Author Topic: Shelf life of various molds  (Read 193 times)

Offline LadyLiberty

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Shelf life of various molds
« on: April 06, 2015, 07:12:06 PM »
Is there a chart for this?  I'm assuming freezing is the best way to keep them.  Please correct me if I'm wrong.  Do different molds have different shelf lives?

Offline Al Lewis

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Re: Shelf life of various molds
« Reply #1 on: April 06, 2015, 07:31:41 PM »
Each mold should have this info in it's spec sheet.
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Offline andreark

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Re: Shelf life of various molds
« Reply #2 on: April 06, 2015, 09:40:14 PM »
I generally vacuum seal my dried starters and molds, then I freeze them. (probably overkill)  I have been able to use them for over a year.  I'm too chicken to try for any longer.

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Offline John@PC

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Re: Shelf life of various molds
« Reply #3 on: April 07, 2015, 06:02:00 PM »
Maybe Kathrin other old cheese will weigh in but from what I've learned if you freeze the cultures as soon as you get them (and they haven't sat out in the mailbox for a day in the hot summer) they will last well beyond the expiration date.  They will "age" in that the virility of the bacteria / mold will decline with time but I've got cultures going into their 3rd year and still making good cheese.  I wish there was a way to "proof" cultures like you proof bread yeast.  That said the price of cultures is a fraction of your cost to make cheese so if you want to be conservative I would go with 6 mo. past expy. date max. if they have been kept frozen since the time you got them.

And LadyLiberty, I've passed a cheese your way because you ask good questions and we all learn from the answers that are generated. 

Offline Kern

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Re: Shelf life of various molds
« Reply #4 on: April 07, 2015, 07:29:15 PM »
I wish there was a way to "proof" cultures like you proof bread yeast. 

This isn't exactly "proofing" a culture in the context above but there is a very good, accurate and reproducible way to check on the virility of any starter but you need a pH meter (and buffer solutions to calibrate it accurately).  Here is the basic idea:

Take a quart of any standard milk (P&H is fine) and hold it at the starter ripening temperature.
Take the pH of the milk at the above temperature.
Add 1/4 level teaspoon of a freshly opened packet of culture.
Sprinkle it on top and let sit for five minutes.
Stir it in for one minute.
Measure the pH at 1 hour, 2 hours, 3 hours, 4 hours, etc for as long as it takes to generate a decent curve of the pH drop versus time.  The first time I'd take the pH at 1/2 hour and 1.5 hours in case the pH drop really takes off.
When you draw a graph of pH versus time you have a standard for a fresh sample of the starter in question.
At some future date repeat this for the same bag of culture and compare the two graphs.
This will give you an excellent idea of the viability of the culture.   :)

Offline andreark

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Re: Shelf life of various molds
« Reply #5 on: April 08, 2015, 01:42:22 PM »
To Kern,

That's a great way to check the viability of various cultures.  Proofing in bread making isn't actually ascertaining the
ability of the yeast to leaven.  Proofing in baking breads is actually letting the dough progress through one of it's rises,
generally the final rise after the loaf is shaped.

I will use your 'test' every couple of months to see if my cultures are still alive and kicking.

I would also like to give you a cheese for your great suggestion.

andreark

Offline Kern

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Re: Shelf life of various molds
« Reply #6 on: April 08, 2015, 02:49:09 PM »
andreark

Thanks for the cheese.  I'm glad my idea will help.  You might have to adjust culture loads and times somewhat but the idea is to use enough culture to get reasonably fast results but not so much that even a weak culture would produce decent looking results.  Share the information you develop.  It would be cool to be able to relate real shelf lives with storage conditions for various cultures.  I think that there is a natural bias among culture makers to estimate shelf lives significantly shorter than they would be for DVS cultures stored vacuum packed in a freezer.  Furthermore, most "use by" dates are likely created via the WAGNER method:  Wild-Ass Guess Not Easily Refuted.   ;)

Offline qdog1955

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Re: Shelf life of various molds
« Reply #7 on: April 08, 2015, 02:57:16 PM »
Kern-----so your saying I have been using the WAGNER method for years and now have a name for it----this is great---been laughing my arse off for the last 5 minutes----you get a cheese for that one.
Qdog
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Offline Kern

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Re: Shelf life of various molds
« Reply #8 on: April 08, 2015, 10:30:51 PM »
Qdog, Thanks for the cheese.  I think I learned the term WAGNER in engineering school.  Then again, maybe just saying that is a WAGNER.  Who knows?   :o

Online Gregore

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Re: Shelf life of various molds
« Reply #9 on: April 09, 2015, 12:15:59 AM »
When I first started to make cheese last year  I was having trouble get the milk to drop in ph in a reasonable time frame as I was using really fresh raw milk and its buffering ability was off the charts , some times I would wait 3 hrs to get a 0.02 drop , so I read here  on the forums some where about starters , so now I have been making up a starter for each culture I want to use the night before . The bonus is I know before I start if they are active or not as the starter will have coagulated as if I had added renet .

Added bonus is you do not have to wait at all for ph drop to start

Recipe is :  1 cup Ro water 1 tb spoon powdered milk  and 1/16 tsp starter,  thermos are put in the oven with the light on to make them a little warmer .   

This is for 3 to 4 gallons of milk.

Offline Kern

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Re: Shelf life of various molds
« Reply #10 on: April 09, 2015, 09:52:13 AM »
Your approach is a bit unusual for a DVS culture but it is not unheard of.  My only concern with it is that you may be putting too much emphasis on initial pH drop.  The raw milk I work with has a pH of about 6.7 while warming up at about 70F, when I first measure it.  I simply add the DVS at around 80F, let it sit for 5 minutes then stir it in while continuing to heat the milk.  I then start the ripening clock when the correct temperature is reached.  I've never had a problem with renneting or hitting the goal pH of the cheese.  I hope that you aren't making your decision to do this simply based on a 0.02 pH drop.  This is just about the limit of accuracy of a $100 pH meter.  My concern with doing it your way is that I so flood the cheese milk with charged up starter that I hit the goal pH in the curd before it is adequately drained or pressed.  I think it is much better to have the draining and pressing done when you still have a couple of hours to hit the goal pH for the cheese you are making.  If you are early on pH then you'll be on the low side of the goal when done and have a different cheese than you intended.   ???

Offline awakephd

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Re: Shelf life of various molds
« Reply #11 on: April 09, 2015, 11:53:21 AM »
The WAGNER method sounds a lot like my recent design of a new cheese press using the TLAR specification - That Looks About Right. :)
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Online Gregore

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Re: Shelf life of various molds
« Reply #12 on: April 10, 2015, 01:36:04 AM »
My problem was not that I was waiting to hit a certain drop in ph, my problem was  the ph / timing markers were way off . The milk would be heated to 87 degrees for the tomme recipe then measure ph it would be 6.66 I would add powdered starters then I would wait  up to 3 hrs for it to start to drop even a little bit.  Yes that is right zero movement of ph for 3 hrs  with brand new starters. Also all the other markers would be way off all the way
along .   One time I started at 8 in the morning and it was not ready for brining until 12 at night , that is one long day for a single cheese . 

Your right about speeding the markers / timing up too much . The first time I tried this I used 2 cup of each starter and it push my timing way to fast . Now with the 1 cup it seems about right  for both the tomme that I make and the reblochons .   I have the added plus of using way less starter powder  so they last longer  and I also get to proof them, so when they start to go off it will be very obvious .