Author Topic: How to prepare mother culture  (Read 1848 times)

Offline munteaniur

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How to prepare mother culture
« on: June 30, 2015, 06:33:51 AM »
Hi everyone.
I'm relatively new on this forum, sorry if I'm repeating an existing thread. I read here many success stories (and sometimes failures) of the forum members and have the urge to start making some cheese and enter this beautiful community.

I have some questions about the preparation of a mother culture.
Recently I bought a sachet of dried mesophilic culture (it has the same bacteria set as Flora Danica, but on the package I see only "Mesophilic cheese starter culture", here's the item: http://www.ebay.com/itm/121239458580) and want to prepare a mother culture.

Bacteria:
Lactococcus lactis subsp. lactis
Lactococcus lactis subsp. cremoris
Lactococcus lactis subsp.lactis biovar. diacetylactis
Leuconostoc mesenteroides subsp. cremoris

1. The milk to use. I have only UHT milk and raw milk and don't know which one is the best for my purpose... For making cheese I will use raw milk (I have no choice...) but I'm still confused with the mother culture recipes, that advise to use low fat or skim milk. Is it ok to use UHT or raw milk will go better?

2. The time of mother culture preparation. I have no idea how to find out when the culture is ready if I pour the entire sachet in 1l of milk (specific consistency, smell etc). I only know that the separation of the whey means that the culture is over-ripened and too acidic. But then, when it's the right time to freeze it (not too soon, not too late)?

The seller told me that the culture can be used as direct set, but is advised to make a mother culture. And I agree, given the fact that the sachet is small and it's a waste to use 1/4 tsp for each 1 gallon batch...

I'm new to cheese making and humbly hope to get someone's help in my journey.
Have a nice day!
Iur.

Offline jmason

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Re: How to prepare mother culture
« Reply #1 on: June 30, 2015, 10:14:42 AM »
Use the raw milk, at least I would, not sure if the uht would inhibit coagulation to the point that you couldn't see the "set".  Heat the milk to at least 180 F, I do this in a quart mason jar in a water bath, cool to under 100 F and add your culture.  Cover and leave at room temp until the milk has gelled/set/coagulated, it becomes semi solid and says in place when the jar is tipped.  Normally a day will do it.  I clean the hell out of my trays and then give them a 30 second dip in boiling or near boiling water, fill the trays, put into a plastic bag and into the freezer.  When frozen empty trays into a new plastic bag and keep frozen until ready to use.  You can also use the mother culture fresh which is what I do when I am making cheese on a regular basis.  Inoculate milk prepared as above with an ice cube of your culture and repeat the culture process until set, as above, then refrigerate.  Use this within 2 weeks, 10 days is better.  Discard after this time.  A DVI culture is much simpler and easier to use and less fraught with peril and it gives you many more choices but I have made some very nice cheeses with a mother culture and continue to use them, then again I am a trained microbiologist so I just love to grow things.  Good luck and welcome.


John
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Offline munteaniur

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Re: How to prepare mother culture
« Reply #2 on: June 30, 2015, 11:45:38 AM »
Wow, thanks a lot jmason for the exhaustive explanation!
The problem is, I don't have much choice... The shipping from ebay or other online stores is very expensive (double or even triple the price of the product) so I ordered a mesophilic starter and want to prepare a mother culture for further use.

As I read from your post and other sources, the mother culture can be re-cultivated from the frozen culture. Is the process the same? Does it matter how much mother culture you use to make other MC?
And another (maybe stupid) question, if I don't ask too much: when you use frozen cubes of mother culture, the process is the same as with the dry culture? You just use an ice cube and wait the same time or the acidification is faster with MC?

Sorry for the annoying questions, but this is the place where all the cheese gurus can give you a hand and I cannot resist.

Thanks again.
Iur.

Offline Boofer

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Re: How to prepare mother culture
« Reply #3 on: June 30, 2015, 11:37:20 PM »
You just use an ice cube and wait the same time or the acidification is faster with MC?
Because you saved a large active population when you froze the MC, most of the bacteria will resume where they left off. That means the process moves more quickly.

Welcome to the forum, Iur. Would you please update your profile to include your location? Thanks.

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Offline jmason

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Re: How to prepare mother culture
« Reply #4 on: July 01, 2015, 07:41:15 AM »
preparing a new mother culture from a frozen ice cube is pretty much the same as from the powdered sachet.  There is a practical limit to how many times you can subculture before getting a new mother.  Much depends on how clean you are in all the steps but a certain amount of contamination is bound to occur in a home environment.  For a thermophilic culture you can use yogurt which is probably available to you locally.  Only issue is I have never seen a yogurt made with any strains of streptococcus and certainly not helviticus, so it is a bit of a limitation on the types you can make and for me I want the strep in there since it is a known producer of vitamin k2, but that is another story. Personally I look for a yogurt that has 5 different species/strains in it, Fage is one such yogurt if that is available.  You will probably pick up some interesting strains in the raw milk you are using that will add a regional character (hopefully and not make it just bad) or terrior so long as you don't pasteurize the milk.  Good luck 

John
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Offline Ten

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Re: How to prepare mother culture
« Reply #5 on: August 04, 2017, 01:57:44 PM »
This is an old thread but it says NEW and it shows up on the first page. I am returning to cheese making as an adult. I used to make cheese when I was a kid but that was a while ago.
I make a C101 culture using Sailor's method the night before last. Froze four trays last evening and saved enough for the Baby Swiss cheese that I am going to make this weekend.
Making the mother went just as Sailor said that it would. My wife put it in the fridge, one quart at 2 PM yesterday and the other at 3 PM. I do not have a PH meter yet so she went by tipping the bottle and looking at consistency. It was like runny yogurt. When I poured it into the trays it was somewhat lumpy but looked like a great consistency. Sorry I did not get pictures. I had a little less than a cup left after filling the four ice cube trays and it looks like enough for the 4 gallons of milk that I will be using for the baby Swiss. This is such a great forum for helping a newbie getting started in cheese making. Thank you all for all of the information.

Offline awakephd

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Re: How to prepare mother culture
« Reply #6 on: August 04, 2017, 08:31:01 PM »
Welcome to the forum - as you have already discovered, it is a great place to learn!
-- Andy