a 1500 watt (I believe) hot water heater element I plan on mounting in the tub in order to fabricate a water bath cooker.

Does anybody use a rig like this?

Offline Cartierusm

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Re: "Hi there!" from Seattle
« Reply #9 on: March 17, 2009, 02:23:21 AM »
Oh yes a lot of us started out there. Check out some of the older posts in the equipement section.
Life is like a box of chocolates sometimes too much rennet makes you kill people.


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Offline Wayne Harris

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Re: "Hi there!" from Seattle
« Reply #10 on: March 17, 2009, 07:40:16 AM »
This is the rig I use:

Like Carter mentioned, there is more on this in the equipment section here:
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Offline Cartierusm

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Re: "Hi there!" from Seattle
« Reply #11 on: March 17, 2009, 11:48:13 AM »
Wayne takes a lot of pride in making his cheese happy notice the MP3 Player in the bottom of the frame. His cheddars love Bach, but his Parm like Rap...go figure.
Life is like a box of chocolates sometimes too much rennet makes you kill people.

Offline Wayne Harris

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Re: "Hi there!" from Seattle
« Reply #12 on: March 17, 2009, 11:49:45 AM »
Ahhh,  its so nice to have Carter back.
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Offline DeejayDebi

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Re: "Hi there!" from Seattle
« Reply #13 on: March 22, 2009, 10:47:30 AM »
Hello Micah -

I have used Junket exclusively in all of my cheeses. I never know when the erge will hit and they don't sell liquid locally. Junket is made locally so it's in all the stores here. It has never failed me!

That being said - if you are using a recipe from a book and it says 30 minutes don't worry about it it's a ballpark under laboratory type conditions when it done it's done! Only the cheese should sweat!