Author Topic: Crumbly cheddar  (Read 2335 times)

Offline SANDQ

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Crumbly cheddar
« on: April 12, 2010, 05:03:17 PM »
I have been attempting to make a stirred curd variety of cheddar from my own goats milk for 7 weeks. As I have access to a cheap supply of milk I have made 10 batches in this time. I took my first bite of 1 today, I know its to early ( 4 weeks aged, strong but nutty taste ) But it was so dry and crumbly, I did vary from the recipe, through ignorance and air dried it, compared to my first batch which according to the recipe should be aged as soon as it comes out of the press in the fridge and is still in there and far more moist.I have read on this site that over rippening can cause dry crumbly cheese so can some one give me some PH levels to work to, or is it that I have airdried it and sucked all the moisture out of it.
I would also like to add that up until today's batch I was using milk sterilized to 82C without using CaCl2  I was overdosing on rennet and was not working to a floc point!
Allot of parameters to get wrong, can any one help?  thanks Q


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Offline linuxboy

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Re: Crumbly cheddar
« Reply #1 on: April 12, 2010, 05:15:20 PM »
So taste is fine, but the texture is completely wrong? Does it strike your tongue as slightly bitter? How bitter? Can you taste an acidic tang? Is the crumbliness more like having dust in your mouth, or more like bits of curd disintegrating and falling apart?

Off the top of my head, possible causes

- Too much acid when stirring
- Not a good enough knit due to too much acid
- too rapid of a loss of humidity, not enough moisture in the cheese for proper breaking down of proteins (this needs water. this is why a dry parm takes much longer than a moist havarti)
- Too rough of curd treatment, not a good enough set, leading to fat loss when stirring, or curd shattering. Combined with poor knit especially, this makes for a crumbly cheese.
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Offline SANDQ

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Re: Crumbly cheddar
« Reply #2 on: April 13, 2010, 03:32:56 PM »
Hey Linuxboy,The taste is fine not acidic at all, I gave it to potential clients to taste today, and all of them said they would be pepared to buy it as it is! But Im not happy with it personally and want to get it right, Mind you its not going to stop me selling what I have already produced! My recipie ( Carrol ) says to place at 50 f as soon as it is out of the press, I didnt, I air dried for several days, I think to much, before it was bandaged and put in the cave. The crumblyness is dusty.Im very sure it is not due to bad curd set as I was using twice the amount of rennet needed and on your advice I looked up flocculation and was getting a 12 x multiplier from milk sterilized to 82 C and no CaCl added.Im very aware of damage to curd so I am very gentle when I stir.I also was I think using double the amount of starter than need. Now, the bacth I did yesterday was from raw milk I added the correct amount of stater, the correct amount of rennet. My floc point ( spinning bowl method ) was excactly 15 mins after adding the rennet,( can you just confirm for me do I take my x3 from when I added rennet or from when my set occured? ) I got squeeky curd and when it came out of the press It was comparble to any pics of newly pressed cheses I have seen on this site, but that was now my 10th batch so there is progression in my knowledge.You mentioned acidity, I have been trying to source this in formation here but am getting nowhere, I am understanding that after I have added my starter the ideal time to add my rennet is not a time thing but when the ph reaches a certain level? can you please explain this a litle more and give me some ph values. Although it seems my customers are happy with what I am producing I want to get better and make a conistant cheese.
Thanks for your help   Quentin

Offline linuxboy

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Re: Crumbly cheddar
« Reply #3 on: April 13, 2010, 03:56:25 PM »
Ah, got it. Then the cause is twofold. One, your proteins were denatured too much from the heat, and two, the acidity was too high.

Ricky is wrong.. maybe that's too strong... I should say I prefer a more conventional cheddar approach to hers... you don't put it in at 50f as soon as it's out of the press. Cheese is a living thing, it needs a gradual adjustment, and also a day or three to air dry at a moderate humidity level of 70% or so, and room temp or a little cooler. Air drying for a few days will not make your cheese dry. By this time, there's little you can do -- the cheese is made in the vat.

I'm a little lost on the 12x multiplier. A multiplier is not something you derive. It's a fixed constant. Flocculation is the point of when the milk gels over, when it tips from a liquid to a gel. The multiplier is fixed to give you a total time from the point you add rennet to the point when you cut the curd. So if it takes 15 minutes for the milk to gel from the point you add rennet, you take that 15 mins, and for cheddar a 3x multiplier is good, and you get 45 minutes total that you need to wait from the point you added rennet to the point you cut the curd.

Your latest make with at 15 min floc and stopping when the cheese was squeaky sounds just about perfect. I can't see the cheese, but if the curds taste good, the cheese should as well.

The ideal time to add rennet after adding culture depends on what you're doing. If you use a bulk starter at 1.5-2%, you can add rennet pretty much right away. If you use DVI culture, you need to wait 30-45 mins for the culture to wake up. When it wakes up, there should be a very slight drop of .01-.1. It's not about a specific pH, but a slight drop in pH.

We had a discussion of cheddar pH values before already, but to recap, rennet at 6.5 (this is about what fresh milk is, higher is OK, a bit lower is OK, too), drain at 6.05-6.25. Lower will give you crumblier cheddar. Cheddar until 5.4, then mill and salt and press.
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Offline SANDQ

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Re: Crumbly cheddar
« Reply #4 on: April 13, 2010, 05:13:07 PM »
Thanks again for that.
It is all becoming more clear by the day. I took a photo of my last batch so I will post it as soon as I get the chance. Im using a DVI starter and follow the intructions on the packet which says leave to rippen for 60 mins for a hard chees. I have a store room which is quite humid, no windows, thick stone walls and stays at a steady 60f Ill try air drying there for my next batch. How can I tell Im not over drying it? Thanks for the ph levels, good old mum is sending litmus paper from the uk. I maked a stirred curd variety so dont stack and mill.


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Offline linuxboy

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Re: Crumbly cheddar
« Reply #5 on: April 13, 2010, 05:37:42 PM »
The air drying is for rind prep. You want to eliminate moisture to provide an inhospitable place for molds, yeasts, etc to live. If you put it into a humid environment right away, there's all sorts of critters in the air that will colonize the rind. And if they colonize, even if you wrap, before the rind is ready for it, they may penetrate the rind, or grow too much too fast, or create a similar problem. This is one of those small tricks/steps that helps to produce a superior product.
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Offline SANDQ

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Re: Crumbly cheddar
« Reply #6 on: April 14, 2010, 05:15:11 PM »
ok can we take this step by step? " before the rind is ready for it "When is it ready for  it? how much rind needs to appear before I put in the cave. I have learned that temperature is a key factor to a great deal about cheese making. I was aging my cheese in a spare room, but now here in Bulgaria the days are getting hotter so my ambient temperature in the room changes every day, and  however much I try to keep things consistant, I keep getting a massive dry crust quicker and quicker!Also, my last cheddar make with a 15 minute floc time, was a fairly warm day. Today ( another make ) was colder I got a 21 minute floc time. I have been making soft cheese for 18 months now and noticed this, the colder it is the slower set is  Do I compensate the colder temp by adding more rennet or do I just go with the flow?

Offline Nick

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Re: Crumbly cheddar
« Reply #7 on: April 20, 2010, 11:54:01 AM »
does it melt well under the grill, is there a lot of fat content? Could be that you are cutting the curds too small, thus reducing the amount of fat. I had a similar problem, the blades on my vat where too fast and they were 'Shattering' the curds. I was ending up a very crumbly cheese that didn't melt well. Soon as I slowed down the blades in the vat the problem went away.

Offline linuxboy

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Re: Crumbly cheddar
« Reply #8 on: April 20, 2010, 12:22:25 PM »
Sorry, was a tad busy the past week. Nick makes a good point about shattering. The rind is ready when just the very outer edge is ever so slightly hard and does not feel wet. Having a hard time describing this to you... it "looks" right. It turns a slightly different color, feels smooth, doesn't seep whey... the water beads differently on it if it gets wet. This happens after about two days at room temp and 60-70% RH.

You are right, the temp is a huge deal. More so, temp fluctuations are a huge deal.

When you say the temp changes, do you mean ambient room temp, or the temp of the milk? The ambient room temp should not influence the floc time by that much if your milk is the same and your rennet is the same. But, overall temps to affect yield and milk in goats. Overall, you should not be changing the rennet amount. You change the floc multiplier and the cook time and temp sometimes with the seasons as the milk changes, and sometimes add CaCl2, but the rennet stays constant.
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Offline SANDQ

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Re: Crumbly cheddar
« Reply #9 on: April 21, 2010, 08:03:05 AM »
Thanks for that guys I understand busy people. As for melting cheese, I havn't tried it under a grill, but I have tried it in a white sauce as an experiment, and no it didnt melt, Mind you, this was from a cheese where I was using milk heated to 82 C . I now only use raw milk but will have to wait the 60 days ( another 50 days ) to see the results of that. As for my curd Im following linuxboy's advice I cut into 1 inch cubes and let heal for 10 mins then I cut into half inch cubes and let heal for 5 mins more. I see a problem  though, it is very difficult to judge cut size doing it horizontaly with a spatula, so was getting unequal size curd, which obviously cook at a differant rate, but Im slowly gettin better in my method and judgement. I only make 9.5 litre batches at a time so I hand stir very carefully this I have learnt!
As for temperature variations, It is ambient room temperature and more so direct sunlight. I innoculate according to the instructions temp on the packet then rap the bucket in towels to keep at the correct temp ( no problems there yet ) the same for renneting but when there is direct sunlight on the bucket when Im checking floc point it is quicker. Eurika!  Dont do it in Direct sunlight. I now air dry in my store room and Im gettin the results I should be now, again not in direct sunlight


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Offline Sailor Con Queso

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Re: Crumbly cheddar
« Reply #10 on: April 21, 2010, 09:00:57 AM »
Are you not heating your milk? Are you just warming to ambient room temperature? If so, that's a big problem.

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Offline SANDQ

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Re: Crumbly cheddar
« Reply #11 on: April 23, 2010, 04:38:18 AM »
Sorry perhaps I'm not making myself clear. I first heat the milk to 32C and add starter this is according to the manufactures instructions, then after 1 hour I heat to 35C and add the rennet again this is according to the instructions.
I make a stirred curd cheddar and the Carrol recipe I follow says to salt for 3 days after it comes out of the press. Is this correct or do I keep salting until the cheese dispels no more whey?

Offline Sailor Con Queso

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Re: Crumbly cheddar
« Reply #12 on: April 23, 2010, 07:11:08 AM »
You have to take manufacturers instructions with a grain of salt. For example the rennet from New England Cheese Supply calls for 1/2 teaspoon for 2 gallons of milk. That is WAY too much and will cause your curds to flocculate in 5 minutes or less - not good. Usually leads to rapid aging and bitter flavors. I use just 1/2 teaspoon for a 5 gallon make with focculation around 12 minutes.

Your salting procedure is not correct. All Cheddars including stirred-curd are salted before pressing, not brined. "...for 3 days after it comes out of the press". WOW. How are you salting? The salting before pressing is partly what gives cheddar it's texture. The recipe in Carroll's book calls for 2 tablespoons of salt for a 2 gallon batch. Be sure you are using non-iodized salt.
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Offline SANDQ

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Re: Crumbly cheddar
« Reply #13 on: April 23, 2010, 12:50:24 PM »
I live in Bulgaria and am using a local brand of rennet, and am getting a 15 minute flocculation by following the instructions, so I dont think I have a problem there.
Now salting, I follow the recipe in the 1996 Carrol book, In the chapter for goats milk cheeses, goats milk cheddar,
" remove the cheese from the press. Gently remove the cheesecloth. Rub salt on all  the surfaces of the cheese. Place the cheese to age at 50 F. Rub salt on the cheese once a day for the next 2 days. Turn the cheese daily. When the cheese is dry it may be waxed "
So if this is wrong, What is correct?   Thanks

Offline Sailor Con Queso

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Re: Crumbly cheddar
« Reply #14 on: April 23, 2010, 10:28:01 PM »
You said you were making a "stirred curd cheddar" from a Carrol recipe so I didn't realize that you were doing her Goat's Milk Cheddar". There is a huge difference between the 2 recipes.

Yes, her Goat's Milk recipe does call for salting the rind for 2 days, so I would not continue salting beyond that.

This recipe might make a good cheese, but this is not an aged cheese and to me is just not a "cheddar".

You might want to try the stirred curd cheddar or the traditional cheddar recipes in her book instead. I'm sure the goat cheese makers can tell you how to adjust the recipes and techniques.
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