Author Topic: Ricotta Salata - Make Methodology  (Read 1506 times)

Offline melissakomorowski

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Ricotta Salata - Make Methodology
« on: December 11, 2011, 06:51:18 PM »
developing a ricotta salata cheese.   I have been making a ricotta cheese salting and pressing.  It doesn't seem turn into the salty version I have purchased and eaten.  I press overnite. salt on day one two and three on cheeses about 4 inches tall.   Some times the cheese is too moist, too salty, not enough salt.  It is in a refrig to "age"  usually develops mold if I keep the frig to warm like over 43    any suggestions on how to bring this back around  being pushed to develop this sooooooon


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Offline linuxboy

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Re: Ricotta Salata - Make Methodology
« Reply #1 on: December 11, 2011, 07:02:30 PM »
Quote
ricotta cheese salting and pressing. 
Can you please post more process + QA/ HACCP details? Ricotta salata is sensitive to pH and whey solids and casein/whey solids ratios, as well as rennet selection.
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I press overnite.
What PSI?
Quote
salt on day one two and three on cheeses about 4 inches tall.
What salt schedule? Have you considered brining?
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Some times the cheese is too moist
Do you standardize milk?

Basically, with a technical cheese like this, you need to pay close attention to QA so you can create a standardized product. Like how do you test for whey solids, how do you account for pH, how do you measure salt schedule, etc?

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Offline melissakomorowski

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Re: Ricotta Salata - Make Methodology
« Reply #2 on: December 12, 2011, 04:05:22 PM »
My ricotta is made with whole milk running around 4.6 butterfat from 4 cows. The milk runs around 6.5pH  1 tsp kosher salt per gallon and white vinegar at about 2.5 oz per gallon is added to a batch.  I say about cause sometimes I have to add more to get it to coagulate.  I use MicroDesigns batch pasturizer and it is hard to get the milk temp up over 180.   when I feel enough curd has formed I let it set for 10 min and scoop into ricotta baskets and let drain on a drain table, maybe flipping once in the basket.  draining takes about 1/2- 45 min.  This I layer in thin layers in 4 inch molds pressing 2 high under their own weight for 1/2 hour then flip cheese in mold and press the top cheese for 1/2  hour.   then these I stack 2 or 3 high in pail to keep them up right with about 2 lbs of weight on each stack.  I press them for 12-14 hours   salt and place on rack in the "cheese cave" salting again on day 2 and 3  using about 1tbsp to 2 tsps worth of salt for each.  I have not checked the pH at this point. 

Offline linuxboy

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Re: Ricotta Salata - Make Methodology
« Reply #3 on: December 12, 2011, 05:33:54 PM »
OK, so what you're saying is that you don't have much in the way of QA or markers to help you achieve repeatability. You have amounts, for example, for the acid, but you didn't write the target pH after acid addition. You don't press everything evenly, and you don't salt everything evenly. For a small cheese, a 1/2 tsp makes a pretty big difference. I would say that is the cause of your variability: that you vary the process, quantities, and make conditions. If you want to achieve something more consistent, you can try something like the following:

- Add milk, record pH, temp, composition if possible.
- Heat to 185F
- Do a test batch where you titrate a small amount of milk to see if you need to adjust vinegar amounts (optional)
- Add XYZ vinegar, salt, stir, measure pH. (write target pH here)
- Let rest 10-15 mins
- Scoop into baskets.
- Press all of them evenly or rotate more often or do something to achieve an even press. If stacking, press the top basket
- Rest to stabilize
- Brine

etc. See where I'm coming from? If you want them all to be the same, they all need to be processed and handled the exact same way.
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Offline melissakomorowski

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Re: Ricotta Salata - Make Methodology
« Reply #4 on: December 13, 2011, 05:04:09 PM »
Thank you for your responses.  I am not sure what the target acidity should be with this cheese but I didn't say that I add the vinegar and salt into milk bring up to temperature for pasturization process for 25 min and then turn up the heat so by the time it reaches 170 I stop stirring.  Adding the vinegar, and salt at the end just forms a quick mass of mozzerella type cheese.


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Offline linuxboy

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Re: Ricotta Salata - Make Methodology
« Reply #5 on: December 13, 2011, 05:42:32 PM »
Right, that listing I wrote was just a sample process to illustrate an idea of how to approach this make and achieve more consistency. didn't mean to imply that this was your make. If you're developing a cheese and don't know exactly what to aim for, one approach is to make small batches (1 liter or so), and vary the parameters. For example, add vinegar in progressively increasing amounts to target pH changes of .1. So, for example, add until you are at 6.3 in one make, 6.2 in another, 6.1, etc. And then compare the results and do a sample to see what people like best. That will give you a starting point.

The traditional ricotta salata is made differently in Italy, so I don't have an exact starting point... maybe 5.6-5.9 pH, then heat milk? In the traditional method, they take that day's whey, and add in some milk... maybe 5% milk by volume, and a bit of salt (I think 1-2%?). Then they will start heating, and will add 1-5% yesterday's whey to help increase acidity and precipitate the proteins. Yesterday's whey usually will be somewhere around 60-80 Dornic by then, so rather acidic.

For the rest, I think you will get far along in consistency if you somehow standardize the press and salting. Like rotate everything every 15 mins, or use a pneumatic press, or something similar that pressed everything at once in the same way. The salting you can standardize by brining, or by being really careful on the amount for each one.
« Last Edit: December 13, 2011, 06:10:39 PM by linuxboy »
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