OK, the new cheese is in the mold now for about 2 hours and ... well, some improvement, but certainly not great. I am really beginning to wonder ...
1) picked up fresh milk (still at body temp)
3) drop to 88F using an ice bath
4) PH 6.61 at 88F
5) stir in 2g calcium (milk amount 22l) and let absorb for 5 min
6) stir in culture (a little less than last batch) and let it do its magic at a steady 88/89F
7) after 30 min I add 5.5ml 1:9600 rennet (reduced from last batch as floc time was too short). PH is 6.63 (increase, but I always seem to get this initially regardless of the cheese I am making - I wonder if this has to do with the calcium and the quick temp drop right after pasteurization, it might take half hour to actually settle in and read the PH correctly?)
flocculation after 16 minutes
9) cut 48 minutes after addition of rennet (3 x floc) and let rest for 5 minutes - curd is soft and not what could be called the traditional 'clean cut', but it holds.
10) stirring and gradually heating to 100 over the next 40 minutes (slight mating happening as I stir, mostly at 96F after 30 min)
11) reached 100F and PH is 6.5 - rest 5 minutes, then begin draining whey to within 1-2 inches of settled curd
12) fill separate container with drained (warm) whey and place cheesecloth lined mold inside.
13) scoop curd in almost a single go into mold and place follower on top with 5 lbs weight - also fill a separate small mold for testing purposes - PH is at 6.47
14) flip after 5 minutes and remove from whey bath
15) flip after 15, again after 15 then after 30 and just now after another hour - PH now is at 6.33 (room temp at 76/78F)
I know, I kind of missed my target of 6.25, but I was afraid it would turn too acidic again ... I hope it will acidify enough over the coming hours (will test the little guy when time comes).
The problem is that it still is not compacted nicely - it has some signs of porousness as seen on my earlier batches. At this point I am also wondering if it has to do with the mold I am using. I specifically bought this 'tomme' mold, but I have never made hard (or semi hard) cheese in this kind of mold before. It only has 8 small holes in the sides and something like 4 holes in the bottom. This is an 8inch mold - up until now I had only used 4.5 inch molds that don't even have bottoms. I might be totally wrong, but it just seems that with this mold the whey simply can't escape and especially since I am only pressing with 5 lbs, I simply can't compact the pate enough to thoroughly expel when and mat the curd to form a uniform pate. The other oddity is that the mold is so heavy duty that it must be built to take 300lbs of weight no problem ... am I using the wrong mold, could that be the cause for the trouble that I have not experienced with any other semi hard or hard cheeses regardless of the cooking temp and PH at time of drainage?
Many thanks, Cornelius