Author Topic: Feta - Swelling Exterior > Jalapeno Chili Pepper Flavoured Feta  (Read 963 times)

Offline george13

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I have been making feta now for some time using mm100 along with Flora Danica and lipase, the base milk is cow milk.  This last time around, the only difference was that  I used MA4001 instead of MM100.  Two months later, I opened my container only to see that the cheese expanded to the diameter of the container (5 gallon pail).  Additionaly, the circumferance of the cheese was extremely soft, as if it absorbed a lot of brine.  The center of the cheese was hard to a normal consistency.  Unfortunatelly the soft spongy exterior created a barrier for the salt to reach the center, so I had no choice but to give the whole thing to my pig.    Any ideas as to the cause.  My brine pH and cheese pH were in the ballpark, as was the Calcium content.  I can only attribute it to the MA4001.


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Offline zulzie

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Re: Feta - Swelling Exterior > Jalapeno Chili Pepper Flavoured Feta
« Reply #1 on: April 12, 2012, 02:23:54 PM »
what was your acidity when you packed your feta?   feta is a very acid cheese.....maybe your new culture is not hitting your acidity levels as fast as the old.....with mt1 and the feta a from dairy connection, notice how many high acid strains of bacteria are in the mix.....the LL and the ST are both potent acidifiers......the other bacteria are for diacetyl and taste.......i like to see my feta acidify AT LEAST as fast as a cheddar curd.....and hit 4.8 by the next morning (that would be around 24 hours after adding first culture to the milk)....temp in my cheese factory is upper 50's in the spring, to mid 60's in the summer...it might hit 75 late afternoon in august.....but, i vent the room at night to cool it off at night ......i think 4.8 is about end point for a curd, anyway...no more lactose.....

also.....in my experience, its HARD to salt feta too much.....if you cut down on the salt, you get a cheddar-feta, much softer....tasty cheese, but not feta.....i cut my gallon size "cheese" into 3 inch slices, coat with as much salt as a slice will hold (just a thin layer on both sides, neglect the sides) and pack into a one gallon bucket.....by the next morning (48 hours after start) your slices will have shrunk as they expelled whey, the salt is now incorporated in the cheese and in this nice clear salty whey brine......you will still need to top off the buckets.....use aged whey to 4.4 acidity....with as much salt as it will hold.....to top off the buckets with.....and the final hint (you need to pay me for this one!)....cut a 1 inch square foam "widget" (i use the impermeable construction foam...don't tell my inspector!)......top off the bucket with salty whey brine.....place the widget on top of the cheese slices.....put the lid on.....the point?  to hold that top layer of cheese down below the surface of the lid.....no more mold!

have you tried 1 gallon buckets coupled with camembert? molds from glenngarry cheesemaking?.....this is a simple perforated mold, and the resulting cheese fits perfectly into a 1 gallon bucket from US plastics.....another hint....to keep  mold off the top of the cheese, don't fill the bucket to the top with the cheese.......leave an inch.....for extra whey and the widget.....

another question......was the cheese spongy?   blown cheese (gas production, eyes) caused by some other bacteria...coliform

for good feta hardness...you need acid.......and lots of salt.....if you have proper acid, there is no way you have bad bacteria problems (famous last words!)....and the copious salt also contributes to hardness.....i don't try to sell feta to people who don't like salt....there is no such thing as a low salt feta!






Offline george13

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Re: Feta - Swelling Exterior > Jalapeno Chili Pepper Flavoured Feta
« Reply #2 on: April 12, 2012, 04:06:52 PM »
 I like everything you wrote, you are absolutely correct on all feta criteria especially the salt.  I usualy wait to hit 4.8 - 4.6 before placing in brine, I don't pre-salt, maybe I should.   My acidity was acceptable as was the brine salinity and ph.  It was that new culture, the MA4001 which cause havoc on my cheese.  Way too many gas openings throughout the cheese.  The spongines was on the outside perimeter of the cheese while the inside remained firm and did not absorb any salt.  I like using the MM100 because  it is a good acidifier, do you recomend any specific culture from the LL or ST family for feta?  Where did you get this great feta knowledge?  Great tip on the lid spacer, don't think my inspector will like it either.  By any chance, have you figured out a way to get feta out to market without having to age in brine for a few months. That will be my new objective.  Thanks again, really great info. 

Offline Tomer1

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Re: Feta - Swelling Exterior > Jalapeno Chili Pepper Flavoured Feta
« Reply #3 on: April 12, 2012, 04:11:15 PM »
Isnt the low salt version what is called "bulgarian style" feta (which legally can only be used by the greek now)?
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Offline zulzie

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Re: Feta - Swelling Exterior > Jalapeno Chili Pepper Flavoured Feta
« Reply #4 on: April 13, 2012, 05:30:48 PM »
i think the pre-salting makes for a hard cheese.....and i love the clear brine that is made naturally in the bucket with the cheese.....the work with this method also flows well.....i do everything each 24 hours or so......so, you hit 4.8 after 24 hours, salt and pack the buckets.....then, 24 hours later, those buckets will have briney whey about 7/8ths up the bucket....then you top off with salty whey, ph 4.4,  put in the widget (best to overfill the bucket, put the widget in, then snap the lids down.....there will be spillage....i do this on a drain table......this ensures your bucket is all the way full, less chance for mold.....then, you  can rinse the buckets off on the drain table to clean before drying, or taking to the cellar.....)

do look into those molds from glengarry.....i will try and find the part number....they fit perfectly into the gallon buckets.....bucket and lid are 3 dollars or so....i buy them by the 100......some simple shelving against a wall, and you can pack a bunch of these buckets into the cellar, out of the way.....they make good mini brining tanks, and hold about 8 lbs of cheese....we sometimes sell buckets to restaurants and retail...mostly we vacuum pack later.....

i pack my curds into these "gallon" molds in the vat.....do them all to full, come back in half hour to flip......after a few flips, much whey will be drained......then, cut slices off your shortest cheeses to add to other molds....goal is to end up with 7/8ths full molds after a few hours.....you do this early enough in the process so that the curd will meld, even these later slices.....flip these babies 4-5 times? to get a nice even cheese with a good rind......not really a rind, but a firm well shaped outside layer.....if the curd pokes thru the perforations in the mold, your curd was too soft.....best to have the curd cooked properly, then, cleaning the molds is a snap......otherwise, much spraying and washing to get the curd out......

here is another hint......i really do need to charge for this one!  i make a jalepeno feta....probably the first in the history of mankind......i  use a bosch universal to chop the jalepenos..only use very fresh, well washed and cored jalepenos......chop pretty fine.....add this just before packing molds......why a jalepeno feta?  my jalepeno cheddar, when it turns out, is awesome....i have trouble with mold introduced deep into the cheese....ruin quite a few.....but with feta, the high acid and salt, and submerging in the brine, eliminates this deep molding problem....the fat in the cheese tones down the jalepeno, and you get this mild, but quite fresh tasting, jalepeno flavor......

you can modify the salt content of the cheese by how thick you slice the gallon cheeses....i cut mine about 3 inches thick......more salt wanted? cut them thinner, and salt each one the same...i use uniodized regular "table" salt...the fineness sticks well to the curd.....you will get the hang of the salting pretty quickly.....i personally err on the side of more salt, rather than less......this initial salting does firm up the cheese a bunch.....

check the bacteria stains in that mix......glengarry has a good chart on acidity, gas, diacetyl production....maybe you had a strain in there with gas......but, i have seen soft fetas with my system , also.....so, what the hell.......*&^% happens, probably some native bacteria, coliform, whatever in that batch.....


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Offline zulzie

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Re: Feta - Swelling Exterior > Jalapeno Chili Pepper Flavoured Feta
« Reply #5 on: April 13, 2012, 05:42:33 PM »
i think that gallon mold is p0060 from glengarry....but, get with margaret before ordering these...ask if this is indeed the one that will fit a US plastics one gallon bucket.....you might order one mold, and one bucket, and double check before spending time and money on this......each mold will handle 8 pounds of curd, maybe a hair less.....you only need molds enough for a days production, you will use the same molds for the next days production, as you have emptied them into the gallon buckets....

i like the one gallon for another reason......you only have to open up one of these rascals to serve some cheese....or pack.......my protocol is once a cheese is opened or cut, it gets vacuum packed.....pretty much this is a duh comment....but, if you are opening up 5 gallon buckets for some cheese, then restoring, that is just asking for trouble....esp. in the mold dept......