Author Topic: Coagulation, Rennet, Tablets - No Clean Break  (Read 7126 times)

Offline minni14

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Coagulation, Rennet, Tablets - No Clean Break
« on: March 09, 2011, 09:44:24 PM »
Hello to everyone.  I am really, really stuck and I can use some help.  I am trying to make mozzarella from milk, following a recipe I have come across on the internet.  I am very new to the cheese making process and seem to have run into a bit of a bump I can't overcome.  Any help would be greatly appreciated and I am getting frustrated, and really craving some mozzarella :)

Here is the ingredients I am using:

1 gallon local milk, sadly pasteurized and homogenized (I live in a big city in a state where it is difficult to obtain raw milk, it would cost me about $30 in gas to get me a gallon)

1 1/4 teaspoons Geffen Brand Citric Acid dissolved into 1/2 cup of cool spring water

.78 g Ball Brand calcium chloride disolved into 1/4 cup of room temp spring water

1/2 tablet Junket Rennet disolved into 1/4 cup of cool spring water

Process I am following:

Add milk to sterilized double boiler pot.
Add calcium chloride to the milk and stir until well mixed.
Add citric acid with water to milk and mix.
Bring pot to 88 degrees F (am am using a digital thermometer and have tested it for accuracy)
remove pot from heat and add rennet mixture, stir for 1 min gently.
Leave for 2 hours to cool to room temp ( I should note that my room temp is 63 degrees F.  It snowed today where I live)


I can't get a clean break! I cant get any break :(    The milk is separating a little, a small amount of whey is present on top of the "curd" and a little under the curd.  The Problem is the curd has the consistency of clumpy yoghurt!  I can't get it to firm up, or even separate completely.  The next step would be to cut the curds, but it is more like glop and cutting is not a real option.

Here is what I have done already:

I have gone through three types of milk. One local, one a big chain, and one a local organic milk. I have tried rennet from two different stores thinking one might be bad.  I have sterilized EVERYTHING with boiling water.  I have switched to spring water for chlorine concerns.

I am running out of ideas.  I have tried different milk, tried re-adding the calcium that is destroyed through the pasteurizing process.  If anyone has any suggestion I would really appreciate it. The only thought I have is that the milk could be cooling too quickly due to the cold climate and thus inhibiting the rennet form doing its job?

Sorry about the long post, thank your for your time and assistance.

Offline David Helmers

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Re: Coagulation, Rennet, Tablets - No Clean Break
« Reply #1 on: March 10, 2011, 08:13:10 AM »
Try using nonfat powdered milk and add cream. I've made mozzarella this way and it will form a curd. If it doesn't, it may be your rennet or your process. I find the citric acid method challenging and more difficult than the slower method of culturing the milk. I stopped using junket tablets because I found my results quite mixed; I now use liquid calf rennet from cheese suppliers. Some areas it's hard to find milk that hasn't been overheated, making for bad curd set.
Dave in CT
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Offline tananaBrian

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Re: Coagulation, Rennet, Tablets - No Clean Break
« Reply #2 on: March 10, 2011, 12:57:14 PM »
Here in Anchorage, Alaska, the only milk from the store that I have found that works is Lucerne from Carrs/Safeway.  I also had success with Horizon brand "cream on top whole milk" which is pasteurized only.  But around here, the Horizon milk is always near its expiration date and I would say "barely works" with direct acidification mozzarella.  In any case keep looking ...and be creative.  Look in the health food stores for alternative brands and what not as well.  There might be a milk coop around where you take turns driving milk in from a farm for example.  And note that most milk is ultra-pasteurized, or at least over heated to the extent that it doesn't work, nowadays.  If you switch to a vegetable or animal rennet (not Junket tablets), use calcium chloride, and the milk will not curd properly, then it's likely that it was overheated.  Overheated milk produces a mushy, cottage cheese-like, curd or sometimes a curd that is weak and gloppy and has 'feathery edges' where the curd meets the whey.  Finally, note that a lactic (or citric) acid curd is not going to be the same as one primarily from rennet and may not cut very well.  I have noticed that lactic acid curds tend to sink and let the whey float over the top while rennet curd seems to solidify clear to the top and the whey, if there is much there, will be around the outside of the curd (and maybe under?).  Lactic acid curds may not get a very good clean break, but typically still do create a good (fresh) cheese.  That's been my (newbie) experience so far.  Take a moment and check the wikis here, especially the one on coagulation, before you try again:  The main wiki page The wiki on coagulation

Hope that helps ...I am a new cheese maker too and I went through gallons of milk over the space of 2+ months before I discovered that the Lucerne brand milk that I can get works.  I also found cow shares, and coops, here that let me buy raw cows milk (or goat milk) at $5/gallon delivered to my neighborhood.  That's only about a dollar and a half per gallon more than what regular milk in the store sells for.

Oh ...two more tips:  Many told me to stop trying to make citric acid mozzarella as a 'first cheese' because it is really not an easy cheese to make for a beginner ...even though it is rumored to be so.  Making a Gouda or a Tomme was suggested instead.  Of course I ignored all that and persisted until I got the moz to work, but in looking back, I wish I knew more at the time ...I probably should've followed the advice that I got, but I do tend to be hard headed and have a hard time quitting before succeeding.  The other tip is that organic milk is generally the Wonder Bread of milk, always ultra-pasteurized and destroyed, and despite all the marketing hype it is probably the very last milk that you'd want ...either for drinking OR cheesemaking.  Ultra-pasteurizing is good for the supplier who wants to ship longer distances or keep milk on the shelves longer, but it is not as good for humans (or cheese).  The rest is all marketing bull... Oh yeah ...third tip: Cream is likely ultra-pasteurized as well.  There is no cream in Alaska that is NOT ultra-pasteurized except for what's on the raw milk that you can get from cow shares.  You may be out of luck with cream and not be able to use it for cheese other than fresh cheeses that don't need a firm curd.


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Offline John (CH)

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Re: Coagulation, Rennet, Tablets - No Clean Break
« Reply #3 on: March 10, 2011, 06:41:21 PM »
Looks like you are already being helped, also lots of people have problem with rennet tablets, search forum on word tablet or your brand junket and you'll get several threads to read. One key problem is age and storage of tablets.