Author Topic: acidification for "squeaky cheese"  (Read 2359 times)

Offline the_stain

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Re: acidification for "squeaky cheese"
« Reply #15 on: April 08, 2009, 07:16:15 PM »
I'm thinking under-acidification?


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Offline linuxboy

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Re: acidification for "squeaky cheese"
« Reply #16 on: April 08, 2009, 09:19:25 PM »
Yes, exactly. Rennet has a pH "sweet spot" of around 6.1-6.3 for when it works best. So if the starter is weak, it will be slow in reaching the pH level. Also, your later acidification of curd will be slower, making the curd susceptible to contamination.
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Offline Wayne Harris

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Re: acidification for "squeaky cheese"
« Reply #17 on: April 09, 2009, 12:50:26 PM »
Linuxboy,  is that "sweet spot" just for Squeeky cheese? or all Meso-type cheeses?
Looking back at my notes, I am adding my rennet at pH 6.56-6.83. Perhaps too early?

Is this the wrong time to add rennet given that it is outside your sweet spot? 
Can I ask where you got that range?
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Offline linuxboy

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Re: acidification for "squeaky cheese"
« Reply #18 on: April 09, 2009, 02:01:32 PM »
What I meant by the idea of a sweet spot is the time to flocculation (soft curd set) and firm set. At a pH of 6.6, it usually takes about 20-30 minutes to set the curd. With a pH of 6.2, it's more like 8-10 minutes. What typically happens with the right amount of starter is that the pH starts out around 6.5-6.7, you add rennet, and pH will of course decrease, which helps to firm up the curd.

With squeaky cheese meant for immediate consumption, you want a firm curd pretty quickly, meaning you should not let it sit for too long from the time of flocculation to the cutting time. If you add too little starter culture, the milk will acidify slowly, and you'll get a curd set, but it will take 15+ minutes to soft set, and much longer to firm set. And because it takes a while to firm set, you have to wait longer to cut, which results in a softer final curd mass more appropriate for blue cheese than a squeaky cheese.

In short, no, your rennet schedule at ~6.6 should be ok in combination with the rest of the steps. It is even fine for squeaky cheese with the right amount of starter culture. The key variables are time to flocculation, time from flocculation to cut, curd size, heat time, and pH levels at each stage.

clear as mud? :)

Paul Kindstedt in American farmstead cheese has a great discussion about flocculation. He explains it much better than I do.

http://www.google.com/search?q=flocculation+cheese

Google books has the section available. Look at pages 207-208. I got the idea of the range from seeing charts somewhere in a study that had time to curd set with various pH levels and amount of rennet. From what I recall, at 6.5 pH, it took 18 minutes to set, at 6.4 it took 14 and at 6.3, it took 8. So it's not a linear progression. I figured most people would want to see a firm curd quickly for making squeaky cheese, and then also cut pretty quickly, and decent acidification from a started helps with that.
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Offline the_stain

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Re: acidification for "squeaky cheese"
« Reply #19 on: April 09, 2009, 02:11:32 PM »
Thanks for the insight.  After reading this and checking out some additional resources I am pretty convinced that the difficulty I have had with this has to do with under-acidification, as it's taking me a good 45-60 minutes to get a good firm curd set (and as you described, the curds end up getting too soft and wet after cutting.)   I also am going to experiment with increasing my rennet (I'm using 1/8tsp of vegetable rennet per 1 gal milk currently) and see if that helps get me a firmer set faster.


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