Author Topic: Calculating ppm & Cleaning Fresh Herbs For Adding In Cheese Making  (Read 1735 times)

Offline george13

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I was told that if I wanted to use fresh herbs in my cheese, I must soak them briefly in a sanitizing chlorine/water solution of 50ppm.  Any ideas as to how I can calculate 50ppm.


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Offline Tomer1

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Re: Calculating ppm & Cleaning Fresh Herbs For Adding In Cheese Making
« Reply #1 on: July 20, 2011, 06:26:52 AM »
You need to know your chlorine concentration and dilute accordingly.

I think a better way to sterilize is to dip in boiling water for a few seconds,transfer to ice cold water dry with a paper towel and use.
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Offline Sailor Con Queso

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Re: Calculating ppm & Cleaning Fresh Herbs For Adding In Cheese Making
« Reply #2 on: July 20, 2011, 09:09:03 AM »
You can also soak in a Potassium Sorbate solution. It is a plant (berry) derived compound, so it is still considered a "natural" preservative. Drain really well after soaking to keep most of the sorbate out of the cheese.

Potassium Sorbate Link

If you boil and then transfer to cold water and then paper towel dry, you are just recontaminating the herbs (or whatever).
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Offline linuxboy

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Re: Calculating ppm & Cleaning Fresh Herbs For Adding In Cheese Making
« Reply #3 on: July 20, 2011, 09:36:06 AM »
Buy chlorine strips if you want to mix up 50 ppm. If you want the math, think about it like this:

1) get the amount of pure chlorine needed. so if it is 50 ppm, that is 50/1,000,000 x 1 gallon = .00005 gallons of pure chlorine
2) figure out how much bleach you need (assuming you are using bleach). Bleach is 5.25 % in the common household variety. Meaning 1 gallon of bleach is .0525 gallons chlorine (5.25% x100=.0525)
3) Divide for amount. .00005 gallons/.0525  = .000952 gallons of bleach. Which is 3.6037 ml

But buy the strips, it's hard to get this exactly right with just bleach.

Also, I would not use bleach for this application. And dipping in boiling water is not an effective means of achieving 5 log reduction. Sorbate or citric is better. Citric also has the advantage of chelating oils in herbs, which preserves a tad more flavor.
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Offline george13

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Re: Calculating ppm & Cleaning Fresh Herbs For Adding In Cheese Making
« Reply #4 on: July 20, 2011, 05:15:12 PM »
Thank you all, I appreciate your responses.  It has to be bleach, as a matter of fact it can only be  "Clorox" .  It is what NYS mandates as far as sterilizing herb additives to one's cheese. They are to remain immersed for 1 minute.


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Offline Sailor Con Queso

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Re: Calculating ppm & Cleaning Fresh Herbs For Adding In Cheese Making
« Reply #5 on: July 20, 2011, 06:02:39 PM »
I am an ex clinical microbiologist and IMHO that is a horrible mandate. If the bleach isn't rinsed somehow, you will be transferring bleach to your cheese, which will kill off at least some of the beneficial bacteria and desirable molds. Plus you would be introducing a chlorine flavor that is trapped inside the cheese and can't properly degas. To me that is contrary to healthy cheese making and natural foods practices. Are you a professional? If so, I would challenge that regulation. Specifying a particular brand like Clorox is fishy and can't be legal. There are many, many better ways to sanitize/sterilize herbs and additives.
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Offline george13

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Re: Calculating ppm & Cleaning Fresh Herbs For Adding In Cheese Making
« Reply #6 on: July 20, 2011, 07:13:20 PM »
welcome to NY...Clorox is the only brand approved as they paid and provided  the necessary testing so as to receive acceptance by the regulatory authorities.  I don't think there are many other big bleach manufacturers out there.  After the treatment, I plan on rinsing well prior to placing the herbs in my cheese.  I need to do with what I have to, or else.  I guess the last spinach e-coli scare left its mark.  Personally I blame the trial lawyer loby.  Thanks for the info just the same.

Offline Digitalsmgital

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Re: Calculating ppm & Cleaning Fresh Herbs For Adding In Cheese Making
« Reply #7 on: January 22, 2014, 11:07:42 PM »

Also, I would not use bleach for this application. And dipping in boiling water is not an effective means of achieving 5 log reduction. Sorbate or citric is better. Citric also has the advantage of chelating oils in herbs, which preserves a tad more flavor.

So, to reduce the number of pathogens on fresh herbs, use the same 50 ppm solution of citric acid or potassium sorbate? And is the 100,000-fold reduction an industry standard? Can the home cheese enthusiast be safe with 4-log reduction or less?
Regards, Dave

Offline Pete S

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Re: Calculating ppm & Cleaning Fresh Herbs For Adding In Cheese Making
« Reply #8 on: January 22, 2014, 11:38:39 PM »
  I use the microwave to sanitize  my herbs. I dehydrate them first. using fresh or moist herbs in cheese creates its own set of problems.  Pete
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Offline Digitalsmgital

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Re: Calculating ppm & Cleaning Fresh Herbs For Adding In Cheese Making
« Reply #9 on: January 22, 2014, 11:44:40 PM »
Yes, I thought of UV or zapping them in the microwave, but I can't find anything on the effectiveness of this. It sounds like it is working for you! Thanks for the reply, Pete!
Regards, Dave


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Offline Pete S

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Re: Calculating ppm & Cleaning Fresh Herbs For Adding In Cheese Making
« Reply #10 on: January 22, 2014, 11:52:14 PM »
  I used dehydrated dill from my garden without nuking it and got a cheese that blew up like a balloon .
I have not had it happen since.   Pete
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Offline jwalker

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Re: Calculating ppm & Cleaning Fresh Herbs For Adding In Cheese Making
« Reply #11 on: January 23, 2014, 09:28:00 AM »
I have been boiling my herbs in 1/2 cup of water for 5 minutes , sure it takes some flavor out of the actual herb itself , but then the water is added to the milk anyway when heating , and the herbs added after draining the curd.

It works fine for me , tastes fine too.

But if you're a commercial cheeses maker , rule are rules.

Still , I would check again to make sure that is the only approved method , Clover Mead Farm in New York , produces and sells "Certified Organic" cheese with herbs , could they really be entitled to be certified organic if they were using chlorine in their ingredients ?

Mmmmmm...............chlorine cheese !  ;D
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Offline graysalchemy

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Re: Calculating ppm & Cleaning Fresh Herbs For Adding In Cheese Making
« Reply #12 on: January 23, 2014, 10:27:32 AM »
You can also soak in a Potassium Sorbate solution. It is a plant (berry) derived compound, so it is still considered a "natural" preservative. Drain really well after soaking to keep most of the sorbate out of the cheese.

Potassium Sorbate Link

If you boil and then transfer to cold water and then paper towel dry, you are just recontaminating the herbs (or whatever).


But is potassium sorbate only effective against yeasts and not bacteria? Surely if the worry is over e.coli and botulism (if you were to use garlic etc), then potassium sorbate isn't going to be effective?

Offline graysalchemy

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Re: Calculating ppm & Cleaning Fresh Herbs For Adding In Cheese Making
« Reply #13 on: January 24, 2014, 02:36:51 AM »
Just had another thought if you use a chlorine based product a quick rinse in a solution of  sodium metabisulfite as this will eliminate both free chlorine, and the more stable form, chloramine which would be on the herbs. Home brewers use it if they have used bleach to sanitise bottles prior to filling.  :)