So I'm running through all the possibilities why I didn't get a clean break.
1. Not enough acid produced.
2. Not fresh enough milk.
3. Bad rennet.
4. Wrong Temp.
5. Slight aggitation while setting.
6. Bad Calcium Chloride.
Most of these are probably not the problem because the curd set some. I think I just didn't give it enough time. I thought with all the rennet the recipe calls for it should have been firm.
Not enough acid produced could be one of the culprits as the recipe I used is from Ricki Carrolls book and I know it's wrought with errors. It says to heat the milk up to 90F and use Meso starter. Well we all know that at 90 you should be using thermo. So I think the temp she has for this recipe is wrong, it probably should be 86F. Plus other books with blue cheese recipes say 86 as well. Who knows, it so hard to trust any "home cheese making" books as they really as so inconsistent. But I don't know if this is the problem.
Not fresh enough milk, probably not the case.
Bad rennet, probably not this either as it's only about 3 weeks old and has been in the frig the entire time, although it could have been over heated in the mail. But the curd did start to set.
I had my circulation pump on, in the boiler, which makes the milk in the vat wiggle just the very slightest, but this may not be the problem as the milk wiggles every so slightly when I walk by anyway. Next time I'll turn the pump off while the rennet is working, doesn't need to be on anyway as everything is up to temp and holding steady.
Bad calcium chloride. I don't know how long i've had it as I keep lots of various chemicles for wine making. It's probably 1 1/2 years old. It was in a clump when I opened the pack, moisture getting in. But I called a home brew store and asked them if Calcium Chloride can go bad, he actually went on his database and said it can't go bad. I agree.
So what's the verdict? I don't think it was any of these things, probably just didn't wait long enough. I'm always paranoid that it's taking too long. When I was looking at Faukhausers webpage he says, "...if it doesn't set within 12 hours, it will probably never set...it should set within an hour or two". So I think tomorrow, rather today, I'll just let it sit until it sets and chart the results.
All my other conditions are right on, but I don't know if I've ever got that picture perfect clean break where your finger comes out of the curd with zero residue and it's just firm as hell.
Question for all of you who use Pastuerized and Homogenized milk have you ever had that perfect clean break or do you get it consistently?