My milk did not set and I'm wondering if using a homebrew wort boiling kettle could have been at fault. The back story...
I'm a homebrewer and I'm now giving cheese making a try. I've done a couple of soft/fresh cheeses and all went well. Today I tried my first pressed cheese using the Gouda recipe from Ricki Carroll's book "Home Cheese Making". Since this was my first 2 gallon recipe, I didn't feel comfortable using my everyday 8 qt stainless steel pot that had worked well in my previous 1 gal recipes because I wasn't sure if curd washing could produce more than 2 gals of liquid which would overflow my 8 qt pot. So, I used my 20 qt stainless steel pot I use for extract beer brewing which happens to fit nicely inside my 32 qt aluminum hot liquor tank to form a double boiler.
My initial temp of 90 degrees was spot on and I used distilled water to dilute my fresh liquid animal rennet. The recipe called for a set time of 1 hour at which point I did not have a clean break. I checked for a clean break every 5-10 minutes afterwards until a total time of 90 minutes had elapsed since adding the rennet, but no indication like I had seen in my fresh cheeses was forth coming. I had hoped that perhaps I was misreading the break for this particular recipe and went ahead and cut the cheese at 90 minutes but after a 10 minute rest it was clear that I had not formed usable curds.
Needless to say, this was a very big disappointment but I'm glad I used whole pasteurized milk from the grocery store instead of the $22 of raw milk I purchased specifically for this project. (The plan was to do two batches, one with whole pasteurized milk and one with raw milk. I had always used whole pasteurized milk in my fresh cheese attempts.)
So, my question to the board is could my malt extract brew pot be the culprit? It is always dish soap washed after every use (and was again before attempting this Gouda recipe) but hadn't been cleaned with brewing cleaner like "Straight A" for a while. Could brewing malt residue cause issues with setting milk?
EDIT: The recipe called for diluting 1/2 tsp of liquid rennet in 1/4 cup of unchlorinated water.