Author Topic: Thermophilic Starter Cultures - Effects On Cheese Discussion (Starts With A Question About Making La  (Read 3861 times)

Offline Brentsbox

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The recipe i have, and I have seen other recipes that do the same, calls for both buttermilk and yogurt.  I basically interpret that as adding both a meso and a thermo starter to the recipe.  My question is; The recipe never gets over to 88°F  / 31°C.  I was under the understanding that thermo cultures really don't get activated or active except at higher temperatures.  What am I accomplishing by adding both, so i will understand what Im doing?
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Online Sailor Con Queso

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The thermo bacteria contribute to proteolysis and aging. According to Margaret Morris, the thermo bacteria actually slow down the aging process, so that also means that it probably won't be very good at 60 days old. Let it age and do it's thing. One of the tricks to a good aged cheddar is to throw a little thermo into the starter mix. But it then needs to age longer to see the benefits.

So if you want a nice aged (6+ months) Lancashire, put in a little thermo. If you want to eat it in 60 or 90 days, leave it out.
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Offline Wayne Harris

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On a totally non-technical note.   tried some of this cheese last week.
(bought from Houston's Central Market)

I gotta say, I'm not a fan.
The texture to me was very un-appealing.

The taste was a bit bland at first, but came around a bit later....  The texture reminded me of a very dry and pressed  block of 'cream of wheat'. Once I ate a slice, it dissolved into a grainy, creamy experience that imparted a mouthfeel that was unexpected, and not pleasent to me.

If I sat and thought about it, the taste was not at all that unpleasent.  The aftertaste was mild to tangy..

Only reason I jumped in with this thread, is that I tried it for the first time last week. So this was timely for me.





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Offline Brentsbox

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Thanks Sailor,    I dont mind waiting for a good cheese. Reading about Lancashire's I have found out, long time ago, on small farms there was insufficient milk from a single day to make a cheese, and so each day's milk was made into curd and accumulated for several days until there was enough curd to make a cheese. Uniquely amongst all British cheeses, two or three days' curd of varying maturity are blended together, giving Lancashire cheese a distinctive character.   

This is what im going for.  Im going to make curd 3 days in a row from different milkings and on the 4th day put it all together. 
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Offline Brentsbox

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Wayne,   I sounds like it might be one of the crumbly Lancashire's cheeses.  In the 1960s, Crumbly Lancashire cheese was created. Unlike the other Lancashire varieties, this is made from a single day's milk and resembles other crumbly cheeses such as Cheshire and Wensleydale. It is the only Lancashire cheese that is manufactured outside Lancashire.[1] It tends to be matured for only 6–8 weeks, resulting in a crumbly, fresh, high-acid cheese.

The two other verities of Lancashire are Creamy and Tasty.  The difference being that Tasty is aged 12 - 24 months.  Creamy is aged for 4 - 12 weeks

Thanks for the review though of your experience.  I loved your pictures of the cheese at central market.  I could have spent hours looking.
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Offline linuxboy

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The thermo bacteria contribute to proteolysis and aging. According to Margaret Morris, the thermo bacteria actually slow down the aging process,

Really, she wrote that? I don't remember reading that. It's not correct, bacilli accelerate aging. Their proteases and peptidases are much more proteolytic for acidophilus, helveticus, paracasei, etc. They also contribute amino acid byproducts during metabolysis (IE during ripening and the make when they eat milk sugars) that cocci use, and vice versa. So they accelerate acidification as well, especially for S thermophilus (which is only a moderate thermophile)
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Yes.  On page 63 she does discuss Lactobacilli casei and L. delbreuckii and their role as non-lactic (heterofermentive) maturation cultures. She does touch base (barely) on their "work on peptides that have been degraded from proteins...".

However, from page 48 in her book - Under MA4001/4002 - "Predominantly a mesophile blend but contains some thermophile bacteria that will help to stabilize soft cheeses. The thermophile bacteria will slow down the ripening process..."

Unfortunately she does not directly identify the bacteria she is eluding to or the mode of action. However, the MA4001 is  a blend of standard mesophilic lactic acid cultures plus a S. thermophilis. So, one can infer that it is the S. thermophilis that she suggests will slow down the ripening process. I have searched many sources but cannot find a reference to back up her comment. I have seen references suggesting the use of S. thermophilis in long term aging, especially cheddars.

So here's my take on the Meso/Thermo blends. The meso produces lactic acid more rapidly and the thermo sits there waiting it's turn, especially if things never get heated above meso temps. As the pH drops, the meso reach their bio-stasis levels and start to really slow down. Therefore, they can never finish up the lactose to lactic acid conversion. (This is very evident when making a meso Mother culture. If the pH drops too low, you start to lose viable starter bacteria.) So, as the mesos slow down, now is the time for the thermos to gobble up whatever residual lactose is left over. They do it slowly because the cheese is not at optimal thermo temperatures. The result is a little more acidity and less natural sweetness because the lactose is now gone - just like tart yogurt made with thermo culture. So you would never want to use a M/T blend on a cheese that you want to have a little natural sweetness.

Brentsbox - you asked. ::)
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Offline linuxboy

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However, from page 48 in her book - Under MA4001/4002 - "Predominantly a mesophile blend but contains some thermophile bacteria that will help to stabilize soft cheeses. The thermophile bacteria will slow down the ripening process..."

Ohh, I got it. That's an example of where her mind went faster than her typing, happens to all of us. Or maybe she heard it somewhere and wrote it without taking the time to explain the mechanism. Here's what she likely means:

S thermophilus is a special type of bacteria that is a cocci that likes higher temperatures than standard L lactis and the like. Unlike almost all other thermophiles it is not a bacillus. It will still live and produce acid really rapidly at a range of 95F all the way to 110-115F. It works in a cool way because you can use this property to drop acidity very quickly and drain whey, but after you drain whey, the curds will be in a cooler environment, typically room temp, and the bacteria can't just keep making acid in this situation very quickly. So what you get is a slower acidification curve to the point where 12-18 hours into the make, your pH will be 5.0 even if you drain whey at 6.1 or so. So in a cheese like a camembert where you do this, you can salt/brine at 5.0 and get a stabilized cheese. That's the point of stabilized cheese, to get it to a point where the long chains of S thermophilus create body, decrease runnyness, and also contribute to a completely different pH curve so that instead of going from a pH of 4.6 to 6.7 like you do in a normal camembert or brie, you'll get a nice bloom of mold and go from a pH of 4.9 or 5.0 to about 6, or maybe a little higher. But because there's less lactate for the mold to feed on, there's less enzyme produced. And bam, you get a stabilized cheese.

but it's not exactly right to say that S thermophilus will somehow singlehandedly slow down aging. It's more like you're working with an altered, stabilized pH curve and target pH to create a very specific condition for mold to influence the ripening. It's just one factor, the dynamics are rather complex because molds comes into play. Standard proteolysis with bacilli is way different, and to be sure, bacilli are significantly more proteolytic. S thermophilus is a special kind of bacteria all in a class of its own, it straddles both sides.
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Ohh, I got it. That's an example of where her mind went faster than her typing, happens to all of us.
You crack me up. 8)

S thermophilus is indeed an interesting bacteria and can definitely change the pH curve in a make. For example I use a 20/80 blend of TA61 (S. thermophilus) & LH100 (Lactobacilli) when making Parmesan or other hard Italian types. This gives slower acidification and better proteolysis from the increased proportion of Lactobacilli. For thermo Swiss types, I use a 50/50 blend for faster acidification. (and it WILL stick to a Kadova mold). My notes say ST has an active range up to 125F.

I have spoken with a couple of old cheesemakers that don't know the scientific names of the bacteria, but they speak fluently about "rods and cocci". This cheese gets a few more rods, eh?

Quote from: linuxboy link=topic=4841.msg37324#paracasei, etcmsg37324 date=1285691605
Their proteases and peptidases are much more proteolytic... They also contribute amino acid byproducts during metabolysis...
The classic thermo Lactobacilli are of course Lb lactis and Lb helveticus found for example in LH100. However, Margaret has piqued my interest in using Lactobacilli casei and L. delbreuckii as nonstarter maturation cultures. Thermo B also contains Lb. del bulgaricus which she doesn't discuss. But I am looking for references that discuss the "practical" flavor and/or texture attributes that any of these 3 bring to the table - literally. We can point to a Parmesan with it's piquant flavor and say this is from the Lipase. Or we can use Emmental as an example of Propionic flavor. Blues are easily recognized by the Penicillium color, texture,and flavor. So, we need phenotypical examples of cheese types and flavor profiles related to various lactic and non-lactic bacteria. Otherwise it's "throw in a few more rods" and hope for the best. Of course that's how new cheeses are born.


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Offline linuxboy

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Quote
So, we need phenotypical examples of cheese types and flavor profiles related to various lactic and non-lactic bacteria. Otherwise it's "throw in a few more rods" and hope for the best. Of course that's how new cheeses are born.

It's very, very (almost entirely) strain dependent. But the flavor profile you're looking can be described as sweet, nutty, savory, and mature, or some variation of those. This is one huge hole in the research- there is very little research in two aspects in academia regarding flavor development: 1) the impact of feed on milk and cheese flavor. Some of the best work here has been done by UC Davis. And 2) The isolation of specific proteases and peptidases and how they translate to cheese flavor. The most impressive work here has been done, not surprisingly, by the Dutch, especially CSK and that one research firm... NISO? Don't remember the exact name, but they helped to invent Parrano.

The commercial products you're looking for are the flavor adjunct series in both Danisco's line and CHR Hansen's line. E-mail me if you want to craft a custom make a flavor profile, we can figure it out. I think Sacco has some, and of course CSK does. But all of CSK's are in frozen pellet form. You can get them here if you carry them from the Netherlands in dry ice, or include them in one of their periodic shipments. Their new markets director and US liaison and I have been talking to try and get something here, but I doubt they'd switch to lyophilized, and they are targetting large plants in Wisconsin right now. IIRC, all but 1 or 2 of Hansen's are in frozen pellet form, and Danisco also only has 1-2 in lyophilized form.

There's also interesting research by big dairy giants regarding enzyme extraction and enzyme adjuncts, but that's just scary - they pump enzymes into the milk so you get 2-year old flavor in a 2 month old cheese.
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Offline ConnieG

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I hang out here and read these posts to learn more but, phew, the learning curve is steep.  What you guys toss out in a post is about more than I can assimilate.  Are there secrets to getting to the place where this makes sense or it is just exposure, rereading, and experience?  ???

Offline linuxboy

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Are there secrets to getting to the place where this makes sense or it is just exposure, rereading, and experience?  ???

No shortcuts that I know of. I've spent thousands of hours researching, studying, and making cheese, although if I had someone to teach me, that could have been waaay less. The challenge is that there are few intermediary voices to translate academic knowledge into practical realities for cheesemakers. And for the voices who do exist, it's rather expensive to learn from them. There are many many great academic resources, but they are similarly inaccessible due to price and over-technicality. I've read every article in the journal of dairy science, for example, and most do not translate well into helpful suggestions for artisan cheesemakers.

There are a few works in progress that will make it to the market over the next few years. Gianaclis Caldwell is writing a cheesemaking mentor book to complement her creamery advisor book, but that won't be out for nearly two years (in 2012). I know there's a new nonprofit organization that Mike at Uplands, Alison at Vt butter&cheese and others just started to get grants and increase education; it's a sister org of ACS. David at joyofcheesemaking is writing an intermediate cheesemaking book, but that's still a ways away. Marc Druart at VIAC is trying to bring part of his program online so people can do remote education. And of course, there's my own project to build a comprehensive online education series of classes that cover all the latest developments in the scientific research in a very clear and understandable way, with videos and demos. Distance learning for cheesemaking, basically.

I'm pretty excited that there's a bunch of us working on the issue. They're complementary approaches. In terms of practical help for you, I'm 10% done writing and should have the first 10-12 hour module done right after the new year. Maybe not all the videos, but content will be done and online. The rest of the efforts out there are pretty far away. The challenge is sifting through all the amazing information out there and making it available. It's not online, it's expensive, and often written in a way that's hard to read.

In the meantime, I'm happy to help if you have questions. :)
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Offline coffee joe

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I'm at the hundreds of Reading hours point and I know exactly where I am.
Understanding Einstein's
"As the circle of light increases, so does the circumference of darkness around it."

Great thread
Keep it coming, I have a very long way to go.


Offline ConnieG

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Wow Linuxboy,  It sounds as if there are opportunities on the way to support the experience.  I am so grateful that this forum is here now - it is amazing to be able to ask any question and get such detailed answers. 

I didn't realize that you are working on your own course - how great is that!  Thank you for your generosity to this forum - both in your writing and in your working on that large order for everyone.  And of course not just you but all of you who take the time to answer the questions from those of us who are just starting out.  I for one am learning all I can hold and working on getting experience to catch up to the information available. 

I do imagine you will let us know when you have the first part of your course up and running.

OK, back to re-read this thread.

Offline NimbinValleyDairy

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Just to add my two bobs worth...I can't wait for the new books and resources to arrive.  I love the analogy of the circumference of darkness expanding proportionally to the circle of light - it is so true.  Back to my books...