Author Topic: New Member of the "My Mozzarella Failed" club  (Read 368 times)

Offline atalanta

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New Member of the "My Mozzarella Failed" club
« on: July 06, 2016, 02:52:28 PM »
What?!? You mean the cartoon lady on the box is "lying" when she says that its so easy?!?

  :D

I read a couple other posts and saw more "aged" members say that mozz is not such an easy cheesy thing to do. I was lulled into a false sense of security when I made my first batch and it came out perfect - beautiful mozzarella balls and a nice bowl of riccotta. The milk wasn't perfect either, it was the end of a gallon that someone left out on the counter after making his coffee and the balance was a fresh gallon. I didn't follow the "cartoon lady's" instructions, I got mine from the Serious Eats post.

So, wanting to experiment a bit, I bought a gallon of local, low-temp pasteurized/homogenized whole milk. Two mistakes pretty quickly: I dissolved the rennet in tap, rather than boiled water (I used boiled the first time) and then I think I over-stirred it when I added the rennet. When I went to strain it, I noticed it wasn't nice big blobs like before, more like rice with an occasional blob. I dumped everything back into the pot, gave it a good stir, and added another 1/4 tablet of rennet (done with bottled water I had handy) and heated it like before. Let it rest and it seemed even worse! The curds were too small to be caught up in my slotted spoon.

I was not going to let this get the better of me. I cranked the heat up under the pot, brought it to a fierce simmer (so I didn't make a mess of the kitchen) and cussed it out a bit. Strained off the whey and I was left with a bowl full of tasty ricotta (that desperately needed salt). What I learned from this: if I need to make a big batch of ricotta, over-stir the rennet when I add it to the pot.

So, oh cheezy experts out there, what is an "easy" cheese? I want to try making others, especially if the cheap milk works out. I have the rennet from the kit, LOTS of citric acid (I make all sorts of cocktail mixers and bitters), just got started making Kefir, we started cooking sous vide (can't wait to try making yogurt with it), and other stuff so I may not need to invest in more stuff other than molds or bacteria.

Offline SOSEATTLE

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Re: New Member of the "My Mozzarella Failed" club
« Reply #1 on: July 06, 2016, 08:09:40 PM »
Mozz is definitely not the easiest of cheeses  ;). It would be better not to use homogenized milk for cheese. Homogenization alters the structure of the fat globules in the milk so that it tends to not form the nice strong curds you saw the first time. Also, are you using any calcium chloride? That may help.


Susan

Offline atalanta

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Re: New Member of the "My Mozzarella Failed" club
« Reply #2 on: July 07, 2016, 08:50:25 AM »
No, I've not used calcium chloride. Any links for more info? How does that help?

The only non-homogenized milk I've seen locally is the raw milk. Are there ways to work with "store bought"?

Offline awakephd

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Re: New Member of the "My Mozzarella Failed" club
« Reply #3 on: July 07, 2016, 04:07:40 PM »
Welcome to the forum! And yes, mozzarella is quite challenging!

Calcium chloride can help to mitigate the damage caused by homogenization and pasteurization -- a little bit. If you have raw milk, not really needed.

Some questions to help narrow our recommendations:

Are you interested in aging the cheese, or do you want to stay with fresh cheeses?

If aged, do you have any way to press a cheese? That will make a difference in what we recommend. For example, if you can press the cheese, a Lancashire is a nice, forgiving, short-aging cheese in the cheddar family. Caerphilly is another choice, which can be more cheddar-ish or more sharp/crumbly, depending on the recipe.
-- Andy

Offline atalanta

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Re: New Member of the "My Mozzarella Failed" club
« Reply #4 on: July 07, 2016, 05:57:11 PM »
I was thinking of maybe a gouda. We tend toward a lot of hard cheeses. Oh, and brie/camembert family.

I don't have a press, but I could probably rig something. I don't want to make big investments unless I really get into it. Right now between this and my other "hobbies" I barely have time to go to work.  ;)

Raw vs P&H? Cost. The P&H is less than half, per gallon, of the raw I get (which is pretty inexpensive compared to other places to get raw milk). I'll pick up some calcium chloride (I don't think I have any in my "chemistry" lab) and see how that works. What's a general ratio or does it really depend on the cheese?



edited to change calcium carbonate to calcium chloride.
« Last Edit: July 08, 2016, 07:20:57 AM by atalanta »

Offline SOSEATTLE

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Re: New Member of the "My Mozzarella Failed" club
« Reply #5 on: July 07, 2016, 08:04:24 PM »
Should be calcium chloride, not carbonate.


Susan

Offline MrsKK

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Re: New Member of the "My Mozzarella Failed" club
« Reply #6 on: July 08, 2016, 07:22:41 AM »
Most recipes include the amounts for calcium chloride.  I don't use it, as I have a cow, thus access to fresh, raw milk.

Queso fresco is a pretty easy cheese to make and is meant to be eaten fresh, so you can taste the results of your cheesemaking right away - the reason so many people are drawn to making mozzarella.  It is tough to wait for cheese to age, especially when you don't know if you got the whole process right or not.

P/H milk can be a challenge, but many on here have met it and met it well.  Good luck!


Offline awakephd

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Re: New Member of the "My Mozzarella Failed" club
« Reply #7 on: July 08, 2016, 09:10:03 AM »
Calcium chloride (CaCl), as used in cheese-making, is usually in the form of a 30% or 33% saturated liquid (sorry, don't remember the exact percentage). Most recipes call for up to 1/2 tsp per gallon.

Much cheaper than the liquid CaCl is the product Pickle Crisp - granules of CaCl that can be dissolved in water - available in grocery stores in the canning supply section. You could make up your own 30-33% liquid using this product ... but I just measure 1/3 as much of the granules as I would of the liquid, and dissolve that in a bit of distilled or filtered water. Seems to work for me ...
-- Andy

Offline AnnieV

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Re: New Member of the "My Mozzarella Failed" club
« Reply #8 on: September 24, 2016, 08:51:36 PM »
Another member of the failed mozzarella club - second try.

I'm following the recipe in Artisan CHese Making At Home (Mary Karlin), using whole milk from a local creamery that's stocked at Whole Foods. Pasteurized.

This recipe uses calcium chloride and liquid rennet.

This time around  let it "cook" longer in the first phase as it's forming curd (nearly an hour longer than stated in the recipe), and I do believe I got a good clean break, they sank toward the bottom of the pot. When spooning them into a muslin-lined colander, some of the curds were small, but I did have big cubes. However, it was quite wet. Draining took far longer than indicated, even with some helpful squeezing. When it went back into the pot in the water bath to spend 2 hours melting together to form a slab -- yeah, way too moist still.

Could the whole milk need more cc/rennet? More temp or more time and let the milk tell me when it's done with a stage?
Just prior to draining, should I be able to pick up and hold a cube of it after cutting it, like jello? Is that too firm? What I had was semi-firm pudding. The blobs were large, but did kind of fall into a mass in the colander.

Have had appropriate success with ricotta and cream cheese, this was my next step before moving on to Havarti, or provolone, or similar.


Offline awakephd

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Re: New Member of the "My Mozzarella Failed" club
« Reply #9 on: September 25, 2016, 03:05:51 PM »
Hi Annie, and welcome to the forum. Winston-Salem is one of my all-time favorite cities. I lived there for seven years, but that was 30+ years ago. But my sister still lives there, and when I visit it still seems to retain the balance that I loved -- small enough to get around easily, but large enough to have everything you could want, some great restaurants, lots of cultural opportunities, and only an hour up to the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Back to the recipe - you mentioned calcium chloride and rennet, but what did you use to develop the proper acidity? (Usual choices are directly adding acid, e.g., citric acid, for the so-called "30-minute mozzarella," or adding lactic cultures which gradually acidify the curd.)
-- Andy