Author Topic: St. Marcellin: what did I do wrong?  (Read 653 times)

Offline retrojim

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St. Marcellin: what did I do wrong?
« on: May 27, 2014, 03:28:48 PM »
So this weekend I decided to try my first mold ripened cheese. I've made the easy cheeses (ricotta, mozzarella) and some more difficult (cheddar, manchego, etc.). I thought I'd try St. Marcellin using the recipe from Mary Karlin's "Artisan Cheesemaking..." book.

After 12 hours of ripening at 75 degrees I had a pot full of basically yogurt. There was no real clean break between curds and whey like I'm used to with hard cheeses. Is this normal? I went ahead and ladled the "yogurt" into my molds anyway, and a lot of what looked like "good stuff" drained out. I was supposed to get enough yield to fill 4 St. Marcellin molds to the top, but I barely got enough for three with the amount of stuff that quickly drained out.

The recipe says to flip the cheeses in the molds every 6 hours. My St. Marcellin molds are closed at one end, so I wasn't sure how to flip the cheeses. Falling back on my pressed cheese experience I tried to completely remove the cheese and turn it over but it fell apart.

Are these soft mold ripened cheeses this difficult? Am I doing something wrong? Are the curds supposed to be this soft? Help!

--Jim


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Offline NimbinValley

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Re: St. Marcellin: what did I do wrong?
« Reply #1 on: May 27, 2014, 08:36:35 PM »
Did you add some rennet?  Even lactic cheeses need a small amount of rennet added to the milk. Usually between 2 - 5 ml /100L milk.

Offline retrojim

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Re: St. Marcellin: what did I do wrong?
« Reply #2 on: May 27, 2014, 09:15:41 PM »
I did add rennet. The recipe in the book called for 6 drops in 3 quarts of whole milk. I'm using store bought milk and when making hard cheeses I've found I usually need to add a little more than the recipe calls for. This time I stuck with the 6 drops the recipe listed. I've read here in the forum that over renneting can cause a bitter taste, so with a cheese like this I wanted to be careful.

--Jim

Offline NimbinValley

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Re: St. Marcellin: what did I do wrong?
« Reply #3 on: May 28, 2014, 01:35:52 AM »
Sorry I can't convert drops or quarts (whatever that is??)  but you do need a small amount.  It sounds like a rennet issue since the culture seems to be active or else you wouldn't have had any souring.  Put a larger amount of rennet in some milk just to make sure it is active. Assuming it's ok have another go. Put culture in and what for a pH of about 6.4 or 6.3 then add rennet.  ( some one might correct me on the best rennetting pH - I can't recall off the top of my head). Then sit and wait.

Offline retrojim

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Re: St. Marcellin: what did I do wrong?
« Reply #4 on: May 28, 2014, 01:40:42 AM »
Thanks for the advice, I'll try that next.

Us Yanks still frequently use the old non-metric measures. A quart is 2 pints. Four quarts in a gallon. None of the recipes in the books I have are metric. And yes, "drop" is a ridiculous measurement.

--Jim


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Offline JeffHamm

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Re: St. Marcellin: what did I do wrong?
« Reply #5 on: May 28, 2014, 02:57:39 AM »
Hi Retrojim,

I've made various semilactics five times now, and everytime I let the milk sit for about 24 hours, which is double the time.  So, you could try again, but let it sit longer.  The curd should be ready when the curds and whey separate (you'll have a blob of curd pulled well away from the sides of the container, floating in clear whey).  Maybe try that with a quart of milk (my makes have been 2 litres, which is around a quart).

- Jeff
« Last Edit: May 28, 2014, 03:04:39 AM by JeffHamm »
The wise do not always start out on the right path, but they do know when to change course.

Offline NimbinValley

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Re: St. Marcellin: what did I do wrong?
« Reply #6 on: May 28, 2014, 07:29:50 AM »
My gut feel is that a 24 hr maturation would be too long before rennetting, but try it and see.  I would have the set temp at 20oC or less.

Interestingly a lot of younger people in Australia now understand imperial measurements better than people my age (47) since all of the new technology comes with non metric descriptors.  When metric was introduced in the early 70s the government legislated for a short period where both systems could be used, not sure how long as I was about 5, but then made it illegal to use non metric measurements.  I remember mum and dad complaining at the time but it was ruthlessly efficient in establishing the metric system. 

NV.

Offline JeffHamm

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Re: St. Marcellin: what did I do wrong?
« Reply #7 on: May 28, 2014, 01:38:41 PM »
Hi,

You add the rennet right at the start of the 24 hour period, not after 24 hours (at least, that's what I've always done).   Try it that way (even if the book says it the other way round, that could be a mistake - a fair number of the books have some pretty brutal errors in them). - actually, just checked my notes, I've left it to ripen for a few hours before adding the rennet as well, but maybe only 6 or 8 hours, then added rennet for the last 16-18 hours.

As for metric/imperial, I grew up in Canada.  Same thing with us, both were legal units for a while.  I still think of fish in pounds, people's height in feet and inches, distances are in miles, beers in pints.  Milk, though, I'm good in litres, so the conversion is happening! :)

- Jeff
« Last Edit: May 28, 2014, 01:56:29 PM by JeffHamm »
The wise do not always start out on the right path, but they do know when to change course.

Offline retrojim

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Re: St. Marcellin: what did I do wrong?
« Reply #8 on: May 28, 2014, 06:27:17 PM »
Thank you all for your helpful comments! I knew someone here would help--glad I found you all.

The book says to add the rennet before the 12 hour ripening, which I did. Your comment about the consistency and the clean break is really helpful. Part of the problem is that the book has no photos of that stage nor any description like you gave. A lot of books will describe the result so you have a bit of a clue what to look for, but this recipe doesn't do that.

I'll try this again and use your ripening and renneting times. I'm determined to make a passable St. Marcellin!

--Jim

Offline GlabrousD

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Re: St. Marcellin: what did I do wrong?
« Reply #9 on: May 29, 2014, 05:52:34 AM »
As for metric/imperial, I grew up in Canada.  Same thing with us, both were legal units for a while.  I still think of fish in pounds, people's height in feet and inches, distances are in miles, beers in pints.  Milk, though, I'm good in litres, so the conversion is happening!


I had a university professor who refused to teach in metric units. We learnt things like chains, fathoms and slugs... really! Slug: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slug_%28mass%29

Talk about dark ages! Nowadays I'm bilingual but still prefer my beer in pints... although a litre of beer at Octoberfest (when I'm passing through Munich) is still acceptable :)

Cheers, GD.


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Offline Boofer

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Re: St. Marcellin: what did I do wrong?
« Reply #10 on: May 29, 2014, 07:52:25 AM »
I'm using store bought milk
Where's the CACL?  This helps set the curd.

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Offline retrojim

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Re: St. Marcellin: what did I do wrong?
« Reply #11 on: May 29, 2014, 03:53:51 PM »
Forgot to mention it, but I did add calcium chloride. It's in the recipe.

--Jim

Offline NimbinValley

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Re: St. Marcellin: what did I do wrong?
« Reply #12 on: May 29, 2014, 07:51:33 PM »
CaCl is not usually needed in a lactic cheese since the acidity that is developed decalcifies the curd anyway.  If you are using store bought pasteurised milk then I suspect this is the problem.  Many commercial milk suppliers over pasteurise the milk since they are concerned with shelf life rather than cheesemaking.  The result is that moisture is cooked into the milk which results in a very soft set and drainage issues.  I suggest a change of brand or get access to some raw milk.

Offline retrojim

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Re: St. Marcellin: what did I do wrong?
« Reply #13 on: May 30, 2014, 02:54:48 PM »
I've had decent luck before using the same milk. It's an organic pasteurized milk from the local grocery store, but it's worked fine for the hard cheeses I've made. This is my first soft mold ripened cheese. I'm going to give it another go soon and let it ripen twice as long.

--Jim

Offline tête de fromage

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Re: St. Marcellin: what did I do wrong?
« Reply #14 on: June 06, 2014, 09:52:39 AM »
I have been making chaource for some years. The process seems pretty much the same as you are using. Chaource has a very soft curd. It's hard to ladle the curd without  it recombining with the whey. I just bag it and hang it for 8 hours per some chaource recipes. I get a very clear whey and the curds mold just fine. If your not doing this, it might be worth a try.