Author Topic: Questions On PH and Cultures  (Read 3177 times)

Offline Mr. Kim

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Questions On PH and Cultures
« on: August 02, 2010, 10:11:52 AM »
Good morning fellow cheese makers.

I have a couple of questions, and not real sure where to post them, so I will put them here and hopefully gain insight from the wealth of knowledge that you all possess.

I made two 3 gallon batches of cheese this weekend, and measured starting ph of the milk which was 6.67 on both days.  The first day, I warmed the milk to 86 per the instructions for the particular cheese that I was making and added the starter, ¼ tsp of flora danica and 1/8 tsp of mm meso type M (aquired from Leener’s).  I allowed the milk to ripen for 60 minutes as recipe recommended and then tested the ph again.  There was no change, which I was not expecting.  I added ¾ tsp of CaCl2 and mixed thoroughly.  I added the rennet, I used dry calves rennet, about 3/32nds of a teaspoon, which is a 32nd more than the package instructions, re-hydrated in ¼ cup of cool distilled water.  It took just about 3 hours to set to a firm curd.  Very, very distressing to take that long for a curd set.  Throws the whole recipe timing off schedule. I measured the ph at curd set and it was about 6.53, which I thought was insufficient acidification for the amount of time that had elapsed.

Now to my questions:

Does acidification effect curd set or do I have another problem.

Do you think that possibly my starters are bad?  They have been kept frozen in their containers, in a zip lock bag.

When I drained the curd after cooking I had a ph of about 6.28 and at final pressing I was at around 5.75 ph in the whey.

What do you think I am experiencing?

By the way, the cheese is the Crosta Rossta Pistachi recipe that is listed in a thread at this site.

Now for my other question regarding PH values.  Is there a general guideline that a person should look to for his cheese making, i.e. value of ph at ripening time, rennet time, draining time, pressing time, etc.?

I ask so that I can get a feel for if it is going correctly.  Thanks all.

Buy the way, here is a pix of the Pistachi.
« Last Edit: August 02, 2010, 02:18:32 PM by Mr. Kim »
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Offline rlatta

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Re: Questions On PH and Cultures
« Reply #1 on: August 02, 2010, 11:39:00 AM »
Watching this thread with interest.
Is it just me or does Flora danica seem to be lazy?

Offline Sailor Con Queso

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Re: Questions On PH and Cultures
« Reply #2 on: August 02, 2010, 12:02:07 PM »
First - Flora Danica contains gas producing bacteria. Not a good choice for most hard cheeses. It is also not an aggressive acid producing combination. You seem to really like FD.  ;)

Every cheese is different in its pH requirements. It's mostly a matter of style and personal preference not just absolute values. Your starting pH was perfect and 6.53 at curd set is not at all off base. The outcome of your cheese depends on what you do after that. However, that does clearly show that the bacteria were active.

More importantly, your rennet dose is WAY off base as evidenced by your set time. You should search the forum and read up on flocculation. I use around 1 tsp of animal rennet for 5 gallon batches. So you should be around 3/5 not 3/32 tsp. That is about 6.5 times what you used. Flocculation will tell you exactly how you are doing. When a curd takes that long to set, it takes MONTHS for the cheese to mature, so don't be in a hurry to cut that one.
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Offline Mr. Kim

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Re: Questions On PH and Cultures
« Reply #3 on: August 02, 2010, 01:00:45 PM »
Thanks Sailor, that helps.  The dry calves rennet that I used indicated that it takes 1/16th tsp for 1 to 4 gallons of milk.  This was printed on the package, so I used a tad more than that.  I think you are right in that the directions are probably wrong.  I will use 1/8 on the next batch and see what happens.

kim
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Offline Sailor Con Queso

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Re: Questions On PH and Cultures
« Reply #4 on: August 02, 2010, 02:52:45 PM »
I use liquid rennet. I'm sure that the dry needs to be reconstituted before use. It could also be old. Flocculation hels solve these issues. 1/16th tsp for 1 to 4 gallons is really misleading. Rennet use is proportional to the volume of milk that you use. So I can see 1/16 for a gallon and 4/16 (1/4) for 4 gallons. You were really far off on your set time so that's where I would start (1/4 tsp.) and see what happens.
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Offline Mr. Kim

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Re: Questions On PH and Cultures
« Reply #5 on: August 02, 2010, 03:03:47 PM »
Thanks again, I do dissolve it in 1/4 cup of distilled water about 20 minutes prior to use.  I will take your advise a increase my level.  I must admit that I have not tried the floc method yet, as I have not been able to get a consistent curd formation yet.  On Sunday's cheese venture, I used vegetable rennet which calls for 5 drops per quart of milk.  I used 60 drops for my 3 gallons and had a good curd at 47 minutes.  I did nothing different other than the culture that I used. 

You mentioned that I liked to use Flora Danica, but really these two cheeses were the 1st time that I have ever used it.  I used it because of the recipe posted in the "Drunk & nutty" cheese thread.  I have always used Leener's Meso A or MM previously. 

I do keep them frozen all the time, so they should still be good.  Do you rehydrate them in a cup of milk before adding to your main milk container.  I tried this hoping that I would get them going prior to putting them into my 3 gallons.  I did not see significant improvement.

Thanks for taking the time with me.  I appreciate it.  I want to learn.
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Offline linuxboy

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Re: Questions On PH and Cultures
« Reply #6 on: August 02, 2010, 03:11:36 PM »
Which dry calf rennet? Chr hansen's? Because that has an exact dosage rate, and not a wild range like "per 1-4 gal". Rennet has to be exact in terms of clotting units per liter of milk, and there's a certain number of clotting units per gram in dry rennet.
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Offline Mr. Kim

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Re: Questions On PH and Cultures
« Reply #7 on: August 02, 2010, 03:17:35 PM »
Which dry calf rennet? Chr hansen's? Because that has an exact dosage rate, and not a wild range like "per 1-4 gal". Rennet has to be exact in terms of clotting units per liter of milk, and there's a certain number of clotting units per gram in dry rennet.

Thanks Linuxboy for the reply.  I am attaching the spec's for you.  Hopefully you can help me figure this out.
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Offline linuxboy

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Re: Questions On PH and Cultures
« Reply #8 on: August 02, 2010, 03:28:46 PM »
Oh, renco's that Steve sells. IMHO, by the time this makes it over the ocean, it loses some activity. I would start with 1/16 tsp per gallon. Hmm, Sailor and I agree on that point it seems.

Also don't dissolve 20 mins beforehand. There's no need to let it sit that long.

Any way to measure out exact micrograms? Jewelry scale?
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Offline Mr. Kim

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Re: Questions On PH and Cultures
« Reply #9 on: August 03, 2010, 07:22:28 AM »
Unfortunately no scale.  Do I get the feeling that you do not think that this rennet is as good as some other may be?  I guess that after I use this up I will probably go back to the liquid.  Cheers, and thanks for the replies.
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Offline Wayne Harris

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Re: Questions On PH and Cultures
« Reply #10 on: August 03, 2010, 08:49:17 AM »
For the record, I use veal rennet from Dairy Connection.
The Dosage rate there is 90ml/1000lbs of milk, with a 1:40 dillution rate.
I developed this cheatsheet to help me calculate the proper amounts of rennet to use for my batches.  It has not failed me yet. I always get a good, timely set. 
(this gives me plenty of time to screw up other aspects of my cheese!)

So, for your 3 gallon batches, you would need 2.32ml of rennet dilluted in 92.88ml of water.

Hope this helps.
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Offline rlatta

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Re: Questions On PH and Cultures
« Reply #11 on: August 03, 2010, 10:14:15 AM »
Love the chart!!
What do you use to measure your rennet? Up to this point I have been using teaspoon type measures.
But would like to be more precise.

Offline linuxboy

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Re: Questions On PH and Cultures
« Reply #12 on: August 03, 2010, 10:23:25 AM »
Great chart, Wayne. Wanted to point out the valid range is 7-10 ml/100 lb for single strength. Some cheeses take less rennet. Also styles of the same cheese differ among countries. Like for cheddar, the range is 6-11. Some of it depends on milk, too. Milk with more solids needs less rennet. Higher fat milk sometimes uses more. 9 ml/100 lbs is a great all around amount, though.

I use a pipette or syringe to measure when making small batches and a graduated cylinder for large batches.
« Last Edit: August 05, 2010, 10:58:55 AM by linuxboy »
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Offline Wayne Harris

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Re: Questions On PH and Cultures
« Reply #13 on: August 03, 2010, 11:08:40 AM »
Like Linuxboy, i use pipettes and graduated cylinders, and volumetric flasks to get accurate measurements.
BTW, I got my 9ml/100lb (90ml/1000lbs) from the generic recommendations from the Rennet bottle. 
Linuxboy has better recommendations.  If you change that cell in my spreadsheet to a different number, all the values in the chart should automatically update.

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Offline Mr. Kim

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Re: Questions On PH and Cultures
« Reply #14 on: August 03, 2010, 11:21:35 AM »
Well you all are certainly more advanced than I am.  I use dash, pinch, and smidgen, measuring spoons  LOL.  I'll get there eventually.  Great chart!
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