Author Topic: Hi from NM....Help!  (Read 1696 times)

Offline littlemilkqueen

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Hi from NM....Help!
« on: August 01, 2010, 02:53:18 PM »
Hi all, I from NM and have 3 goats, 2 pure nubian and one 3/4 nubian....this is my 3rd year milking and making cheese and I am suddenly having a lot of problems with everything I do! while I have a million concerns (sigh) about so many failed attempts, does anyone know if liquid rennet can, after sitting in the fridge unused for months, gain bacteria? I still get curds very quickly but something is wrong!! Thanks!!!

Offline Sailor Con Queso

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Re: Hi from NM....Help!
« Reply #1 on: August 01, 2010, 04:00:28 PM »
Welcome. Love your screen name.

What do you mean "something is wrong"? Describe your problem(s). Why do you think there is bacteria in you rennet?
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Offline linuxboy

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Re: Hi from NM....Help!
« Reply #2 on: August 01, 2010, 04:41:12 PM »
Possible, but highly unlikely. Most rennets out there have benzoate.

What sort of trouble are you seeing?
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Offline littlemilkqueen

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Re: Hi from NM....Help!
« Reply #3 on: August 01, 2010, 05:24:54 PM »
Thanks for responding. My biggest and most obvious sign is the feta that gets holes like a sponge, rather than normal irregular holes where curds settled. and it feels like a sponge. I have read that this indicates a bacteria, possibly a foreign yeast? I always make ricotta from the whey left from making cheeses and each batch comes out a different consistency. Sometimes I can obviously see the clumps of ricotta in the whey and other times it is like a cloud that takes hours to strain! I have been trying the junket tablets but am not very familiar with how they react. As far as I can see the junket tablets take longer to set for curds than the double strength veggie. And, I ask if rennet goes bad, or could get a bacteria, as last year I had one batch of feta come out spongy and when I ordered new rennet I never had a spongy batch again. Just trying to troubleshoot what is happening and why I am getting strange inconsistencies. My biggest concern is that no one get ill from the cheese, and that nothing is wrong with my goats!  :P I just stretched out a batch of mozz and because I have had so many failures I am even questioning when the cheese does work! LOL Stretched like a dream and lovely and white! Just trying to troubleshoot and see what other people have expereinced and what you all know! Thanks!

Offline linuxboy

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Re: Hi from NM....Help!
« Reply #4 on: August 01, 2010, 05:37:06 PM »
Spongy curd is most often yeast contamination. Could also be coliform. Are you using raw milk?

I've never seen rennet be contaminated unless someone deliberately inoculated it with bacteria, and even then it took a lot. It's not your rennet.

How are you cleaning your cheesemaking gear? How are you milking? Fore-stripping?
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Offline littlemilkqueen

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Re: Hi from NM....Help!
« Reply #5 on: August 01, 2010, 05:41:39 PM »
Ok I am no scientist...coliform? What is that? (I will look it up too) I am using raw milk, figured my next step is pastuerize it and see. fore-stripping? I am taking that to mean milking the teats a bit before milking into the pot? I do that. I am generally just hot water and soap cleaning pots, but have also tried bleaching and allowing to dry as well. I wash the udders thoroughly before each milking as well, and dip teats after milking. I have tried designating a particular upper cupboard to hang cheese and cover it with another cloth, and even tried hanging in the fridge just to make sure no nasties in the air get in.

Offline littlemilkqueen

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Re: Hi from NM....Help!
« Reply #6 on: August 01, 2010, 05:43:03 PM »
Oh and, I know I can see how something has gotten into the feta, but would I know if something was in mozz or chevre?

Offline linuxboy

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Re: Hi from NM....Help!
« Reply #7 on: August 01, 2010, 05:54:29 PM »
Ok I am no scientist...coliform? What is that? (I will look it up too) I am using raw milk, figured my next step is pastuerize it and see. fore-stripping? I am taking that to mean milking the teats a bit before milking into the pot? I do that. I am generally just hot water and soap cleaning pots, but have also tried bleaching and allowing to dry as well. I wash the udders thoroughly before each milking as well, and dip teats after milking. I have tried designating a particular upper cupboard to hang cheese and cover it with another cloth, and even tried hanging in the fridge just to make sure no nasties in the air get in.

Coliform is a fecal contaminant, a bacteria. Huge spongey curd is usually yeast, though, from the air or from containers that aren't sanitized.

If you don't bleach or use another sanitizer, the pots could be contaminating.

Yep, by fore-strip I meant getting a little milk out before milking. There's bacteria at the bottom of the teat. But it sounds like your routine is OK.

Sometimes, it just happens that milk picks up something from the air or from your containers or utensils or hands. Especially with raw milk, it happens.

I sometimes will heat treat raw milk to about 130-135F to kill off any yeasts and stray bacteria without harming lactobacilli or denaturing enzymes too much.

Easiest way to tell if something's contaminated without testing is to smell or taste or examine it. Off curd or cheese will usually have off flavor or smells or gas formation.
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Offline littlemilkqueen

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Re: Hi from NM....Help!
« Reply #8 on: August 01, 2010, 06:02:49 PM »
Thanks so much for answering and helping me out! Whatever it is we are not getting sick (7 of us in the home). I toss the spongy feta to the chickens LOL The cheese I have made that seems fine is tasting good. My mozz just came out great though the texture, using junket, was different texturally through the process than when I used the liquid rennet. So it could be a yeast and kind of out of my control? I live in high desert and we have had an unusually humid summer and lots of monsoon weather! and, so I dont have to truly pastuerize at 160 degrees flash method? I hate to rid the milk of all the good bacteria etc! But also want to ensure there are no nasties in the cheese either. Thanks again, just kind of losing it with the inconsistencies and havent been able to find answers! Seriously if this were my first year milking and making cheese I would have given up but with 2 yrs of good cheese behind me this is very frustrating!

Offline linuxboy

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Re: Hi from NM....Help!
« Reply #9 on: August 01, 2010, 11:09:07 PM »
Quote
So it could be a yeast and kind of out of my control?

Contamination is not out of your control. Sanitize everything, use a dedicated make room, practice clean milking, cool immediately, etc, and it should be fine. It's all about the cleanliness.

Same thing for pasteurization. If you're reasonably sure that the milk is not contaminated, there's no reason to pasteurize. Milk is sterile in the udder. Heating milk to kill bacteria is a continuum. You can heat to the bare minimum temps, to 145 for 5-10 mins to kill some bacteria. Or to half an hour to get 99.9% of pathogens and most other bacteria. Or higher for less time. Pasteurization is just a tool. If you pasteurized a really contaminated milk at the normal pasteurization temps, it wouldn't even kill off 99.9%. But if you start with really clean milk, it doesn't need as high a temp or as long a time.

There is a difference between junket (pepsin) and liquid rennet. They're different coagulants, and although both will coagulate, the cheeses do turn out subtly different. Pepsin is not like rennin, it sets the curd differently (not as strong).

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Offline DeejayDebi

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Re: Hi from NM....Help!
« Reply #10 on: August 05, 2010, 02:35:16 PM »
Welcome LMQ. Sorry to here you are having problems.

Holes could be caused from a number of things one of which could be to much whey retention caused by to little acid development. Generally speaking contaimination also comes with off flavors. Being no one has gotten sick and you didn't mension off flavors I'm more inclined to lean towards posibilites that don't assume contaminations.

Holes could also be pressing at to high a temperature or not enough pressure when pressing, but you mensioned this problem with feta which doesn't require pressing, so again I lean toward acid development.

Junket will make a good cheese but as it is designed for pudding an d custards it is much slower and you will not get as firm a curd as you would with regular rennet so adjustments must be made for the make. If it is all you have it will do the trick. I like it for softer chese varieties but do prefer the commercial renet for harder cheeses like romano and parmesan.

Good luck and let us know how things go.

Offline Oberhasli

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Re: Hi from NM....Help!
« Reply #11 on: August 05, 2010, 03:41:52 PM »
I have goats and occasionally I would get a bad batch of chevre where it would be spongy and rather sour smelling.  I do pasteurize my milk, but most of the bad batches were when I was using pasteurized milk from friends and the age of the milk was always a bit uncertain (large quantities kept in the fridge with no date on them) and I question the temp of their pasteurizer.  I also had a goat that had sub-clinical mastitis that was the reason for some cheese failures. Her milk didn't taste bad but it was also mixed with other milk from other goats.   She didn't have the classic signs of mastitis (i.e. hard/hot udder, etc.,), but I had her milk tested and she was positive.  I treated her with anitibiotics.....  But, that said, maybe if you made cheese from each goat's milk individually, you could pinpoint the problem goat.  You could just make small batches and see.  Somewhere you are getting some unwanted bacteria.

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Offline littlemilkqueen

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Re: Hi from NM....Help!
« Reply #12 on: August 06, 2010, 08:21:28 AM »
Thanks. I thought of that too. That something was up although none of them have signs of mastitis. I am also letting them out to graze all day and so they are finding a lot of evergreens to eat, which I have read is very good for them. Having had 2 years of almost flawless milking and making cheese this summer is really throwing me for a loop! LOL Then my thermometer started seriously acting up, a polder digital timer etc. But I moved the girls from their old shed into a new environment until monsoons stop and I have had 2 days of perfect feta! Just so frustrating when there are so many variables that you cannot necessarily pinpoint! Thank you

Offline Oberhasli

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Re: Hi from NM....Help!
« Reply #13 on: August 06, 2010, 10:37:05 AM »
I hope you continue to have good success with your cheeses.  Evergreens are very high in vitamin C and are very good for your girls.  My goats love to eat pine branches and I recycle our Christmas trees every year by tossing them in with the goats.  We usually cut out own tree, so no chemicals involved!
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Offline littlemilkqueen

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Re: Hi from NM....Help!
« Reply #14 on: August 06, 2010, 11:15:09 AM »
Thanks me too! I honestly felt like i was going insane as every day was something new and wrong!! We live in the high desert of NM and so our property (acre and a half) is filled with pinion and juniper. We often cut branches for them or give them limbs that fell in a storm but they are loving free ranging on branches!!! I also read it was a good natural wormer of sorts.