Author Topic: Ricotta From Buffalo (Carabao) Milk - Problems  (Read 2157 times)

Offline Tatoosh

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Ricotta From Buffalo (Carabao) Milk - Problems
« on: January 31, 2011, 08:51:29 AM »
I am at the early stages of learning to make cheese.  I am a retired US citizen living in the Philippines where almost all cheese is imported.  There is a local dairy that sells cows milk and it is also possible to get water buffalo (aka carabao) milk here too.  I had wanted to make mozzarella, but the rennet I found was way past expiration.  So my first try at that was a failure.  I used pasteurized cows milk for that effort.  I had 3 liters of carabao milk in reserve if the cows milk mozz went well, but alas, no joy.

So I decided to try a simpler cheese with a liter of the carabao milk.  My instructions, via a book from Australia, described the process of making for 10 liters of (cows) milk and 1/2 cup of white vinegar.  I reduced the vinegar to 10 percent of a 1/2 cup or 18 milliliters.  Since we don't have super accurate measuring equipment, I used a fairly small measuring cup that ran in both milliliters and fractional cups up to 1/4 cup.  I am guessing I had 20 milliliters maximum of vinegar.

The instructions said to bring the milk to 90 degrees Celsius or 194 degrees Fahrenheit.  We did that.  Mixed in the vinegar, and stirred.  The curd coagulated rapidly.  We removed with a slotted spoon and put in a cheese-cloth covered colander.  We let it drain for five minutes.

The curd we got were large clumps but made of smaller nobs and it is rather tough, not soft and creamy at all.   I am not sure why this occurred.  Too much vinegar?  Wrong kind of vinegar? I don't think carabao's milk should be a problem, except it has a higher fat content.  Though there is no equipment to measure that here and from what little I have read about carabao products here, Philippine carabao do not have as high a fat content in their milk due to their diet here.  But how much less, I don't know. 

Anyone experienced any ricotta failures and have some insight on where I am going wrong?  Ricotta should be a soft creamy cheese, something like a large curd cottage cheese, right?  Not tough at all. 
Retired Americano adventuring abroad


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Offline KosherBaker

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Re: Ricotta From Buffalo (Carabao) Milk - Problems
« Reply #1 on: February 02, 2011, 12:21:53 AM »
Hi Tatoosh, and welcome to the forum. The procedure you described makes a wonderful cheese called Queso Blanco, after you add some salt to it.
Ricotta is not usually made from milk. Ricotta is usually made from whey, left over from a cheese make. Sometimes a little bit of milk is added to it to increase the yield.
Here's forum with discussions about Queso Blanco
Here's a forum with discussions about Ricotta
Rudy

Offline Tatoosh

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Re: Ricotta From Buffalo (Carabao) Milk - Problems
« Reply #2 on: February 02, 2011, 03:36:59 AM »
Thank you for the reply and the links.  I have not used Ricotta before, just seen it in the supermarket in the States.  And I ran across it in a high end market in Manila where they carried Italian buffalo milk mozzarella.  I popped for the Mozzarella, but didn't buy the Ricotta, though I should have, so I would have a better idea what I was looking for when we made Ricotta. 

I do realize that ricotta is traditionally a by-product of other cheeses such as mozzarella.  But the cheese manual I got out of Australia had recipes for both whey based ricotta and whole milk Ricotta.  Since I had 3 liters of carabao (buffalo) milk sitting in my refrigerator, I figured I would try one using the ricotta recipe they gave in the Australian cheese manual.  No reason to let the buffalo milk go to waste.  And I still have two liters I have to use tonight or tomorrow.

I will try one liter with my old rennet.  The first time I tested the rennet it seemed to still work, but I was just doing a sort of slap-dash test using a pint (glass) of cows milk.  The result looked very good, like mozzarella almost, so I thought it would be fine.  I got 4 liters of cows milk and 3 liters of buffalo milk.  I used most of the 4 liters on a Mozzarella try.  The recipe taken from the internet used simply citric acid and rennet.  They don't sell citric acid powder where I live but they sell lemons pretty cheap.  I read that 4 tablespoons of lemon juice was the equivalent of 1 teaspoon of citric acid powder. 

So my first try for mozz used 8 tablespoons of lemon juice, doing the temperature thing in a water bath (double  boiler) that I very carefully regulated.  Added the rennet (20 milliliters) to the 1 gallon of milk.  I got curds, small, pretty firm or even hard to the bite and they didn't coagulate into a mass, but wanted to be loose.  So I added a bit more rennet in case it was due to old age/lack of strength.  Maybe another 10 milliliters.  No joy.  Still loose though they did coagulate a bit when I removed them from the whey and let them drain in the colander.

With that failure on my hands and 3 liters of buffalo milk, I decided to try the whole milk ricotta using the buffalo milk I had hoped to try as Mozzarella. I got small nobs that did coagulate into bunches, but were quite firm.  Maybe not as firm as the failed Mozz expiriment, but firmer than I expected. 

So I will read the guides again and keep trying.  I will order rennet tablets from the USA.  And I ran across recipe that uses cultured buttermilk instead of a direct set starter for Mozz.  I want to try that  since I can get the cultured buttermilk starter mailed overseas easily, it doesn't require being kept at a low temperature.  Later I will get the traditional starter cultures, either from the USA or from Australia when I find a shipper that will send via FedEx or UPS so there will be a chance of timely delivery and the starters might survive the trip.

I have access to 10 - 20 liters of raw or pasteurized (but not homogenized) cows milk daily, at a price.  Buffalo milk is half again more expensive and only available raw and frozen.  Still with those resources, I should be able to start making simple cheeses pretty soon.  Whole milk Ricotta and the Queso Blanco seem to be my only options for the moment.       
Retired Americano adventuring abroad

Offline KosherBaker

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Re: Ricotta From Buffalo (Carabao) Milk - Problems
« Reply #3 on: February 02, 2011, 10:28:08 PM »
If you can get your hands on buttermilk (Mesophilic) culture  you can also make Cottage Cheese. The long set variety.
Here's a link

Also a link to some good recipe sites:
http://www.foodsci.uoguelph.ca/cheese/welcom.htm
http://dairyfoodsconsulting.com/recipes.shtml

There's much much more info and links if you read the archives for this amazing forum.

Last note, Mozzarella, is generally regarded as an advanced cheese, and therefore is generally not recommended for noobs.
Rudy

Offline Tatoosh

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Re: Ricotta From Buffalo (Carabao) Milk - Problems
« Reply #4 on: February 04, 2011, 10:04:04 PM »
Some joy finally!  As a noob, I expect my fair share of failures, particularly since I am self-taught, no class or real life mentor.  But we had a bit of success last night.  I had 1 liter of carabao (buffalo) milk just starting to turn in the refrigerator.  I looked at the Queso Blanco thread, did some more hunting on the internet and decided to just go for it, since the alternative was pouring the stuff down the drain. 

The QB recipe I used called for heating cows milk to 80F and adding either yogurt or buttermilk, but I didn't have either of these so I skipped it.  I have a buttermilk starter coming from the states so I hope to be able to add that step back in next time.  Then we took the heat up to 180F and added lemon juice slowly, stirring as we did it. Only an ounce at a time.  We did maybe two ounces and curd began to separate out.  So I stopped adding lemon juice and let it sit for 10 minutes.  Then we drained for 30 but there was no liquid draining at all.  The cheese was much more like what I've seen in the photos and videos on the net.  We salted it lightly but all I had was normal ionized table salt.  Since this cheese doesn't "age" due to bacterial action, I figured that the iodine wouldn't hurt it the way it would other cheeses.  But I am hunting for a good non-iodine treated salt here (I live in the Philippines).  They sell a rock salt for human consumption that does not have iodine, but it very granular and I am worried it won't dissolve well.

Anyway, Thanks for the links again.   Progress is being made.  And I do realize that Mozzarella is a more advanced cheese, but it is what I am after, the object of my desire, to quote an old Hoyt Axton song.   
Retired Americano adventuring abroad


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Offline KosherBaker

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Re: Ricotta From Buffalo (Carabao) Milk - Problems
« Reply #5 on: February 06, 2011, 03:41:34 PM »
Little doubt in my mind you'll have Mozzarella mastered before too long. As you are getting the feel for the milk and the cheese making process and flow.  Mozzarella is quite literally Two cheese making procedures that yield a single cheese. And the two procedures have very little in common with one another. :)
However, if I had access to Water Buffalo milk, I too would be really excited about making Mozzarella. :) Although just about anything you make from that milk is going to taste really really good. That's really something.
Rudy