Author Topic: Cannot make mozzarlla?  (Read 358 times)

Offline kelism

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Cannot make mozzarlla?
« on: April 03, 2014, 08:07:59 PM »
I'm new to cheese.  I've tried mozzarella twice and both failed. 

I followed the recipe below with 1 gallon of milk, 1.5 tsp citric acid, and rennet. 

Both times I had trouble getting a curd to form.  I ended up straining it in the fridge overnight the first time to try to salvage it and I ended up with something tasteless and somewhat similar in texture to a cream cheese.  The second time I just could not get a firm curd.  It would look like it was setting up OK, but as soon as I touched it you could see that it was not even close to firm.  I ended up giving up and dumping it. 

I used a different milk and more rennet the second time, because I had used the amount indicated on he bottle, which was less than the recipe called for.

I also tried cheddar.  It took about twice as long to get a clean break as it said it should, but other than that, so far it looks OK (well, it started to crack, I'm working on the humidity). 

What is likely the problem?  This is brand new rennet, but could that be the problem?



http://www.cheesemaking.com/howtomakemozzarellacheese.html


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Offline MrsKK

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Re: Cannot make mozzarlla?
« Reply #1 on: April 03, 2014, 10:08:41 PM »
First of all, Welcome!

Secondly, you have chosen two of the toughest cheeses for starting out, so don't beat yourself up over it.

What kind of milk are you using? I'm assuming store bought pasturized/homogenized milk.  Many brands are pretty beat up in the processing, making it tough to get a decent curd set.  One thing you can do to improve your curd is to add calcium chloride to help replace some of the calcium lost in the p/h process.

I teach cheesemaking classes and use the 30-minute mozzarella recipe...sometimes we are able to stretch curd, sometimes not.  I've been making cheese for over six years and it gets discouraging, but that's kind of the nature of the beast.

For home cheesemaking purposes, I'm rather spoiled, as I have my own cow.  Fresh, raw milk is the best for cheesemaking if you have a good, clean, healthy source for it.

There are a lot of people here who use store bought milk to make cheese and I have a lot of respect for them - I don't have a lot of luck with anything store bought other than creamline milk.

Give us some more details of your make (type of milk, the kind of rennet you are using, temperatures, etc.) and you'll get more practical feedback.

Offline kelism

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Re: Cannot make mozzarlla?
« Reply #2 on: April 03, 2014, 11:19:15 PM »
I guess I like to just jump into things.

The first milk was store bought, pasteurized, homogenized milk (local brand).  The second try (and the cheddar) was a non-homogenized/creamline local store bought milk.  I found someone at work who I can get milk from.  I'm not entirely sure of all of the details about his milk yet, but he lives on a dairy farm.

I used liquid vegetable rennet from cheeseandyogurtmaking.com. 

I mixed citric acid with water and the milk and heated to 90 F, added rennet.  I cut the curd and heated up to 105 F with the first batch, but that wasn't happening with the second.




Offline MrsKK

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Re: Cannot make mozzarlla?
« Reply #3 on: April 04, 2014, 02:23:15 PM »
The times I've had trouble with getting mozz to work have always been with p/h milk, but creamline pasturized only usually works.

I guess I would suggest trying calf rennet.  I used veggie rennet for my classes for awhile, in case I had vegetarians take the class, but the results were variable, so I went back to calf rennet when I ran out.  I prefer powdered calf rennet because it doesn't weaken over time the same way liquid does.  I get mine from thecheesemaker.com and have been very happy with it.

I hope someone else chimes in on this, as I don't have much else to suggest.

BTW, I started out making cheddar - I also jump in feet first!

Offline H-K-J

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Re: Cannot make mozzarlla?
« Reply #4 on: April 05, 2014, 09:35:52 AM »
I'm with MrsKK on the powdered calf rennet, that is what I bought right from the start.
I have had it for 2 years, no problems ever, and when I get something that works that means it ain't broke and you know what they say about that 8)
act as if it were impossible to fail.


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Offline Spoons

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Re: Cannot make mozzarlla?
« Reply #5 on: April 05, 2014, 10:35:38 AM »
I would also agree that creamline milk and choice of rennet are a big factor here.

As for rennet, like MrsKK, I tried the vegetable variety and went back to calf. If you want a rennet suitable for vegetarians, I would suggest you try FPC type rennet as it's supposed to be a superior coagulant.  CHY-MAX M is the leading brand in this type of rennet. This is actually my next "must-try" thing in cheesemaking. But as MrsKK mentionned, liquid form looses potency with time even in ideal refrigerated storage. If I remember well, it looses about 0.5% per month?

http://www.chr-hansen.com/products/product-areas/enzymes/our-products/coagulants/chy-maxr-m.html

They sell it here for home cheesemakers:
http://www.thecheesemaker.com/categories/Ingredients/Rennet/
- Eric

Offline Mystakilla

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Re: Cannot make mozzarlla?
« Reply #6 on: July 27, 2014, 10:57:12 AM »
I didn't want to start a new topic when I am having the same issue.  It seems like the OP gave up since there was no reply on if changing rennets helped out but I must say, I have dumped a lot of gallons down drain because I cant get a curd to form, using the simplest of recipes to.  Ive tried changing milk types, rennet types, even thermometers (yes, calibrated in ice water).
I don't know what exactly got me hooked onto trying cheese making but im at a complete loss and ready to give up.

I really do not know what else to try.   Ive followed numerous recipes to the "T" and cant get a solid curd formation.

Ive seen posts of how mozzarella is the hardest to create, that is fine but looking at other cheese recipes, they all seem to need a curd formation, if I cant even get to that point how am I to try something supposedly easier?  I did manage to make ricotta out of some of the wasted gallons but I would rather have it work for me.

Any ideas or help would be much appreciated.

Thanks

Offline JeffHamm

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Re: Cannot make mozzarlla?
« Reply #7 on: July 27, 2014, 02:19:07 PM »
Hi Mystakilla,

There are a number of things that could be the issue, but the curd that forms from most pasturized and homogenized milk is relatively weak and will often break up when you stir the cut curds.  Also, rennet comes in a wide range of strengths.  If you are using rennet from the grocery store, it's usually for making deserts etc, and will be very weak (i.e. I use around 7 ml to set 11 litres of milk), my cheese making calf rennet, however, I only use around 1.6 ml, and my strong vegetarian cheese rennet uses only 0.6 ml!  If you see a number on your rennet that indicates the strength as measured in IMCU (international milk coagulating units) then report that (if from a cheese making supply store, ask them if it is not on the bottle.  This is just to make sure you're using the right amouht.  If you can find creamline milk (not homogenized), then it is worth the extra expense as the curds are stronger. 

Anyway, maybe someone from your area is on the boards and they can give you some suggestions about what brands of milk are best.  Anything high heat pasteurized will be no good (i.e. most organic milks).

- Jeff
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Offline Mystakilla

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Re: Cannot make mozzarlla?
« Reply #8 on: July 27, 2014, 06:49:28 PM »
Thanks for the reply Jeff,

I have tried both P&H and Non Homogenized milk.  I have ordered and tried three different types of rennets since ive started this cheese trek.
Right now I have a vegetable rennet, tablet calf rennet and a liquid animal rennet, I believe the first two are double strength and the animal is single strength.

A lot of the problems I think most people have are all the similar but different recipes.  add this don't use that, etc...

Im wondering if the citric acid I use is any good since it has a anticaking agent in it (Ball brand), this is the only thing I haven't changed from the start.

My PH levels at start are all in the high 6.x - 7.0.  Ive seen some recipes that state as soon as you add the teaspoon or two of citric that you can start to see it curdle.  I have never seen this happen.

Offline JeffHamm

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Re: Cannot make mozzarlla?
« Reply #9 on: July 27, 2014, 08:18:42 PM »
Hi Mystakilla,

The rennet should set the milk even if you don't have citric acid.  Hmmm, try this, take two glasses of milk and warm both to around 30 C.  To one of them add a tsp of citric acid, and to the other do nothing.  Next, take an egg cup with warm water (not hot, just luke warm) and add a tsp of rennet.  Put 1/2 of this in each cup then let both sit for 30 minutes.  If you have a solid blob of curds in both glasses, then the problem is rennet amount.  If only the acid free one sets up, then something about your citric acid is causing a problem and you need to replace that.  If neither sets up, there's something about your milk or rennet that is problematic. 

- Jeff
The wise do not always start out on the right path, but they do know when to change course.


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Offline Mystakilla

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Re: Cannot make mozzarlla?
« Reply #10 on: July 28, 2014, 08:19:26 AM »
Tried it, neither one set up, the acid one curdled but that was it.  Considering I have purchased three different rennets I cant imagine all of them being bad, I guess I will try to source some better milk.
I think the recipes should state that if you are using P&H milk it may not work.  I will try switching milks and retesting with same rennet and see what happens.
Thanks

Offline Spoons

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Re: Cannot make mozzarlla?
« Reply #11 on: July 28, 2014, 12:09:07 PM »
Do you mix the rennet in distilled water? Make sure it's not chloronated. If using powered or tablet rennet, then it should rest diluted in the water for about 15-20 minutes (not exceeding 30 minutes) before use. If all this is ok, and you also tried the test Jeff suggests, then I would agree that it's most likely the milk. 
- Eric

Offline Mystakilla

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Re: Cannot make mozzarlla?
« Reply #12 on: July 28, 2014, 01:44:05 PM »
Thank SPoons, yes distilled water only.  I will continue to try after I source some better milk.  Thanks for all the help

Offline JeffHamm

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Re: Cannot make mozzarlla?
« Reply #13 on: July 28, 2014, 02:18:13 PM »
Hi Mystakilla,

Since you've tried multiple rennets, and neither set up, it has to be the milk.  Try a different brand.  Hmmm, by a bunch of single serve milks of different brands and try the test (without the citric acid this time as you know that you have a problem even without it).  You could test a fair few different brands this way and find the one that sets up firmest.  Avoid "organic milks" as they are almost always pasturised to such a high temperature as to be worthless for cheese making. 

- Jeff
The wise do not always start out on the right path, but they do know when to change course.

Offline Stu

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Re: Cannot make mozzarlla?
« Reply #14 on: July 29, 2014, 10:29:38 AM »
I had a lot of trouble using store bought Pasteurized/Homogenized milk until I started adding Calcium Chloride. Then I just had problems getting the curds to stretch and so I gave up on Mozz for a while.

Once you get your rennet/curd/whatever issue sorted out, if you're not set on making Mozz, don't be afraid to try something else :D (I've had a lot more fun making quick aging hard cheeses than I did making grainy mozzarella)