Author Topic: Not enough rennet?  (Read 6602 times)

Offline welly

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Not enough rennet?
« on: January 24, 2015, 04:17:04 AM »
Hello all,

The last two (and first two) batches of cheese I made, firstly a mozzarella that wasn't entirely successful and currently a feta that is draining/setting/forming in the feta baskets. The problem I appear to be having is the curds not holding their shape very well after I've cut them. I've checked for a clean break and it appears to be ok, although to trained eyes perhaps they're not right. However, I have been leaving them to solidify for over an hour - as much as an hour twenty. I am planning on trying the flocculation method next cheese making day.

The feta I've been making today, I used 4 litres of full fat pasturised milk and used 1/8 teaspoon of calcium chloride and a "drop" of mesophilic culture mixed in with 1/4 cup of demineralised water. I used 1/4 rennet tablet with 1/4 cup of demineralised water, as per the recipe I've got for feta (although this is a slight variation - I'm using feta baskets not a cheese cloth bag. I'm wondering if perhaps 1/4 tablet of rennet wasn't enough or maybe I wasn't leaving it in enough? The curds kind of held shape until I stirred them and then they mostly broke apart into smaller bits. This same thing occurred when I tried the mozzarella.

So, might it be I'm not leaving the milk long enough to form stronger curds? Am I perhaps not using enough rennet for 4 litres of milk? Something else? Does it matter greatly if the curds did break apart?

Thanks very much in advance!

welly

Offline welly

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Re: Not enough rennet?
« Reply #1 on: January 24, 2015, 04:29:43 AM »
Oh, just further to this, I wonder if why the curds didn't firm up a bit is possibly because the rennet tablet hadn't fully dissolved in the water? There were still a few grains in it that wouldn't dissolve. Might look for liquid rennet or let the tablet dissolve longer.

Offline Danbo

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Re: Not enough rennet?
« Reply #2 on: January 24, 2015, 04:57:09 AM »
I have no experience with rennet tabs but I think that it is a good idea to use the flocculation method aka spinning bowl technique next time.

If you need any help regarding spinning bowl, flocculation factor etc. just lt me know. Normally I'm happy if flocculation happens after 10-15 minutes (but I have also experienced longer floc.times from time to time. Follow the instructions on the tablets and don't always trust the recipe.

When you have the time it took to flocculate from when you added the rennet multiply this with an appropriate floc.factor for the type of cheese that you are making - then you know when to cut (from the time you added the rennet). Check for a clean break anyway...

Take a look at this page: http://www.littlegreencheese.com/2013/03/flocculation-method-for-better-curd.html

Sorry if you already know how to use "the spinning bowl"...

:-) Danbo

Offline qdog1955

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Re: Not enough rennet?
« Reply #3 on: January 24, 2015, 05:15:51 AM »
 I'm certainly no expert----but the type milk you are using may cause some of these problems----no ultra high pasteurized milk --------pasteurized/homogenized milk, the curds have a tendency to shatter, you pretty much have to live with that---sometimes trying a different dairy will help. Raw milk seems to make the best curds, followed by creamline (un-homigenized) sometimes called creamtop. Out dated rennet.
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Offline Danbo

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Re: Not enough rennet?
« Reply #4 on: January 24, 2015, 05:19:15 AM »
I agree Qdog.

A small amount of calcium chloride can also help...

:-) Danbo

Ps.: I'm definitely no expert either.

Offline welly

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Re: Not enough rennet?
« Reply #5 on: January 24, 2015, 06:00:20 AM »
Thanks for the advice, chaps! I'm going to look into seeing what other milk is available. I know I can get non-homogenised milk from the supermarket although it costs a bit more. I'll give it a try for my next batch and see if it makes any difference! These early batches are just about getting my technique and processes in place and if this feta turns out to be tasty despite the "curd issue", I'm fine with that! It's all good fun! :)

Cheers

Offline Danbo

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Re: Not enough rennet?
« Reply #6 on: January 24, 2015, 06:24:50 AM »
I'm sure the Feta will be fine. :-) Let us know how it turns out the next time...

Offline welly

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Re: Not enough rennet?
« Reply #7 on: January 24, 2015, 07:48:21 AM »
I'm sure the Feta will be fine. :-) Let us know how it turns out the next time...


Looks alright! Looks like cheese!



It's in the brine now. I also made another batch from the same curds except I had them in a couple of feta baskets and didn't put a weight on them. I've cut them into cubes and just added salt rather than brining them. Want to see what difference the two methods/techniques offer!

Offline Danbo

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Re: Not enough rennet?
« Reply #8 on: January 24, 2015, 07:57:01 AM »
Looks very nice! :-)

Offline welly

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Re: Not enough rennet?
« Reply #9 on: January 24, 2015, 08:12:20 AM »
Thanks kindly! I shall look forward to giving it a taste next week!

Offline Al Lewis

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Re: Not enough rennet?
« Reply #10 on: January 24, 2015, 10:31:46 AM »
Not sure if this will help but I am led to believe that the timing of adding the calcium chloride to the milk is critical to forming good curds.  Apparently it can act adversely on the rennet if added together.  Any of our experts that can chime in here?
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Offline awakephd

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Re: Not enough rennet?
« Reply #11 on: January 24, 2015, 01:20:31 PM »
Here are my thoughts, for what they are worth (not more than a couple of cents ... :))

#1 - if the result is cheese that tastes good, you are doing it correctly. :)
#2 - my experience with pasteurized, homogenized (P&H) milk is that the curds will very often shatter. Still can make good cheese (see #1 above).
#3 - my experience with the flocc method is that it gives not-very-clear results when using P&H milk. No matter how much or little rennet I use, I seem to get some sort of flocculation in less than five minutes, even though the curd is clearly not ready until the time that would be expected if the flocc happened at 10-15 minutes (or longer, if I go really low on the rennet). I've tried to wait until there is more than just resistance, until it is really impossible to make the bowl move ... that comes closer to the expected times, but is rather a subjective and inexact determination.
#4 - if you get your hands on raw milk, or even low-temp-pasteurized, un-homogenized milk, your world will change. Suddenly the flocc method works as expected--a very clear and distinct change in movement of the bowl at about the 10-15 minute mark, and curds are firm and not inclined to shatter.
#5 - I've read recipes that call for the CaCl at the very beginning, and recipes that call for it after fermentation and five minutes before adding rennet. I have tried both ... and can't say that I can tell the difference.

I don't know if others' experience with #3 or #5 is the same as mine, but I've certainly heard many people echoing #2 and #4. I've resigned myself to less-than-perfect curd with the P&H, and relying more on the recipe time and a clean break than on flocc testing, whenever using the milk that is normally available to me. Since nearly all of my efforts have met #1, at least for my unsophisticated palate, I have decided not to worry about it! :)
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Offline welly

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Re: Not enough rennet?
« Reply #12 on: January 24, 2015, 08:57:39 PM »
Thank you very much for the advice! Some great tips there. I will give the expensive non-homogenised milk a go next time and see what happens with that. I just had a little nibble of the cubed/salted cheese I made yesterday and while clearly not ripe it's given me a bit of an idea of the taste and it's pretty good so far! So that's that at least. I shall definitely seek out some raw milk at some point and give that a go too. I have been adding CaCl, next batch I'm going to try adding lipase to it and seeing what difference that makes to the flavour.

Thank you!

Offline Shane

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Re: Not enough rennet?
« Reply #13 on: January 24, 2015, 09:42:30 PM »
Hi Welly,

I'm very new on here and to cheesemaking in general. Are your rennet tablets from mad millie? I was using mad millie rennet tablets, but was having very long curd setting times. The strength of the mad millie tablets is very low, so you need a lot more than most of the recipes call for. I bought some liquid rennet from cheeselinks and the setting time was very close to what the recipes expected.

Good luck with your cheesemaking.

Shane

Offline OzzieCheese

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Re: Not enough rennet?
« Reply #14 on: January 24, 2015, 10:38:08 PM »
Hi Welly,

I use Valerie's' Feta recipe all the time without issue and I use this recipe every time with Lipase.  There is a note right on the bottom
Quote
Note; If using lipase, you will need to increase the amount of rennet used to achieve a good clean break
.  And I always increase my Rennet by 50%.  If you are using GLA's rennet tablet then 1/2 a tablet is good.  I don't like Mad Millies tablets, as Shane says, they are too weak for some of the recipes, especially for the hard long ripening cheeses - they are very bitter in that instance.   I know that postage is expensive from GLA but their liquid rennet is great and their tablet performance is pretty consistent as well.

Hope that helps.


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