Author Topic: I am really frustrated with New England Cheesemaking's cultures for soft cheese!  (Read 1939 times)

Offline tangerine

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I have tried making cream cheese, according to Ricki's book, the uncooked version.
And the mascapone, with culture, not tartaric acid.

The cream cheese turned out once, the first time, and in the last 6 times, it hasn't.  I found another recipe here using homemade buttermilk meso starter culture and rennet, and it did turn out, but the flavor was off, for me personally.

I tried the mascapone last night with the creme fraiche starter and nothing!

Cream is too expensive for me to keep just ending up flushing down the toilet or put into bathwater.  I thought these cheeses were supposed to be easy?  I've made cottage cheese with no problems and all the cooked fresh ones (paneer, whole milk ricotta, etc).  But I really want to make cream cheese and mascapone.    Any ideas for how to help me?  I just don't get it?  I've been making homemade yogurt for years!  I never thought I would go through this much money for nothing usable.


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Offline John (CH)

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Hi Tangerine, sad to hear that news, don't get discouraged!

If you search some of my records here on this forum, I also have trouble with "simple" soft cheeses, some days I thing they are tougher than pressed cheeses. FYI, there are some reviews of Ricki's book in the Library.

For the Cream Cheese recipe you used from this website was it this one or a different one? For that making, how was the flavor off? That recipe has worked for me twice, first records here, second here. However in both of those recipes I had a fight to get good rennet action - whey drainage, I think because I was using store bought Ultra-Pasteurized (almost biologically dead) Half & Half cow's cream. What milk did you use? Also, when you used the homemade meso starter from buttermilk was it good and ripe-viscous? Any more details would be helpful in finding the problem.

Lastly, since my fights with UP cream, I've been making the lower fat version called Neufchatel with this recipe and using store bought pasteurized cow's milk with very good success.

Offline tangerine

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I have looked and found your various posts on soft cheeses--which inspired me to keep at it and gave me new ideas!  I have seen the reviews of her book in the library too.  I think I added one, but I don't remember now.

The flavor wasn't "off" as in "went wrong" it was off, as in, well, it sort of tasted like tangy butter, with a slight chalky after-mouth-feel (I did use half cream and half milk).  When I did it the first time, using NECheesemaking's culture and 100% cream, the flavor was more like store bought cream cheese, and using the buttermilk culture (yes, it was viscous--and far cheaper than mail ordering!!!), well, it's tangier.  I found this to be true with the mozzarella I made with it also, but that bothered me less.  I know cream cheese is supposed to have a little tang, but I don't know.  Maybe I ought to just get used to it.  It's cheaper, easier, I worry less, and more self-reliant.

I use farm fresh raw milk and cream.  I prefer 100% cream, cream cheese, I prefer the mouth-feel of it. Yes, I used those directions, but with half cream and half milk, so when I get more cream this week, I will try with a smaller amount and do it again.  I was a little confused about the amount of rennet to use.  I'm wondering, since my problems seem to be with cream based cheeses, should I use a touch more rennet?

And how to make mascapone?  All the other recipes call for cooking it to about 185 degrees F, and adding an acid.  I think it will turn out "cooked" tasting.  I like the idea of a cultured mascapone. 

Thanks for your encouragement!  I won't give up.  I'll try again this week, when I get more cream. I just needed a little encouragement.  It's been week after week with nothing but ruined cream that it just got frustrating.

Offline John (CH)

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Tangerine, sorry can't help you with Mascarpone as never tried. I regularly heat my store bought past & homog cow's 1% milk to that temp to re-pasteurize it before using it to make yogurt and I don't get a burnt taste.

Manufactured mesophilic cultures are low cost as you use so little of them, but it sounds like it will require another order, in which case you can get other stuff ;D.

I think Tea in her Cream Cheese making records uses 100% raw cream and a slightly different method but I can't be sure.

So what are you using for rennet and how much and are you diluting first and thoroughly stirring in? Sorry but my Cream Cheeses didn't get a good curd set because I think I was using UP Half & Half.

Keep on trying!

Offline tangerine

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I am using liquid vegetable rennet (as I have family members that are vegetarian).
I dilute it into 2 T cold spring water.  I'm going to try 2 batches again this weekend, both with 100% cream, one with the 1 packet I have left and 1 with the homemade meso starter. 

I seem to remember you saying that you used 1/4t rennet per 2 quart batch, but my rennet says it is double strength, so use less.  So I did.  This is so tricky, but it will be worth it, once I figure it out! Thanks again for the encouragement!


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Offline goatherdess

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Remember that failures can always be baked into a cake, bread, etc. rather than tossed; a way to save some if it. It kind of sounds like your cultures aren't active. I store mine in the freezer all the time and take them out just before use. They last about 3 years that way.

Offline DeejayDebi

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Tangerine -

I have used the NE Cheese Veggie rennet for the past 6 months because a local brew store is trying to add cheese supplies and I want to keep it going They seem to be buying all their stuff from NE Cheese. Anyway it has worked well for me. Not as firm as animal rennets I have used but it works well.

I can't say anything about the cultures yet I did buy some NE Cheese's Flora Danica and Proprionic Shermanii tonight so I will see how good they are compared to Dairy Connections or GlenGarry Cheese shortly. Maybe this weekend ...

Just hang in there hon. I would try checking some of the recipes here on the forum and trying them at least they are try and true. Ricci's book is full of mistakes it could simply be a typo causing your grief.

Online MrsKK

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Since you have access to raw milk, try making clabber to use as your starter culture.  It has a much milder taste than buttermilk - I've tried using buttermilk as a culture and the results about gag me because it is so tangy.

Here's a link to a thread about clabber from the Keeping a Family Cow forum:  http://familycow.proboards.com/index.cgi?board=Food&action=display&thread=18256  If you have any questions, just let me know.

In the summer weather, my skimmed milk will clabber in about 3 days, using about 1 cup of milk for the first batch.  I use about a quarter cup of that to culture the next 2 cups of milk, which takes about two days.  Usually by the third generation, the clabber is very mild tasting and makes a really good culture for Neufchatel.  Just make sure to only use a tea towel or other lightweight cloth to cover the jar or bowl that you have your clabber in.  Covering with an air-tight lid will cause it to taste really bad.

If you can't bring yourself to taste the clabber, just wait until you are to the 4th or 5th generation and it should work really well for you.  The clabber left after you take out your culture can be fed to chickens, pigs, dogs, or cats.  They love it!

I've been using all of my cream for making butter, glorious butter.