Author Topic: Extremely bitter caerphilly  (Read 518 times)

Offline dimitrishuk

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Extremely bitter caerphilly
« on: May 03, 2014, 04:42:26 PM »
Hi, all! I've recently started making cheese at home with some success and some relative failures and now I have some questions.

In my first batch (01/14) I tried my luck at making a caerphilly, cheddar and havarti, from a gift set (mad millies cheese making kit). When I first had a taste of the caerphilly there was a intensely bitter flavour, I put it back in the cheese 'cave' (a repurposed fridge with thermostat and humidity control) for another month and the bitterness only got worse. The other two cheeses came out better,cheddar tastes like cheddar, havarti tastes like havarti, but there is still a distinct lingering bitter undertone in the aftertaste.

It should be noted that for the first month of the cheeses life I had them in a coolbox with an icepack, keeping the temps anywhere between 10-17C.

What is this, and how can I make avoid it in future?


 


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Re: Extremely bitter caerphilly
« Reply #1 on: May 03, 2014, 06:30:01 PM »
Hi, welcome to the forum!

Bitter taste can be caused by several mishaps:

  • Too much whey in the curds cause by lack of pressing
  • Inadequate salting. If using a brine, make sure the temp of the cheese is close to the temp of the brine (not too cold either). Also, make sure your brine is well balanced (salt%, calcium content and PH level)
  • Too much rennet.

Your cooler box temperatures may have contributed to a yeasty taste if the temperature was too high too long.

Hope this helps
- Eric

Offline JeffHamm

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Re: Extremely bitter caerphilly
« Reply #2 on: May 03, 2014, 06:53:34 PM »
Hi,

Too much starter can also result in bitterness, milk being off a bit as well.  It's hard to really pin point the issue without detailed make notes (even then, it's usually more of a suggestion than really knowing for sure since one sort of has to "be there" to know everything that went on and how the milk reacted).  Anyway, if the other cheeses are working fine for you, it could just be part of the learning curve.  Try the caerphilly again (it's similar to a cheddar, so if that worked the caerphilly should too).  And, welcome to the board.

- Jeff
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Offline John@PC

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Re: Extremely bitter caerphilly
« Reply #3 on: May 03, 2014, 07:06:54 PM »
Hi Dimitrishuk and welcome to the board.  I didn't recognize your location but Googling it it looks like your a Cypriot which is the home of Halloumi?   I experienced bitter cheeses during my learning experience (and had to toss them) but learned that if the recipe is a "good" one and you follow it closely without out too much variation you will get a nice result.  Cheese is pretty forgiving if you "stay in the bounds".

Offline JeffHamm

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Re: Extremely bitter caerphilly
« Reply #4 on: May 03, 2014, 07:24:09 PM »
I agree with John, check the boards here and find protocols that a number of people have tried and got good results.  Then, it's just a matter of practice.  Once your curds have firmed up after cutting (gentle jiggling at first so they don't shatter, but after 5 to 10 minutes of this you should have released enough whey to stir them properly), then make sure you stir in different directions.  Retaining too much whey is probably the cause early on, and the whey is expelled from the curds during the make more than during pressing.  Work on good stir technique, and that will get you pretty far with your first makes.

- Jeff
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Offline dimitrishuk

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Re: Extremely bitter caerphilly
« Reply #5 on: May 04, 2014, 04:06:43 AM »
Hi All, thanks for your replies! As I suspected, too much starter, too much rennet, not enough pressing whey out, inadequate salting possibly even the raw milk I use could have been abit spoiled...

Regarding renneting and starter cultures, is there an easy way to control for variations, and to provide indication of too much or too little for either. I have a pH meter I could use if this is of any relevance.

Re pressing whey out, I will definitely work on ensuring an even size of curds is achieved and more water is released next time.

Spoons, when you say the brine solution is out of balance, how would I go about balancing it. In Cyprus, unless you live near a desalination plant, tap water is pH 8.4 and has a hardness of around 0.7EC which is mostly attributed to calcium carbonate. How would you go about balancing your brine relative to your water parameters?

Also regarding spoiled milk, I get my milk raw and chilled (to under 4C) from a dairy farm, it goes straight into my fridge when it gets home (in practice 20-30min). When I make the cheese, usually on the same day or the day after, I bring my temperature up to 65-70 slowly for pasteurization, and add my culture in while the milk is cooling down (at the 30-32C range depending on the cheese). Is there anything wrong with my milk treatment process before this?

John@PC, I am indeed from Cyprus the home of halloumi!!

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Re: Extremely bitter caerphilly
« Reply #6 on: May 04, 2014, 08:03:00 AM »
Hi dimitrishuk,

You want the brine to be similar to the cheese in calcium and acidity. So when you first make a brine you add 20-23% salt, a bit of white vinegar for acidity and some calcium chlorine. I'm not sure about the effect of water hardness though.

If you maintain the brine well, you can keep it for many months. Here's a link on how to make your brine;

http://cheeseforum.org/articles/wiki-making-cheese-brine/

It is recommended to brine at 12-15C. When the brine is not in use you can store it in the refrigerator at 4C, this will help prevent mold growth.
- Eric

Offline dimitrishuk

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Re: Extremely bitter caerphilly
« Reply #7 on: May 04, 2014, 11:22:28 AM »
Thanks for the link Spoons, learned a few new things re brining from that , (a) reuse the brine, (b) drop the pH!

Regarding renneting, if I measure flocculation time and then use a multiplier depending on cheese, will that overcome any possible issues with getting the renneting under control? Is flocculation time a function of rennet quantity?

Also, does anyone know what this bittering effect is called? Could this be a result of bacteria in my raw milk, or could it be resolved with a better choice of culture? I used Lactococcus laactis subsp. cremoris and Lactococcus lactis subsp. lactis which came with the kit (I suspect this is Danisco MM100?) Are there any other combinations I could use to avoid this in future?

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Re: Extremely bitter caerphilly
« Reply #8 on: May 04, 2014, 11:54:52 AM »
Regarding renneting, if I measure flocculation time and then use a multiplier depending on cheese, will that overcome any possible issues with getting the renneting under control? Is flocculation time a function of rennet quantity?

Yes, using the flocculation method will make the rennet step very reliable. The flocc time should be around 12-15 minutes x multiplier. If you're within that range, then your rennet step is perfect. Don't worry if your flocc time is a bit under or over, I regularly get 18-19 minutes and it's all good.

Also, does anyone know what this bittering effect is called? Could this be a result of bacteria in my raw milk, or could it be resolved with a better choice of culture? I used Lactococcus laactis subsp. cremoris and Lactococcus lactis subsp. lactis which came with the kit (I suspect this is Danisco MM100?) Are there any other combinations I could use to avoid this in future?
Sounds more like MA11 or Meso III, which are perfect for cheddar types. Just make sure you use the right amount.

Don't worry about it too much. Work on your techniques and all will be fine as you learn. You're already one step ahead by learning the flocc method.  And as Jeff mentionned, working on your stir technique early on will help you out greatly.
- Eric

Offline dimitrishuk

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Re: Extremely bitter caerphilly
« Reply #9 on: May 04, 2014, 02:00:34 PM »
Final question! To rule out the over-culturing option, how much is too much culture and how sensitive is cheese to overculturing? Im usually making batches of 9L (about 2 gal.) the culture grains are often irregularly sized so its hard to get a precise volume measurement in tsp. so i use my eyes to judge. What kind of range of measurement error should I be making if this is to be a problem? Are we talking 1.5x recommended or 10x recommended? 


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Re: Extremely bitter caerphilly
« Reply #10 on: May 04, 2014, 02:11:39 PM »
Depending on the type of cheese (hard or soft) and the culture you are using, always follow the directions on the culture's packet.

For instance, Danisco's MA11 says 1/4 tsp per 12-15L. I used to make 8.7L batches and 1/8tsp worked great. Don't worry about the irregularly sized flakes, even if you have a little less or a little more in your 1/8 tsp.
- Eric

Offline JeffHamm

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Re: Extremely bitter caerphilly
« Reply #11 on: May 04, 2014, 02:12:07 PM »
I think if you put double the right amount you'll probably get bitterness, so if it is calling for 1/4 tsp you'll be fine unless you accidently use the 1/2 tsp spoon type thing.  A grain or two isn't a big deal.  It may add up if you're trying to mix up your own blend (1/16th of this, a 1/32nd of that, etc) but you're not doing that.

Sounding more like residual whey, so stirring more, and draining the curds a bit more, you'll be fine.  Mind you, it will really unnerve you when you have to unlearn all that during your first brie make! :)

- Jeff
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Offline jwalker

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Re: Extremely bitter caerphilly
« Reply #12 on: May 05, 2014, 08:07:39 AM »
Dimitri , some people use whey for making their brine if they have unsiutable water , just be sure to boil it first.

Some even prefer it as it supposedly doesn't leach calcium out of the cheese.

Your brine can actually be kept forever , especially if it is fully saturated , you may need to boil it and strain it occasionally to keep it pristine , I've had mine for over a year now and it keeps getting better , I adjust the salt and Calcium chloride content as needed , also add a little white vinegar , it gives a nice firm rind.

I've had cheeses that were quite bitter when young , re-waxed them and they were much better when aged out for a few more months , so definitely don't toss them until you've tried it !

Good luck with your cheese making.
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Offline dimitrishuk

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Re: Extremely bitter caerphilly
« Reply #13 on: May 10, 2014, 11:05:21 AM »
Thanks for all the great tips guys, I'll definitely be using the flocculation method for my rennetting, and work on stir and draining in future cheeses. Also I'll make my brine a little saltier as I did mine at 18% w/w salt (by weight).

I've also not ruled out the raw milk being spoiled at this stage either. I pasteurized the milk and put it in the fridge overnight, so some undesirables may have found their way in. The farmer that gave me the milk warned me to use it straight away and I ignore his better judgement. Am I right to understand that pH is a good indicator of bacterial levels at the pre and post pasteurization process?

I'm not sure it was overculturing that did it, as I was within bounds, and it probably wasn't the temperature either as there was no yeasty flavour I could distinguish. Anyway, I now have a mini-cheese cave that is 10-12C with 85-95% humidity so that shouldn't be an issue going forward.