Author Topic: Provolone: There must be an easier way or a trick!  (Read 2966 times)

Offline chilipepper

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Provolone: There must be an easier way or a trick!
« on: January 31, 2009, 10:07:07 PM »
Well I embarked on my first attempt at this today.  I'm not a big mozzarella fan so I thought I "just" make Provolone as that would be "fun".  Well first off I can barely type as my hands are beat red from the self inflicted burning they endured! :) 

Everything really work out quite well in the beginning.  Curd set nicely, my new curd knife worked really good, kept good track of pH.  After draining and letting the curd mat and ripen, it reached a pH of 5.1 in about 2 hours so I started heating up my water.  Well this took a little longer than anticipated, maybe another 1/2 hour.  I checked the pH before starting to dip the curd and it was down to 4.9.  I started dipping and the curd was really wanting to crumble.  Once you started working it it was better but still not stringy and stretchy. 

I was able to work it into nice balls but never really got it to melt together nicely.  If you tried to stretch it it always looked kind of 'curdled' as it stretched.  My water was 180 degrees. I tried smaller pieces, longer exposure to the high temp, shorter, etc.   So anyway I never really got a nice stretch. 

Due to that fact I had a really tough time shaping it into much of anything... I ended up sanitizing my 4 inch mold and heating it in there and trying to press it in there with my fist as much as possible to get some sort of shape out of it.   This is where I would really like to see someone do this on a professional basis.  This video is pretty vague when it comes to taking it out of the stretching machine and into the shapes? It looks like smoke and mirrors to me! :)   Anyway, I'll try and post some pictures of my tank cheese but it is 'chillin' right now and I'll put it in the brine but it will be interesting to see what the final product is like!  One good thing is that it smelled awesome when I was trying to stretch it!

Well and advice or input would be appreciated!!
Ryan


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Offline chilipepper

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Re: Provolone: There must be an easier way or a trick!
« Reply #1 on: January 31, 2009, 10:08:16 PM »
Oh yeah and I need some really thick thermal gloves of some sort because my hands do NOT like that much heat!

Offline John (CH)

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Re: Provolone: There must be an easier way or a trick!
« Reply #2 on: February 01, 2009, 08:13:01 AM »
Ryan

Good on you for trying this, the only time I tried this it also didn't work, presumably as I didn't have a pH meter at the time. I also burn't my hands.

There is also a good video on making Mozzarella that I linked here, made it look easy :(.

Offline Wayne Harris

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Re: Provolone: There must be an easier way or a trick!
« Reply #3 on: February 01, 2009, 08:22:11 AM »
I've come to learn that there are few things I enjoy watching more than a artisan/craftsman making something inherently difficult, look easy.

Subjects that come to mind, 
-Crown moulding
-Dovetails
-Plumbing
-cheesemaking
Wayne A. Harris - in vino veritas

Offline chilipepper

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Re: Provolone: There must be an easier way or a trick!
« Reply #4 on: February 01, 2009, 12:22:50 PM »
Wayne, I agree with your list and have one other to add from my hobbies... RC Helicopters.  Check out this video:
Alan Szabo
.  Yeah you just grab the stick like this and move it like this and then move the other one like this... 4.2 nano-seconds after I would try something like that the flight would be over and I'd be rebuilding!

Well back to more serious discussion... does anyone have in their cheesmaking books any reference to mozzarella and troubleshooting.  What I'm after is what happens to the cheese if you stretch (or attempt) when the pH is too high or too low?  I know my pH measured lower than what was suggested.  Does this give the lumpy and curd like texture. It still stretched somewhat but not like it should have. It also never really smoothed out.   

On the other hand I'm second guessing my pH meter as the calibration solutions I used were over a year old.  This is buggin' the poop out of me and now I have somewhat of a vendetta to settle... ;)


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Offline chilipepper

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Re: Provolone: There must be an easier way or a trick!
« Reply #5 on: February 01, 2009, 12:47:27 PM »
Ok watching the video John posted again says they let the curd sit overnight before starting to try and stretch it.  Then watching
this video (only need to watch the first 20 seconds or so)
they have prepackaged curd blocks.  Now with my highly tuned logic skills  ;D I would have to say that you possibly can not let it ripen too long or have too low a pH!  Therefore, my pH reading is in question and possibly I didn't reach the final pH needed for stretching. 

The prepackaged curd in the second if also interesting too. Can we let the curd ripen and then vacuum seal it to store in the refrigerator for much later use??

Offline Tea

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Re: Provolone: There must be an easier way or a trick!
« Reply #6 on: February 01, 2009, 02:40:46 PM »
Welcome Chili to the frustrating world of mozz making.  My first batch didn't work out, then I had great success with the next half dozen batches, even taught a friend to make it, then the next 4 batches, including yesterdays did not turn out.
I get two different results.  One is the same as yours, where the curd doesn't want to stretch, and goes grainy and crumbles no matter what you do, and the other is where I get a partial stretch but loose all the butter fat in the hot water, resulting in a dry cheese, (that happened with the last provolone I made).
Yesterday I checked PH and even though I left it an hour longer it only seemed like the ph was increasing, not decreasing. I use papers so not entirely accurate.  I even use cacl in the milk this time as there was a question as to whether that would make the difference, but it made none.
When I use fresh milk I can make it, when I used store bought I don't seem to be able to do it.  Very frustrating at the moment, and I wish I could answer your questions.

Ok just a couple of hints.  Yes you need thick gloves, either a double lined pair or a gardening pair, they make all the difference.  Also I put the water on to boil when I start the last stage of the mozz.  That allows me plenty of time to bring the water to the boil.  If I forget I use water boiled from the kettle to speed up the process.
Sorry I can't be of more help.  I have looked and looked to see if I can find a "trouble shooting" video etc, but so far I haven't had any luck, and it is becoming an expensive trial and error campaign.

Offline Cartierusm

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Re: Provolone: There must be an easier way or a trick!
« Reply #7 on: February 02, 2009, 01:59:03 AM »
Chili check the lounge I've started a thread on Choppers.
Life is like a box of chocolates sometimes too much rennet makes you kill people.

Offline Tea

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Re: Provolone: There must be an easier way or a trick!
« Reply #8 on: February 02, 2009, 02:54:07 PM »
WHen I made this on Sunday I ended up just brining the matted cheese , and didn't end up putting in into the water.  Just as an experiement, I am going to boil some water today, and put some of the cheese into it, and see if there is a difference in letting the cheese stand over night before putting in into the water.  Well albeit two night, but who's counting.
Will let you know what I find.

Offline chilipepper

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Re: Provolone: There must be an easier way or a trick!
« Reply #9 on: February 02, 2009, 03:32:21 PM »
Tea, thanks for giving that a try and I look forward to your findings.  Did you by chance take a pH reading prior to your brining the matted cheese?  It would be informative to see if pH changes through brining and storage.  Also, the pH just prior to stretching would be interesting.  I'm still trying to find out if you can have the pH too low.

Another question I have is did you store the matted cheese after brining in the cave or refrigerator?  Did you leave it in the brine the whole time if not how long?

Thanks, Ryan


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Offline Tea

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Re: Provolone: There must be an easier way or a trick!
« Reply #10 on: February 02, 2009, 07:06:12 PM »
Ok I did the hot water test, and surprise surprise, it did stretch better than yesterday, but still only partially.  Still considering it has been in the fridge for the past two days, and brined it was not what I was expecting.
Yes I did test pH with my papers, so I will go and do another test and see if there is any difference.
Might need to experiment with this further.
« Last Edit: February 03, 2009, 01:15:53 AM by Tea »

Offline Tea

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Re: Provolone: There must be an easier way or a trick!
« Reply #11 on: February 02, 2009, 07:22:01 PM »
Just checked the ph and if definately looks to have dropped.  mmm

Offline Likesspace

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Re: Provolone: There must be an easier way or a trick!
« Reply #12 on: February 02, 2009, 09:25:26 PM »
Tea...
This is totally off topic but your avatar is one of the cutest things I've ever seen.
That little one is such a cutie.
I'm yet to try a "traditional" Mozzerella/Provolone stretch with any success.
I did try it once with a Provolone but didn't have good luck and turned to the microwave to finish it out.
I think when I do give it a try I'll use heated whey to "melt" the curd and see how it goes.
Sounds like a challenge and a lot of fun as well.
Geez, I'm really becoming a cheese dork. :-)

Dave

Offline chilipepper

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Re: Provolone: There must be an easier way or a trick!
« Reply #13 on: February 02, 2009, 09:37:35 PM »
This may be a dumb question but why does microwave mozzarella work?  I suppose the citric acid tricks it into thinking it is ripe.  You must really loose a lot of the flavor by not allowing it to naturally ripen.  I wonder if there is some sort of hybrid recipe?

Offline chilipepper

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Re: Provolone: There must be an easier way or a trick!
« Reply #14 on: February 02, 2009, 09:44:48 PM »
Tea, thanks for the R&D.  Do you have a reference for the pH?  Did it drop while it was in the refrigerator? Brine?

Dave, I'm not sure cheese nerd really captures it all. ;D  Maybe John should retitle this forum something like chesemakers anonymous.