Author Topic: Coagulation, Rennet, Tablet, Junket Brand - No Clean Break  (Read 3823 times)

Offline Worlock

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Coagulation, Rennet, Tablet, Junket Brand - No Clean Break
« on: March 20, 2009, 12:21:16 PM »
Not sure where to post this but thought maybe here was ok.  Following different recipe's from http://biology.clc.uc.edu/Fankhauser/Cheese/cheese.html I've found that my curd set time to clean break is *significantly* longer than what he had.  I am wondering if it is possibly the Calcium Chloride that I'm using, or possibly chlorine in my tap water? 

I thought at first it was the chlorine, but after using bottled water on my latest failed Mozz attempt I'm starting to wonder if it's not the CaCl2.

For example on the site linked above his Italian mozzarella recipe, he says to expect curd set up time in 45 minutes.  Instead however, I found mine took closer to 5 hours.  Seriously that's not a mistype.  I checked after 45 minutes and only had a film over the top.  Every half hour after that I checked, and it slowly set up.  Good dog goned thing I started at 4 oclock on it.

The curd sat out last night and tasted absolutely wonderful today at lunch.  I cut it out as directed in his recipe, and once it's salted it tastes just sinfully good.  (I couldn't get the melt/stretch/done right however).

The reason I spoke about the taste is that it seems to me that nothing in my environment/tools/hygene etc is causing such a long curd-set time because the resultant curd tasted really good.  I've lurked around here quite a bit and you all seem to have the concensus that if it smells bad, then it probably is.

Just curious what you all might think.

p.s.  BTW My name's Ted and I'm addicted to making my own cheese.

:)


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Offline linuxboy

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Re: Coagulation, Rennet, Tablet, Junket Brand - No Clean Break
« Reply #1 on: March 20, 2009, 12:36:20 PM »
How much CaCL2 are you adding per gallon, how much rennet, and what's the Ph when you add rennet?

That should help narrow down the cause.
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Offline Worlock

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Re: Coagulation, Rennet, Tablet, Junket Brand - No Clean Break
« Reply #2 on: March 20, 2009, 12:47:38 PM »
1/8 tsp of CaCl2 for 1 gallon
1 Rennet Tablet (as per his recipe)
ph = unkown

With each time I've done a batch, it's been with the same milk... just had a mental zinger... what if it's that and not my ingredients.  All I have access to is store bought milk.  And I've used whole milk each time.  (no access to the good stuff)

Offline Zinger

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Re: Coagulation, Rennet, Tablet, Junket Brand - No Clean Break
« Reply #3 on: March 20, 2009, 02:02:14 PM »
When I decided to try cheese making, I found Fankhauser’s website and tried to make cheese with his instructions with no success. Then I tried again and then I tried one more time. Each effort was futile, I could not get the curd to set. Granted, I never gave it 5 hours. So after searching local sources for help, I eventually came across a store in my town with cheese making supplies. There I discovered Ricki Carroll's book and tried again using her instructions. I was pleased to have success and have had success three times. I have to admit I won't really know if I have been successful for a couple more months since my efforts towards Cheddar are currently aging. But, I did get curd to set and the subsequent steps in the process were also successful. Fankhauser’s website did not spell out in detail the process with temperatures, etc. Also, following Carroll's instruction, I warmed my milk in a water bath instead of stovetop. In addition, I used better rennant at the instruction of Carroll and I think Fankhauser just recommended Junket, which is probably the biggest problem I/you had with Fankhauser. These are just the thoughts of a novice, but I would strongly recommend that you check out Carroll's book and be sure you are using quality rennant and starter. Good luck, don't give up.

Offline thegregger

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Re: Coagulation, Rennet, Tablet, Junket Brand - No Clean Break
« Reply #4 on: March 20, 2009, 02:07:20 PM »
Where are you getting your milk?  This could have an effect on the curd formation.  Also, some bottled waters contain mineral additives, so be sure you know what you are using.  I recommend distilled water.  I also prefer to use liquid rennet over the tablets, given the choice.

Finally, mozzarella can be very difficult to make, because the curds have to be in a very tight pH range in order to create the necessary stretchability (is that a word?).  Personally, I don't think it's worth the effort.

Greg


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Offline Worlock

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Re: Coagulation, Rennet, Tablet, Junket Brand - No Clean Break
« Reply #5 on: March 20, 2009, 02:40:45 PM »
Zinger,

Interesting that you mention that book.  My wife went out shopping today and I asked her to look for this one.  She just walked in the door 5 minutes ago with it in tow :)  I'll *definitely* check it out, hope I have better luck than I've been having lately.  My fetta from his site turned out horrible.  (not that it's his fault, I'm 100% sure I screwed something up, lol)

Thegregger,

Plain old store bought milk.  Whole.

I'll have to invest in a ph meter then.  No way around it it seems.

Also, thanks for the tip on the distilled water tip.  Will have to get some from the market.

Offline linuxboy

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Re: Coagulation, Rennet, Tablet, Junket Brand - No Clean Break
« Reply #6 on: March 20, 2009, 03:04:40 PM »
Are you dissolving the rennet tablet in cold water? Might be the mineral content of your water, too, if you're using tap water. Try the distilled water idea, but cool it first. Rennet is very sensitive to ionic concentrations of minerals.

When you pour the rennet+water in, stir the milk up and down instead of swirling it with your ladle or spoon. And if it still doesn't work, get some liquid rennet. Might be the milk, but if you added CaCl2, you should be able to get a decent set quickly.
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Offline Wayne Harris

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Re: Coagulation, Rennet, Tablet, Junket Brand - No Clean Break
« Reply #7 on: March 20, 2009, 03:42:36 PM »
I only seem to have a problem with curds when one of two things occurr.
  • I use too much rennet
  • I try and make cheese with no Cacl2
I no longer do these things.
:)


Here is what I do. 
I use a 30% CaCl2 solution from here.  I add this at the rate of .5tsp/gal.
I use single strength animal rennet from here,  I add this at the rate of .25tsp/gal.

I get a good curd set at about pH 6.6 in 30 min or so, depending on the cultures used.
I only use store-bought whole milk.

« Last Edit: March 20, 2009, 03:52:19 PM by Wayne Harris »
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Offline Worlock

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Re: Coagulation, Rennet, Tablet, Junket Brand - No Clean Break
« Reply #8 on: March 20, 2009, 04:00:40 PM »
That's where I got my CaCl2 also.

See there's this story on the Rennet.

Sigh... go ahead and tell them Ted.  They won't laugh at you.

Sigh....... ok here goes.

So I'm starting to research making my own cheese.  I came across the website I listed above.  He suggested getting the Junket tablets.  So I went to his link and got all excited about my new adventure.  Pretty sure I was at work and was pretty distracted.  (I'm in the Air Force and work ebbs and flows on most days)  So I'm at the website and for the life of me I can't seem to figure out how many tablets come in each pack.

So here's where the smartypants like my wife start giggling uncontrollably.

There's this wee picture of the box, front and back.


And since I can't seem to figure out how many comes in each box, I'm like... well I'll get a few boxes of them and see when they come in.  Fankhauser's recipes usually call for a 1/4 tablet so that should be enough to test it out if I for some reason can magically become a master cheese maker.

I bought 6 boxes.

Yes that's right ladies and gentleman.  My wife asks me when they come in why did I get so many.  I reply well I didn't know how many were in each box.

Her reply was "Did the huge number 8 on the box give you *any* clue?"

./bangs head against the wall

She giggled for hours.

I in the meantime have way too much of the danged stuff to switch to liquid.

See if I did that then *again* I'd never hear the end of it.

Offline Wayne Harris

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Re: Coagulation, Rennet, Tablet, Junket Brand - No Clean Break
« Reply #9 on: March 20, 2009, 04:03:57 PM »
LOL,  we all make mistakes.   

I have heard good and bad with junkett tablets. I personally never have used them.
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Offline mako

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Re: Coagulation, Rennet, Tablet, Junket Brand - No Clean Break
« Reply #10 on: March 20, 2009, 06:28:50 PM »
When I first tried cheesemaking (a few years ago now, so I'm a bit hazy on the details), I used junket tablets and Fankhauser's recipes. I was able to get a good set on some recipes, but I threw out at least 5 gallons of putrefying milk from different attempts at his mozzarella/pasta filata. And with no more information to go on, I was left just stumbling about. Very discouraging.

I still don't really know what went wrong, but in retrospect, I imagine the chief cause was insufficient acidification (I was using storebought buttermilk straight from the fridge as my starter, and his moz recipes call for adding the rennet either with the culture or very shortly thereafter). I was never able to get a clean break with his Pasta Filata recipe.

The fact that you did manage to get a clean break, and good curds, means you can't be too far off. I'd say you're probably dealing with too little acid/too weak starter as well (though that's a complete guess and I imagine only one of many things, most of which I have no clue about, which could be causing problems). I'd try the recipe on this site (i.e. CheeseForum.org), or here, or a variation on this one.

Getting mozzarella to spin correctly seems inordinately difficult to me. My last cheese log entry for it said 'I'm done with this until I have a way to measure pH'. (That entry was written at 4am after I'd spent hours waiting for it to hit the point where it'd stretch, and then by the time I got it into the water, I'd overshot it and had cottage cheese. I was pretty discouraged.....at least I still ended up with a tasty cheese, though.)

If you can find some citric acid, you could try the 30 minute mozzarella recipe, just to help get more feel for how the curds should stretch. The complexity of flavor is definitely not there, but seeing the rennet set up in minutes (actually, mere seconds in my case) is magical. The curds are firm and expel whey with gusto, and when you microwave, everything goes from rough to smooth and elastic with just a few pulls. Also, if it fails, you've spent 30 minutes instead of 8 hours.

Of course, take any of my recommendations with a grain of salt, since aside from the 30 minute stuff, I've only produced real, successfully stretched moz one time -- and even then it didn't stretch that well (and it sat in my refrigerator and on my counter for 3 days (!!) before it hit the point where it would spin).
« Last Edit: March 21, 2009, 12:09:09 AM by makkonen »

Offline John (CH)

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Re: Coagulation, Rennet, Tablet, Junket Brand - No Clean Break
« Reply #11 on: March 20, 2009, 07:07:56 PM »
Ted, I live in Houston, Texas and almost only ever used store bought pasteurized and homogenized whole cow's milk, largely cheap chain store brands. My first ~15 batches were without CaCl2 as I had none and got reasonably good curd sets. My last ~20 batches I've used CaCl2 and only little better.

I believe your problem is on Junket Brand rennet tablets, several other members have used them or other tablet style rennets available around the world with generally poor results, from forum homepage, Search on "Junket". I've used only two types of rennet, so am not in any way a guru, but what I've found really helped me to get a good set - clean break, is to thoroughly dilute rennet before adding and when adding thoroughly stir/whisk in rennet. It is very very very concentrated stuff that I believe if not fully diluted will lock up in a small area resulting in poor curd formation. I built an info webpage on Rennet that may be of some use.

Hopefully you can get the Junket brand rennet to work as you have lots of it ;D, if not there are many web based supply stores, I also bought my initial Malaka Brand liquid rennet from a Whole Foods Store here in Houston (first didn't have any, second had it in Cheese cooler section).

Hope helps, John (in Disneyworld on family holiday).

Offline Worlock

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Re: Coagulation, Rennet, Tablet, Junket Brand - No Clean Break
« Reply #12 on: March 20, 2009, 08:03:43 PM »
Lotta great ideas, really appreciate it guys.

I can say for a *fact* that I only dissolved the junket maybe 5 minutes before hand.  I'm sure that has something to do with it now.

Makkonen, wonder if it would help to up the acid level a bit too before adding culture?  Then after it's set up then add the junket...

hmm...

Fresh gallon of milk (different brand than before, went to a different market)....

Man it just tugs at you to go play...

lol

Offline Worlock

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Re: Coagulation, Rennet, Tablet, Junket Brand - No Clean Break
« Reply #13 on: March 20, 2009, 08:16:00 PM »
Oh fwiw, I struck out on the distilled water at the market.  I guess I'll have to try an auto parts store next... Weird, would have thought they would have some.

/shrug

Offline John (CH)

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Re: Coagulation, Rennet, Tablet, Junket Brand - No Clean Break
« Reply #14 on: March 20, 2009, 08:17:53 PM »
I just use filtered tap water for diluting my rennet.