Author Topic: Making Mother Cultures - A Photo Essay  (Read 18588 times)

Offline Sailor Con Queso

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Re: Making Mother Cultures - A Photo Essay
« Reply #90 on: June 28, 2013, 04:15:24 PM »
Not all bacteria are good candidates for Mother Cultures. Adjuncts are often weak acidifiers and have differing growth needs, so they may not set well. In which case you can still use the dried culture. Mother Cultures don't create a "super bug". They are just awake, active, and ready to go to work. So there is no concern that it is going to be too vigorous unless you overdo the starter quantity.
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Online John@PC

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Re: Making Mother Cultures - A Photo Essay,
« Reply #91 on: June 30, 2013, 07:15:56 AM »
A question about induction heating plates:  I looked over the specifications of several listed on Amazon and while there were several listed under $100 none of these had precision temperature control (i.e. usually would have 10 temperature settings at most).  The only one I found that had precise temperature control was the Adcraft IND-B120V which looks to be the same one Sailor is using.  Price is a bit over $200 incl. shipping.  More $$$ for sure, but if the "plate" acts like a true temperature controller (similar to a sous vide controller) than isn't the extra cost well worth it? 

Thanks to all for this excellent MC info.  I wasn't aware it could be frozen, so I going to give Boofer's ice-cube method a try.

Offline Sailor Con Queso

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Re: Making Mother Cultures - A Photo Essay
« Reply #92 on: June 30, 2013, 04:01:22 PM »
I doubt that an induction cooker would be precise or stable enough. When you control an induction cooker, you are actually just regulating the intensity of the magnetic field as determined where the pot meets the cooktop. The pot itself becomes the actual heating element.
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Online John@PC

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Re: Making Mother Cultures - A Photo Essay
« Reply #93 on: July 10, 2013, 05:22:07 AM »
Made my first set of MCs (MM100, MA4002, LH100 and TA61).  Followed Sailor's guide with exception of making 1 qt. each instead of 2.  All went well until the next morning when I grabbed my pH sensor and found it was not working  :P.  Took the batteries out and noticed some wetness inside (this is supposed to be waterproof ???).  On closer inspection I found a crack in the side that must been source of leak.  So now I had 4 mother cultures and no way to measure pH :'(.  I read through this thread and decided that the consistency of the milk was pretty near where it should.  The thermos did have a very slight bit of whey separation (I should have checked sooner) but went ahead and froze into cubes.

Before next batch I'm going to get a "good" pH sensor.  Question is:  When I thaw out the cubes can I check pH then and decide whether to use them or toss and use the DVI?  Or can I adjust MC dosage based on pH being above or below targets?

In spite of my screw-up with the sensor it is an easy procedure.  In hindsight I probably should have started with one culture for my maiden voyage and started checking consistency earlier.  Thanks for the sage advice Sailor, Boofer and others.

Offline Sailor Con Queso

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Re: Making Mother Cultures - A Photo Essay
« Reply #94 on: July 10, 2013, 08:52:58 AM »
John, These days I rarely check the pH on my MCs. When the milk sets, they are done. Of course I do these at least twice a week, so I have a consistent routine that works really well. A little bit of whey on the Thermos is OK, but you normally want to stop the incubation before that happens. You do not need to check the pH of the cubes before using. The acid is minimal and what you are shooting for is an elevated level of active bacteria, not a certain pH level. Just go for it.
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Online John@PC

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Re: Making Mother Cultures - A Photo Essay
« Reply #95 on: July 10, 2013, 10:23:34 AM »
Thanks Sailor, that makes me feel better.  I was planning on doing a 4 gal. batch for a Tomme (with MA 4000) tomorrow and didn't know whether to use the cubes or the DVI.    My second cheese give-away goes to you for helping take the mystery out of MC's especially for all of us newbies with the excellent essay and feedback.  Heck, maybe you should charge us a fraction of the money we save on cultures  ^-^.

Offline linuxboy

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Re: Making Mother Cultures - A Photo Essay
« Reply #96 on: July 10, 2013, 10:30:52 AM »
Quote
The acid is minimal and what you are shooting for is an elevated level of active bacteria, not a certain pH level.
I have found most starters to be so resilient that unless you're dealing with something with high osmotolerance such as bulgaricus or acidophilus, a culture will have roughly the same viability numbers for 2-3 days at culturing temps. That's a wide window of use, all before you put them in the fridge for storage. For freezing, slightly different story, as there's cryoprotectant, pH, and other factors to consider.
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Re: Making Mother Cultures - A Photo Essay
« Reply #97 on: July 13, 2013, 07:48:04 PM »
linuxboy, I left my thermos (Wrapped in a cooler) for about 32 hrs as I couldn't get to them to put them in the fridge. On the LH100 I noticed about 1 1/2" of whey, on the TA 61 I noticed maybe an 1/8" of whey on the top. I saw from the previous post that this won't affect the viability if you want to use it now (or put it in the fridge for a couple of days). What did you mean by " For freezing, slightly different story, as there's cryoprotectant, pH, and other factors to consider." Can I still freeze either of these thermos with decent results...Perhaps let it ripen for a little longer. What do you think?


Offline linuxboy

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Re: Making Mother Cultures - A Photo Essay
« Reply #98 on: July 13, 2013, 08:28:38 PM »
Quote
Can I still freeze either of these thermos with decent results...
Yes, use within 3 months after freezing.
Quote
Perhaps let it ripen for a little longer. What do you think?
No, do not do this. They're a bit beyond done, especially for LH. Longer times are not too bad for refrigeration. For freezing, it's a lot of stress. Doable more if you have single strains. for something like LH, the ratios will change if you have some abuse (low pH, freezing, etc)
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Offline Smurfmacaw

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Re: Making Mother Cultures - A Photo Essay
« Reply #99 on: July 13, 2013, 09:10:22 PM »
My take on this is that I am a hobby cheese maker.  I don't really have to worry about the bottom line.....for me, a great result is worth a few extra pennies or dollars.  I am totally sold on making a mother culture.  I brewed beer for years and made many pitching cultures which is the way to go since it removes the chances of contamination since the yeast (in the case of beer) has a firm foothold and can outcompete any "invaders".

I have a number of easily sterilized containers that I can put a 1 to 2 percent amount of desired culture in and make it according to Sailor's instructions.  Works a champ so far.  I like it much much  better than just tossing in some dvi powder and hoping.  I'm still having pH meter difficulties so I'm not sure if things are working perfectly but the results are pretty good.  I'm going to buy a Hanna 99161 since my ExStick 100 (and 110) seem to have issues.  I know a lot of people have had no issues but I'm on my fourth meter and it still measures all fresh milk at 6.9 or above....(and yes, I know how to calibrate it and I have made sure i have fresh and reliable calibration solutions.)

To be frank, the timing has been working for me and I am positive the mother cultures are a huge benefit.  My procedure is to take one of my sterilized containers, they are about 8 oz, and fill 90% with skim milk.  I heat to 200 degrees and hold for 30 min.  Then I cool in water until desired temp (85 for meso and 105 for thermo).  Add a small amount of dvi culture and let it set at temp over night.  If thermo, I put it in a cooler filled with 110 temp water so it stays at the right temp......in the morning, the milk is pretty much yoghurt and works perfectly.  We use skim milk for our breakfast cereal so it's a small price to pay.  As far as I can tell, even with an expensive culture to cost is pretty negligible.

This whole process, other than swearing at the ExStick, takes less than 45 minutes the night before the make.  Yes, you save some of the DVI culture, 1/16 tsp vs 1/4 tsp, but that is not the point.  You are making a nice active starter that gets to work right away vice waiting 30 minutes or more to "wake up".

Bottom line - cheese making is fun.  Way fun.

Linuxboy - I'm really into the mechanics (although I'm a physicist, I still really appreciate the science behind my obsessive hobbies....What texts are out there to help me move toward the understanding of what is really happening in a cheese?


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Offline linuxboy

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Re: Making Mother Cultures - A Photo Essay
« Reply #100 on: July 13, 2013, 09:23:57 PM »
Quote
mechanics

Physics, rheology, or physical chemistry? If you want quantum, that one's easy. If we're looking at a box with cheese in it, wondering if someone has taken a nibble, rest assured when we open the box, the cheese will be nibbled if I'm there. :P.
Quote
What texts are out there to help me move toward the understanding of what is really happening in a cheese?

start here http://cheeseforum.org/forum/index.php/topic,6489.msg46262.html
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Online John@PC

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Re: Making Mother Cultures - A Photo Essay
« Reply #101 on: July 14, 2013, 07:17:39 AM »
This whole process [making a mother culture], other than swearing at the ExStick, takes less than 45 minutes the night before the make.  Yes, you save some of the DVI culture, 1/16 tsp vs 1/4 tsp, but that is not the point.  You are making a nice active starter that gets to work right away vice waiting 30 minutes or more to "wake up"
I made my first mother cultures a few days ago, and made my first cheese (tomme-style) using it two days ago.  I agree with your sentiments as well about the advantages but I think you're underestimating the yield of MC vs. DVI.

Per Sailor's recipe:
1. 1/32 t DVI inoculates 64 oz. mother culture
2.  Assuming 1.5% MC addition rate, 1 gal (128 oz) milk would require 2 oz. MC
3.  Thus a 64 oz. MC made using 1/32 t DVI should inoculate 32 gal milk
4.  Dividing 32 by 1/32 (.03125) gives you 1024* gal. per tsp. original DVI.

Using DVI (as is) @ 1/4 t per 3 gal batch a full tsp. will inoculate about 12 gal. milk.  Unless I've got a bug in the cheese pot::) that comes to a 85x  :o ??? advantage using mother culture?  I put the question mark there because that is really hard to believe and I need a peer review to avoid everlasting embarrassment  :-[.

*For you binary thinkers, does this mean a tsp. of DVI would yield a "10-byte" or 1024 lb cheese"? 

Offline Sailor Con Queso

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Re: Making Mother Cultures - A Photo Essay
« Reply #102 on: July 14, 2013, 03:44:39 PM »
I use just 48 oz. for 38 gallons of milk, so I am around 1% on most cheeses. Bacteria double their population every 20 minutes, so I add the MC early as the milk is heating up. This gives the bacteria 20-30 minutes to kick in. After the milk is up to temp, I wait a little while for Mesos and watch the pH. Thermos don't do much at normal starting temps, so there's no real need to wait. I would rather use less and ease into the make instead of rushing things and risking over acidification.
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Online John@PC

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Re: Making Mother Cultures - A Photo Essay
« Reply #103 on: July 14, 2013, 06:10:09 PM »
I use just 48 oz. for 38 gallons of milk, so I am around 1% on most cheeses

I was being conservative but if I adjust for your dosage it comes out to 1,621 gal milk per 1 tsp. culture which is even more unbelievable!

For instance, Coozit's 50 DU MM-series culture packet says it typically contains 6 tsp. and retails for $11.  Using the mother culture method,  6 tsp. x 1621 gal  = infinity and beyond almost 10,000 gal!!  Assuming if you directly inoculate $ would be around $.14 per gal, and if you use mother culture cost per gal would be 1 tenth of one penny???

I know that $.14 per gal. milk for culture is negligible considering you're spending $5+ for a gal. of milk.  It's just that the difference in efficiency is so huge.

Offline Smurfmacaw

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Re: Making Mother Cultures - A Photo Essay
« Reply #104 on: July 14, 2013, 06:20:52 PM »
Engineers = Arithmetic........You guys! ::)