Author Topic: Crème Fraîche Cottage Cheese - Total Fail - Help!  (Read 2658 times)

Offline cindybman

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Crème Fraîche Cottage Cheese - Total Fail - Help!
« on: February 07, 2015, 02:43:06 PM »
My very first cheese project and it was a total fail. Ugh.  I'm hoping you can help.

For my first project, I decided to make "Crème Fraîche Cottage Cheese" from Artisan Cheese Making at Home by M. Karlin.
All of my "dry" ingredients were fresh as I had just received all my supplies within the last week.  I washed and sterilized all my equipment, and had everything laid-out and organized.  I also took notes.

Ingredients:
1 gallon milk (I used Promised Land Cream on the Top; Whole milk, HHST Pasteurized, non-Homogenized)
3/8 tsp Meso Aroma B
1/4 tsp CaCl diluted in 1/4C cool water (I used filtered water)
1/4 tsp liquid rennet diluted in 1/4C cool water (I used Calf's rennet and filtered water)
1 tsp kosher salt
1-1 1/2 C crème fraîche

As per the author's suggestion, I removed the milk from the fridge about one hour before I began.  Right before I began, I pre-measured all ingredients so they were ready to go. Again, everything was clean and sterilized.

Since the milk was "Cream on the Top", lo and behold, there was cream on the top! I tried shaking the bottles before opening to mix it all up; maybe this was a mistake? I only shook each bottle 2-3 times.  Anyway, there was solid cream/like soft butter texture stuck in the necks of the bottles; but I got that and all the liquid into the stock pot.  This is where my first mistake might've happened: I didn't know if it was ok to have those big cream "bits" -- there were four blobs (one from each bottle) each about the size of a small golfball -- SO :)  I tried whisking/mixing the blobs to reincorporate them back into the milk.  How bad of an oops was that?  Next...  OH! Quick Note: When using "cream on the top" milk and there *is* a blob of cream on the top, do not - do NOT - squeeze the bottle to get the milk pouring out.  Trust me, you will end up with milk everywhere. EVERYWHERE.  :)

Put the milk in the pot to heat.  Recipe said to "warm the milk to 70F over the course of about 15 minutes."  Well, my milk was already at 68F/69F from being at room temperature.  I turned the heat on at its lowest setting (I use an induction cooktop with heavy ss cookware... it's incredibly sensitive and removes the need for a double boiler) and within 5 minutes, the milk was at 70F.  I immediately turned off the heat source and moved the pan.  As per instructions, I sprinkled the starter onto the milk, waited 5 minutes, incorporated (whisk; up-and-down motion, 20 strokes); added diluted CaCl and incorporated as with Aroma B; added diluted rennet and incorporated as before.  My temperature reading was 73F.  I don't know how the temperature went up 3 degrees, unless the temp was still increasing from the initial warming... I don't believe adding starters and/or other ingredients causes a chemical heat process thingy??

Then I began the wait.  I covered the pot and let sit for 3 hours.  At three hours, the milk temperature was 73.1F.  So, I am guessing that is room temperature in my home.  The pot was not under a light or near a heat source.  The knife could make a line, but the edges weren't "clean" and the mixture seemed to be spongey.  I recovered the pot and let it sit for another hour.  At the end of the fourth hour, the milk temp was holding at 73.1F.  Once again, the edges from cutting the curd were basically the same as previously. I read through the "Trouble Shooting" guide and concluded that I had needed to use more rennet.  Maybe I had received bad rennet/ rennet with a bad attitude? :)  So, since the milk mixture was a bust, I thought "What the hell?" and decided to add another 1/4 tsp rennet diluted in 1/4 cup filtered water. I stirred to incorporate; covered the pot and let it stand.  After 1 hour the mixture was like soup.  At 2 hours, I thought it might be setting-up as there was clear liquid setting on top. So, I gave it one more hour. At three hours (7 hours grand total) it was still mush. Lots of whey on top but the curd was like a thin porridge.

So. So... so??  Any clues as to what I did wrong? One thing? One step? All things, all steps? :) :) :)   I sure would appreciate *any* advice you have (unless it's "Please stop making cheese") :)    I'd like to test the rennet; but the only thing dairy I have in the house is some heavy whipping cream.  Can I test rennet with cream and how do I do it? I've read where you take a cup of milk and heat it to 90F... dilute 1/4tsp liquid rennet in 1/4C water... add 2Tbsp rennet/water mix into milk and watch for floccs.  Do you agree with this?

Thank you so much! Truly, I am looking forward to giving this another go.  I was so afraid of failing. And I did. So now it's time to succeed! :)

“Never promise a mouse cheese on a Sunday cause by Friday night, it will be squeaking at your door.”
― Charmaine J Forde

Offline Danbo

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Re: Crème Fraîche Cottage Cheese - Total Fail - Help!
« Reply #1 on: February 07, 2015, 03:11:24 PM »
Hi Cindybman,

First and foremost: Make cheese and don't let a bad start stop you! :-) We have all tried to fail and I think that anyone making cheese fails from time to time - at least I do!

I haven't made cottage cheese myself, so you probably need to wait for someone else to answer... I'm just thinking: Maybe you expected the coagulated milk to be firmer that actually is the case? Adding rennet to milk that has started to coagulate does not help.

Keep up the spirit!

:-) Danbo

Offline SOSEATTLE

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Re: Crème Fraîche Cottage Cheese - Total Fail - Help!
« Reply #2 on: February 07, 2015, 11:55:34 PM »
Hi,

Most likely the issues you had were due to, at least in part, the type of milk. High temperature pasteurization alters the milk structure and prevents strong curd formation. Do you have access to any low temperature pasteurized milk? It makes a big difference :D.


Susan

Offline Frodage

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Re: Crème Fraîche Cottage Cheese - Total Fail - Help!
« Reply #3 on: February 08, 2015, 10:01:21 AM »
Hi Cindybman,
Did you try to strain the curds from the whey, even when they were soup? Those curds might taste delicious! The thing I've learned from the last three months of cheese making is, if I'm aiming to make one kind of cheese, but it turns out to be another (possibly a totally new undiscovered type of cheese), eat it anyway and keep trying.
-Jim

Offline Stinky

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Re: Crème Fraîche Cottage Cheese - Total Fail - Help!
« Reply #4 on: February 08, 2015, 05:55:10 PM »
In my experience, you have to turn off the heat a tiny bit before the target, or the pot keeps warming it up a bit longer. But 3 degrees don't make a difference. Ultra-pasteurized milk would make a difference, though. That's be my first guess. I doubt the blobs would have made a big difference, or shaking.
It's probably a pathogen.

Offline OzzieCheese

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Re: Crème Fraîche Cottage Cheese - Total Fail - Help!
« Reply #5 on: February 09, 2015, 12:27:39 AM »
@Cindybman,  Most definitely DONT GIVE UP - it wasn't your fault.  The HHST process is more destructive than normal Pasteurisation in that to get it to that temperature it has already past the point where proteins and milk have been almost total alerted and will not form a good curd.  My recommendation - find a better milk, because you did everything else correctly.  Sorry, but 'Real food at Walmart' is an oxymoron - and the 'Real food' and 'Walmart' should probably never be used in the same sentence.       
Usually if one person asks a question then 10 are waiting for the answer - Please ask !

Offline John@PC

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Re: Crème Fraîche Cottage Cheese - Total Fail - Help!
« Reply #6 on: February 14, 2015, 11:21:22 AM »
I agree with the others about avoiding HTST / Ultra pasteurized (which is what all the organic milks I've seen are) and if you can't get the low-temp pasteurized go with your regular store brand.  From your description it did sound like your curd was starting to set and when you added the second addition of rennet the curd structure was shattered (not sure that's the right term; maybe unscrambling a scrambled egg is better :-\.

Offline Al Lewis

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Re: Crème Fraîche Cottage Cheese - Total Fail - Help!
« Reply #7 on: February 14, 2015, 12:04:57 PM »
As everyone else I agree you can't make anything but breakfast cereal with Ultra-Pasteurized milk.  Don't even try.  Want something simple and delicious to get you back on track?  Go buy a half gallon of half and half from the store, not ultra-pasteurized the stuff in the waxed cardboard box, add 1/4 teaspoon of Flora Danica or MM100 or any other meso you have lying around in the box and hold the top closed and shake up. Let it sit out overnight on the counter in the cardboard container at room temperature, a warm room works great.  In the morning pull open the top of the cardboard container and put the contents into some cheesecloth and let it drain.  When it drains you'll have cream cheese.  Add a little salt and make yourself a cheesecake with it.  I promise it will be the best cheesecake you ever had!  By the way, never give up.  You wouldn't believe the ridiculous things I've done trying to make cheese and failed.  It will all come to you with time.  Want hear about a REAL screw up?  I once did four gallons of milk in a pot and let it set to coagulate for cambozola.  I figured the larger the dollops of curd you put into the mold the better so I stuck a 8" diameter mold into the pot to the bottom and then tried to flip it over.  Took all morning to clean up the mess.  Seems it does't have any structural integrity at all.  Might as well been liquid milk.  NOT a pretty sight but I learned from that.  At my wife's insistence. Actually there were threats involved regarding my future in cheese making. LOL  You can read about it here.
« Last Edit: February 14, 2015, 01:52:12 PM by Al Lewis »
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Offline Danbo

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Re: Crème Fraîche Cottage Cheese - Total Fail - Help!
« Reply #8 on: February 14, 2015, 01:42:55 PM »
Ha ha... Great! :-)

Offline Frodage

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Re: Crème Fraîche Cottage Cheese - Total Fail - Help!
« Reply #9 on: February 14, 2015, 08:40:54 PM »
...I learned from that.  At my wife's insistence.
Al, that was really funny. I gave you a cheese to ease the pain in my gut from laughing so hard. Good job!
-Jim

Offline cindybman

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Re: Crème Fraîche Cottage Cheese - Total Fail - Help!
« Reply #10 on: February 19, 2015, 11:53:12 AM »
Oh No! For some reason, I wasn't receiving notifications of posts! I am *so* sorry that I haven't responded to everyone's advice... I never meant to be rude (never XXXX-off the people helping you, right??) :)

Thank you for all you wrote.  I never realized HHST Pasteurized was not the same as plain ol' Pasteurized.  And here I thought I had bad rennet!  Thank goodness I didn't throw the rennet away.

Before I realized I had answers and advice here at the Forum, I had made the cottage cheese again; this time they were out of the HHST Past. milk so I bought another brand that was Homogenized only.  It worked perfectly!  (My curd cutting leaves a lot to be desired; but I was very pleased with the end result.)

Thank you *so* much for all your replies! I truly appreciate it!
“Never promise a mouse cheese on a Sunday cause by Friday night, it will be squeaking at your door.”
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Offline Frodage

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Re: Crème Fraîche Cottage Cheese - Total Fail - Help!
« Reply #11 on: February 19, 2015, 10:54:57 PM »
Yay! Glad to hear it!
-Jim

Offline SOSEATTLE

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Re: Crème Fraîche Cottage Cheese - Total Fail - Help!
« Reply #12 on: February 19, 2015, 10:59:17 PM »
Have a cheese for your successful make and keep up the good work  :D.



Susan

Offline cindybman

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Re: Crème Fraîche Cottage Cheese - Total Fail - Help!
« Reply #13 on: February 19, 2015, 11:50:03 PM »
Thanks Frodage and Soseattle!
“Never promise a mouse cheese on a Sunday cause by Friday night, it will be squeaking at your door.”
― Charmaine J Forde

Offline Al Lewis

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Re: Crème Fraîche Cottage Cheese - Total Fail - Help!
« Reply #14 on: February 20, 2015, 11:43:38 AM »
Congratulations!!  Perseverance pays off once again!!
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