Author Topic: Coagulation, Rennet - Flocculation Time Method, Floc Time (& Mother Culture Discussion)  (Read 1272 times)

Offline Jessica_H

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Hello,

I've done a ton of reading about floc times and actually noted my floc times on my last two cheeses.  But now I'm trying to do something with all this information  ::) 

I downloaded a few documents I found here with floc multiplier information.

My question is, are we always shooting for the SAME INITIAL floc point?  I read in a few posts:
Quote
Your flocculation time is way too short. Use about 50% less rennet and shoot for 12-15 minutes. Yes, unless there is some sort of problem with the milk, you ignore clean break and cut at the time determined by the multiplier.

and
Quote
Rennet recommendations are "in the ballpark" but not accurate and your floc time is definitely telling you to use less rennet. There are lots of reasons including starter pH, cows diet, variations in pasteurization, lactation cycles, etc. But whatever the reason, reduce your rennet and get the flocculation back to ~15 minutes. Short floc times, (too much rennet) can result in bitter peptides. This is especially true with Chy-max or other non-animal rennets.

Is this (like the multiplier) cheese specific?  Or are we always shooting for about 12-15min for the floc time?

Thanks in advance!
Jessica


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Offline linuxboy

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Almost always :). It has to do with individual preference, cheese style, and the entire technology of the make. For example, on some continental cheese styles, I like to use a 12 month aging period, and I like to use very slow acidifying, but strong flavor-forming strains of starter bacteria. So what I will do is use an 18 min target of time to floc with calf rennet, let the bacteria work longer on the curd to multiply, and use a longer total make on the cheese. That's one example of a cheese make approach and technology crafted to work together synergistically.

There are also other ways of making some types of cheese, like dumping a ton of starter and a ton of rennet, cutting quickly, and letting surface molds take care of maturation.

Those are really, really specific applications, for custom designed cheeses. In general, you want to be right at 12-15 minutes. If you're just starting out, I highly recommend sticking to that guideline, and then branching out in a year or two once you understand the nuances of the make.
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Offline Jessica_H

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Thanks so much!

Offline coffee joe

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Back to Starter time and floc time, from the other thread.
 Rennet amount will affect the floc time so I'm going down to 1:4000 with the rennet(Chy Max Extra) in an attempt at hitting the 14 minute floc target.

How do I know if I have too active, or too much, Mother culture, hence too fast acidification? Is there a time target for my .25pH drop?
I am using 1-1/4 cups (295ml) in 30 liters of fresh milk, so just under 1%.

To make the starter, I am using 50ml of yesterday's starter in 450ml of sterilized milk. This is kept @ 76ºF for 13 hours and then goes into the vat, with the leftover kept in the fridge until making the new starter for the next day. This is every day, 7 days a week, milk the cows every day anyway!

Offline linuxboy

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Joe, I posted in the other thread for how you know if you have too much or too little. You have to hit 5.4 between 4 and 5 hours from the point of adding culture. The amount of the starter you add has to coincide with that. If you add 1% and it takes, say, 6 hours to hit 5.4, then it's not enough. If you add 1% and you hit 5.4 in 3 hours, then even 1% is too much. The initial drop to 6.5 doesn't have a specific time target - it depends on your culture. If the pH curve of your culture is such that it is very slow to begin, say, a .2 drop is 2 hours, but then will do a .8-1.0 drop in the next hour, then you need to either use a different culture, or adjust your make. to hit the pH targets.

Your pH targets for cheddar should be ~6.1 (not below 6.0 at finish) at drain, and 5.4-5.45 at mill (depends how long it takes you to mill - no lower than 5.35 by the time you salt.

You use TA, so I think it's something like 0.2- 0.22 TA at drain, and .45-.55 at mill/salt.

Make sense? It's about the entire acidity curve, you have to hit the moisture targets at the same time as the acidity targets when you drain, and you have to hit the milling pH targets about 4 hours into the make.

My guidance above is for high-quality, 36% MFFB, 6+ months aged medium to sharp cheddar. If you're making other types, you can take the short cut and use a shorter make and hit 5.4 in 3-3.5 hours.
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Offline Sailor Con Queso

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To make the starter, I am using 50ml of yesterday's starter in 450ml of sterilized milk. This is kept @ 76ºF for 13 hours and then goes into the vat, with the leftover kept in the fridge until making the new starter for the next day.

Joe - Using leftover MC to start a new MC is a true Mother Culture workflow. You should be aware of a few inherent problems.
  • Every time you start a new culture, you are getting farther away from the strain proportions of the original
  • Over time you will get mutations
  • There is a much higher risk of contamination from batch to batch
  • Maintaining the same culture for long periods invites phage infiltration
That obviously works but I advocate doing Primer Cultures instead. This method uses fresh DVI culture to start each new batch of Mother Culture.

IMHO, 50ml is too much to start 450ml of starter - that's 11%. Are you testing the pH of your finished MC?
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