Author Topic: Ricotta, Whey Based - Small Coagulation Flakes Problem  (Read 3070 times)

Offline Jessica_H

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Ricotta, Whey Based - Small Coagulation Flakes Problem
« on: December 28, 2010, 12:20:52 PM »
Hello,

I've only made cheese 3 times now, 2 times with a junket rennet and I made Mozzarella and once now using rennet and culture from "cheesemaking.com" I made a Gouda.

I love the idea of using the whey to make Ricotta and using up all the ingredients I can.  I only tried the Ricotta once with the Mozzarella.  I followed all the instructions that came with the junket rennet and the Ricotta turned to "snowflakes" and separated from the greenish whey but it never turned into any type of curd that could hold up to a ladle or straining.  I blamed the rennet at the time.

So recently, when making my Gouda, I tried again.  I saved the whey I pulled off the curd before washing it and followed new (slightly different) instructions for making the Ricotta that came with my cheese making kit.  However, I got the EXACT same results.  Snowflakes in green whey but nothing I could actually separate.  It looked like miso soup both times  ;D

Does anyone have any idea why this might happen?  Or how I can encourage curd to form?  The second recipe had me add citric acid and indicated that I might need more if curds weren't forming.  But I went so far to add TRIPLE the recommended amount and still I just had miso soup.

Thanks in advance!!


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Offline linuxboy

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Re: Ricotta, Whey Based - Small Coagulation Flakes Problem
« Reply #1 on: December 28, 2010, 12:59:04 PM »
Not all milk works for making ricotta. And the yield varies with the milk. In your case, I think you made ricotta from sour whey based on the description. Once the pH drops below 5.8 or so, the solids will drop to the bottom and not clump at the top. To make ricotta that floats, you need sweet whey, which has a pH of around 6.1

One trick you can try is to add back some milk to the whey. This will give you a better yield and will raise the pH a little.

The recipe that said to add more acid, that likely referred to making ricotta from whole milk. Actually, if curd is not forming on top for ricotta and if it's from whey, usually the acidity is too high already, or the milk is not suitable for good ricotta yields.
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Offline Jessica_H

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Re: Ricotta, Whey Based - Small Coagulation Flakes Problem
« Reply #2 on: December 28, 2010, 01:23:18 PM »
Thanks for the advice!

I was using raw milk.  The snowflakes did stay at the top...the just would sink if I blew on it or stirred it. 

I'll try again and add more milk to it.  The 2nd recipe (I've been assuming that's the better one since it came with my basic cheese making kit) said to warm whey to 160 degrees and add 5-12% milk if wanted (but said you didn't have to).  Then warm to 170 degrees and add 1/2 tsp salt per gallon.  And then warm to 185 and add 1/2 tsp citric acid per gallon.  And then the curd would form and to let it sit 10-15 min and skim it off.

It does mention that fresh whey is better...mine was maybe an hour old?

http://www.cheesemaking.com/store/pg/217-Ricotta.html

Offline linuxboy

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Re: Ricotta, Whey Based - Small Coagulation Flakes Problem
« Reply #3 on: December 28, 2010, 01:35:22 PM »
oh, if you were using sweet whey and saw that, then the low yield is because of the whey/milk. You already captured most of the solids in the cheese. When I make whey ricotta from sweet whey, the yield is very low unless I add a little milk back in. I get maybe 3/4 cup of ricotta per gallon of whey without adding milk in.

Without adding milk, I only have this thin layer form, which I drain using muslin to capture a little ricotta.
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Offline Jessica_H

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Re: Ricotta, Whey Based - Small Coagulation Flakes Problem
« Reply #4 on: December 28, 2010, 02:15:18 PM »
I just had a thought. Since I'll be skimming cream off my milk to make Parmesan (see other post)...can I take the whey from the Parmesan and add the skimmed cream back in to make Ricotta?


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Offline linuxboy

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Re: Ricotta, Whey Based - Small Coagulation Flakes Problem
« Reply #5 on: December 28, 2010, 02:22:10 PM »
Sure, but you'd lose some of the fat in the remaining whey that way. There would be little globs on top because the proteins couldn't keep up with the fat, they couldn't retain that much. The cream you skim off doesn't coagulate that well unless the protein content is high because in ricotta it is the denatured whey proteins and acid that cause the milk to coagulate. You sure would have a creamy ricotta that way.

I'd make butter from the cream, or cream cheese, or creme fraiche, or something similar :)
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Offline Jessica_H

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Re: Ricotta, Whey Based - Small Coagulation Flakes Problem
« Reply #6 on: December 28, 2010, 02:43:49 PM »
Butter sounds fun!! Though I'm not sure I can learn more than one hobby at a time :)

Offline MrsKK

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Re: Ricotta, Whey Based - Small Coagulation Flakes Problem
« Reply #7 on: December 29, 2010, 01:25:50 PM »
When I make ricotta, I generally have to heat the whey to 180 - 190 degrees or higher before the curds "bloom".  I use whey that is at least 24 hours old, from making mozzarella or colby.

Also, how tight is the weave of your cheesecloth?  As ricotta is so delicate, you really do need to use muslin with a tight weave.

Butter isn't difficult to make - just put the cream in a jar, no more than 1/2 full and put on a water-tight lid.  Shake, shake, shake until it turns.  And it works better when the cream is about 62-65 degrees before you start.  Rinse it under very cold water, kneading it with your hands if they are cool, with wooden spoons if not.  Rinse several times until the water runs clear, then knead as much of the water out as you can.  Add a bit of salt and wa-la, wonderful, homemade butter!