Author Topic: 15 Gallon Batch Parmesan #6  (Read 4824 times)

Offline Cartierusm

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15 Gallon Batch Parmesan #6
« on: January 14, 2009, 02:31:53 AM »
Today, I'm going to make a 15 gallon Parmesan Batch with Bayview Farms Milk as recomended by SayCheese. Here is what my frig looks like.
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Offline Sing_cheese

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Re: 15 Gallon Batch Parmesan #6
« Reply #1 on: January 14, 2009, 05:03:35 AM »
Cartier,

Would be very interested in the resulting size and density of your result from  this parma attempt.  It is very similar to the size (50 liter in my case) to the one I made in late December.  After reading all the posts on weights, I think I may have under pressed my big Parma.  As it was my first atempt at a cheese this big and the first use of my 10 inch press and mould.  I would like to know what the density of your resulting cheese is.  I need to weigh mine (now at three weeks in age) and wish I had done this when I took it out of the press and out of the brine (was going to do this but the digital kitchen scale I normally use has a 5kg limit).

Look forward to hearing your results and final dimensions/yield from your process.

Gerrit
Gerrit @ Urban Farmstead Singapore

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Offline Cartierusm

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Re: 15 Gallon Batch Parmesan #6
« Reply #2 on: January 14, 2009, 03:42:53 PM »
So far everything is going good, the best. Yet I'm totally prepared, I'm taking it slow and didn't have to make any necessary equipment while making the cheese, which is almost always the case. I'm constatnly perfecting my method and if I can build a device to better help me or ease some of the frustration I'll make it. This time I built an articulating arm that will hold my thermometer exactly where I want it. I'll post a separate section in the equipment section. Here is one pic of the milk ripening.
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Offline Cartierusm

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Re: 15 Gallon Batch Parmesan #6
« Reply #3 on: January 14, 2009, 06:49:34 PM »
So complete confusion has set in. I spent the morning emailing the professor of University of Guelph about my problem and called Egon at Danlac again. Both say the same thing, kind of. My PH meter is ok to use first off. Next if I'm only getting 6.6PH at pressing time, the professor, says that my culture is probably not working. Egon says as long as the PH is starting to drop before adding rennet you're good to go. He said that a target PH for Parmesan before adding rennet should be in the 6.4 range. My milk started out at 6.9 which by my reading means fresh, the higher the PH starting the fresher the milk. I'm using the milk SayCheese Suggested, still store bought but past/homo. Once up to temp I checked PH before adding any cultures PH of 6.7 it already dropped without me adding anything. After 1 hour of ripening no change, after 2 hours 10 minutes it dropped to 6.6 so some change. I let it go for a total of 3 hours and it stayed at 6.6. Aside from this I changed nothing from my regular routine. So the PH wasn't dropping anymore but I got the best curd break ever, 30 minutes as the recipe suggest and it was PERFECT. So what?? Should I not go by PH alone or what, was it just the new milk? Did it coagulate for some reason but I'm still not producing acid? I mean creating curd is one thing but the acid is necessary for flavor and body and to break down the protenins and such as it aged. I don't know where to go from here.

The good news is that my new auto stirrer is way to fast and I pulverized the curds...did I say good news? anyway it will still be salvageable, I'll try another one on friday, maybe not ripening so long but same brand of milk.

Any help would be appreciated.
« Last Edit: January 14, 2009, 06:55:18 PM by Cartierusm »
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Offline Sing_cheese

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Re: 15 Gallon Batch Parmesan #6
« Reply #4 on: January 14, 2009, 08:03:54 PM »
Cartier,

I have the PH readings fairly well documented from my batch

http://sites.google.com/site/urbanfarmsteadcheeselog/parmesan-2-281208

I had a slow acidification process as well, but my understanding is that the acidification continues as you cook the curds (with cheddar as you do the cheddaring (cooking and restacking the you are actually looking for a target PH of around 5.4 to tell you when to press the cheddaring curds.

When I did my big parma the PH dropped mostly while cooking the curds and had final PH of around 6.38 when squeaky.  the cheese presses well seems fine
Gerrit @ Urban Farmstead Singapore

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Offline Cartierusm

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Re: 15 Gallon Batch Parmesan #6
« Reply #5 on: January 14, 2009, 08:12:21 PM »
Thanks Gerrit. I'll check out your site, I'm about to press so we'll see.
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Offline Cartierusm

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Re: 15 Gallon Batch Parmesan #6
« Reply #6 on: January 14, 2009, 09:26:45 PM »
Gerrit, thanks that helped. I checked the PH as normally do at pressing time and you're right is was 5.5, thank god.

So now the question is did the milk set well because of the ripening time or the milk brand?

And another question is on Friday when I make another batch with the same milk how long should I ripen for? Should I ripen for 3 hours or ripen for 1 hour as the recipe indicated or should I do as Egon at Danlac says ripen until the PH starts to drop?
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Offline Sing_cheese

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Re: 15 Gallon Batch Parmesan #6
« Reply #7 on: January 14, 2009, 10:39:14 PM »
I have to check the details in my American Farmstead Cheese book. But I have had similar issues in the PH from farm to cheese vat to renneting. As the guy from Danlac said as long as its moving the right direction you should be OK.

From what I have read, the milk from the cow should be at about 6.7 to 6.8, when I check at milk pail at the farm this us usually the case (I have had some exceptions and talked to my farmer and he has since admonished his contract workers to rinse the euipment better after washing it ) seems that detergent remnants can raise the PH and I got readings of PH 7.03 one day at the farm (this was an exceptiona and since the PH in the pail has always been on target).  I find that as I drive home from the farm, the adgetation, cooling and aging of the milk will raise the PH from around 6.7 to almost 7.0 most of the time (usually about 1-2 hours before I get it home and in the cheese vat). From what I have read the PH will normally raise a bit if the milk is roughly treated and when they do the initial cooling into the storage vat at the farm.  I have measured the PH in the farmers cooling vat and it is usually around 6.85.  Ialways take my milk from the milking pail as I want to make sure that Iam always using milk from a single (and just finished) milking.  I trust straight from cow more than anything.  My milk never really cools, perhaps just a bit from the aircon in the car.

This always concerned me because I have read that at a PH of over 7 the cultures would not become active.  I sometimes add some calcium cloride as I read somewhere this can act to bring down the PH in slightly basic milk. 

I have found if I am on the right side of the PH of 7.0 I can go ahead and things get going.  I do watch the PH very carifully; if the curds get too acidic durring cooking or stirring (e.g., less than PH of 4.8) it can become very difficult or impossible to get the cuds to knit in the press.  If things are going south too fast on the PH, I quickly will get the cheese pressed even if it is earlier than anticipated.

I really rely on the PH and the chemistry now much more than timings in the recipes I see (except for timings regarding temp holdings and temp changes required).  Although, I had to cheese last weekend without my PH meter - as I had dropped it Brine and it got fryed; my daughter arrived from the US last niht with a new waterproof PH meter with her.  So this weekend it will be back to watching, noting and acting on the acidification process.

I will pull the details if I can find them from the book when I get home later.  I have never worked with store bought milk so I do not know what the differences you may find with your milk.

Gerrit
« Last Edit: January 14, 2009, 11:06:33 PM by Sing_cheese »
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Offline Cartierusm

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Re: 15 Gallon Batch Parmesan #6
« Reply #8 on: January 15, 2009, 02:52:35 AM »
Arthur Hill up at UOGuelph in Canada says that like human blood the nature of milk by the laws of science say that it will always be in the 6.7-6.8 range.

I'm still not sure which way to sway. I think that I should break off a piece of cheese in a few days and squeeze out some whey and test that for PH. If the PH is below 5.4 then it's too ripe, but I don't want to do that, I want the wheel in tact.

So do I stay with the recipe or, what I suspect is the right move, and let it ripen until I see ph start to change.
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Offline Cartierusm

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Re: 15 Gallon Batch Parmesan #6
« Reply #9 on: January 15, 2009, 02:51:10 PM »
Not very happy!! Cheese can out horrible, see pics below. Very fragile, crumbly and dry. A huge chunk broke free as I was lowering it into the brine. We'll age it and see.

SO major problem. First off using small circular cheese cloths to cover the drain holes in the followers doesn't work. As you can see it pulls the curd away, granted the curds didn't knit together very well. When I was scooping out the curds to put in the mold I noticed they were very hard feeling. So at least its nothing to do with my press at least not the major problem.

Some reasons for this bad crumbly cheese.

Too much rennet? Let's see every recipe in Ricki Carroll's books has different amounts of rennet for the same quantity of milk. Who should I believe? The rennet bottle says 1/2 tsp. will coagulate 2 gallons for 15 gallons thats about 4 tsp. So that's what I use for every batch despite what the recipe says. This is probably not the cause.

I let it ripen for 3 hours, too much acid produced? This may be a cause, but probably not.

Using my stirrer chopped up instantly the curds into small bits, this is probably the cause. It caused the curds to realease all the whey, not much came out of the press. Plus when I tried using the circular cheese cloth for just the followers they caught and made the follower stick and I didn't notice during the first pressing. So for the first 15-20 minutes. it wasn't being pressed which is the most critical as the curds still have the heat to help them, but the follower helped keep the heat in, so the outcome probably would have been the same not matter how I pressed it as the curds were too hard.

It could have been I cooked them too much but I rose the temp as described and never went over and started to scoop them out when the target temp was reached. So this probably wasn't a cause either.

Basically it was the chopping of the curds allowing it to release whey instantly and then cooking them to release more whey.

I'm not sure how to tell if the cheese hasn't been pressed enough thereby releasing the correct amount of whey. The reason I want to know is to check because next time I'm not screwing around with cheeese cloth.

Next time no cheese cloth, ripen until the PH starts to drop, add double of the starter as it can't hurt if I'm using PH to look for a change. Super slow mixing.
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Offline Cartierusm

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Re: 15 Gallon Batch Parmesan #6
« Reply #10 on: January 15, 2009, 02:57:25 PM »
Yes you learn from every experience, but I'm really starting to get frustrated. Not really frustrated with myself, a little, but with all the inconsistencies in the industry and not being able to get straight answers to general questions.

My biggest pet pieve is emailing someone and having them respond to the first sentence, then I have to email again and ask again and I still get the wrong information because they didn't even bother to read the dam thing. Whenever I answer someone I take the time to read the email a couple times as I'm answering to make sure I got everything answered. Everyone has people help them constantly but these people can't take 3 minutes to answer a question correctly so I don't have to bother them and ask in 10 emails ONE question....OK enough ranting. I mean they have my money right....OK OK COUNT TO 10....deep breaths. ;D
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Offline Likesspace

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Re: 15 Gallon Batch Parmesan #6
« Reply #11 on: January 15, 2009, 06:15:37 PM »
Carter,
First of all, that's a bummer. I know how upset I get when I have a problem with 5 gallons of milk. I'm sure it's multiplied when using 15 gallons.
I've been thinking about your auto stirrer and wanted to offer a suggestion.
When stirring the curd, the last thing you want to do is to mash or re-cut the curd. I've been trying to think of something that would act as close as possible to the action I get from a spoon, i.e. a gentle stirring and lifting of the curd.
The idea that I came up with is this: Instead of having any type of paddle or propeller why couldn't you take something like 1/16"  to 3/16" stainless rod and weld it onto a circular plate of stainless steel. The fingers would be long enough to reach the bottom of the cheese pot with the plate sitting above the curd. What I'm thinking of is welding three to four of these rods into a ring pattern around the diameter of the plate.
On the sides of these "fingers" you could weld very small stainless tabs, in three or four places along the length of the rod, and weld them on at a bit of an angle, facing upwards.
As the rods turned they should give a gentle stirring action and the little tabs should cause a lifting action in the whey which would keep the curd in motion.
I have dreams of making an auto stirrer myself so I have been giving this some thought.
I don't know that this is a feasible solution (nor do I know if I've explained it in a way that can be understood) but I thought I would run it by you and get your thoughts.
Let me know what you think.

Dave

Offline John (CH)

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Re: 15 Gallon Batch Parmesan #6
« Reply #12 on: January 15, 2009, 07:23:51 PM »
Tough luck Carter but looks like you are learning and having fun, most of the time.

Should still make a great and interesting cheese!

Offline Cartierusm

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Re: 15 Gallon Batch Parmesan #6
« Reply #13 on: January 15, 2009, 07:57:40 PM »
John, I appreciate the sentiment but not necessarily. Any cheese that's not too dry can make an interesting experiment, but I believe this one is going to be chalky which never tastes good. People think regular parmesan is dry as can by but there is still significant moisture in it.
Life is like a box of chocolates sometimes too much rennet makes you kill people.

Offline Cartierusm

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Re: 15 Gallon Batch Parmesan #6
« Reply #14 on: January 15, 2009, 08:40:38 PM »
Dave you wanderer, i'll be posting updates and answer your questions in the thread on the auto stirrer.
Life is like a box of chocolates sometimes too much rennet makes you kill people.