Author Topic: Ricotta: Foamy whey  (Read 1214 times)

Offline billmac

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Ricotta: Foamy whey
« on: February 17, 2012, 12:27:45 PM »
The last few times I've made 30 minute mozzarella, I've made ricotta from the whey.  I normally let the whey sit at room temperature overnight to acidify.   When I"m ready to start heating the whey, there is a thick, milky scum on top of the whey.  I've just been leaving it there, but I had the pot overfull and when the whey got hot, the scum turned into a thick foam (like meringue) and started to overflow the pot.  I skimmed off a lot of it and discarded it, but my ricotta yield was pretty low (I expected about a lb of ricotta from about 3 gallons of whey).

Is the foam unusual?  Are there milk solids in the foam?  Should I have left it in and just used a bigger pot?

I know when I am stretching and kneading the mozzarella, the whey that is expressed is much milkier than what is in the pot.  I wonder if that is the source of the milky layer.  I assumed it wouldn't be detrimental, so I left it in.   I guess I could have tried stirring it back into the whey while I heated it.

Any ideas are welcome.


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Offline Sailor Con Queso

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Re: Ricotta: Foamy whey
« Reply #1 on: February 17, 2012, 01:34:23 PM »
Quicky Mozz is already acidified so letting it sit overnight doesn't accomplish too much. The whey from quicky Mozz is not the best choice for Ricotta and will be very low yield. You can try adding some milk or cream to boost the yield.
A moldy Stilton is a thing of beauty. Yes, you eat the rind. - Ed
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Offline Alison

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Re: Ricotta: Foamy whey
« Reply #2 on: February 21, 2012, 02:22:30 AM »
Hi billmac

Here is my two-cents worth. I also produce whey from direct acid mozzarella, I also include the whey that is expressed from the kneading/spinning and, in addition, I combined it with other more conventional cheese (white mould cheese) whey. I dump the whey in the pot just before heating, so it does get a good stir before heating. Like you, I observe a scum on the whey, and have occasionally experienced a 2cm "foaming" layer but not as dramatic as you describe! I have found that when the coagulation of the ricotta starts, as long as the pH is "OK" (No pH meter yet so I can't be specific) the ricotta floats to the top at around the same time as the bubbles and it's helpful as I only need to use a ricotta basket to skim off the curds.

I agree with Sailor that you needn't wait for acidification, in fact I actually bring the pH up a bit by adding NaOH (lye or caustic soda) before heating. I must say that I'm no ricotta expert (I do not record any details when making this!) - but I can't bear to throw the whey away without at least doing "something". Perhaps there is an "ideal pH" for ricotta, but I don't know what it is. 

I suggest (IMHO - from poor memory) that you first off make you ricotta straight after the mozz and if you still have a foam problem maybe try the caustic soda (2-5 grams NaOH for 25 litres whey).

Kind Regards
Alison

Offline Sailor Con Queso

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Re: Ricotta: Foamy whey
« Reply #3 on: February 21, 2012, 10:24:13 AM »
Alison,

Why do you feel the need to use caustic soda?
A moldy Stilton is a thing of beauty. Yes, you eat the rind. - Ed
www.boonecreekcreamery.com

Offline Alison

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Re: Ricotta: Foamy whey
« Reply #4 on: February 29, 2012, 09:16:41 AM »
Hi

By the time I get to making the ricotta the whey has been at ~32C for as long as 6 hours, it smells and tastes acid (once again my lack of pH testing could get me into trouble here). Adding the caustic soda improves the chances of getting a ricotta that floats to the top and makes a firmer layer that can be skimmed off without slipping through the holes in the ricotta basket.
Without it I get:
the foaming before the curd forms,
the curd tends to lurk at the bottom of the pot,
the curd is very sloppy - breaks incredibly easily to form a very fine texture - almost chalky,
it must be drained for a few hours through a cheesecloth,
ends up dense rather than spongy
and has a sour taste, not great!

I learnt about adding NaOH from an Italian cheesemaker, but since ricotta is not a cheese I make for sale, I may be a bit more liberal with the dosage than she is.  I'd love to know if you have any suggestions for any alternative techniques to avoid those ricotta problems.

thanks Alison


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Offline jizo63

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Re: Ricotta: Foamy whey
« Reply #5 on: April 15, 2012, 04:57:15 PM »
I try to say something with my really poor english, sorry!
Why you are waiting so long to make ricotta?
The whey should be "sweet" not acid, in Italy, normally, we make ricotta strait after the cheese.
If you want to make from mozzarella's whey, normal too acid, you must add some c.soda... I never used it!
I live in the north Italy but my family come from Sicily and there the ricotta is made in a little bit different way.
The whey is strained and warm up to 65°C ;
Ad about 1L of fresh milk every 5L of whey and some salt ( some people ad water too);
Stir , scrape de bottom, slowly until 80°C, no too quick.
At this point some foam rise, scoop away!
If you use whey from goat or sheep's milk at 85°C ricotta rise whiteout acid, normally!
But if use whey from cow's milk you need acid ( lemon juice, vinegar, acid whey call "agra").
I use agra ( after making ricotta save some whey and store at room temperature per one day, after I store in fridge, this is my home metode).
At 80°C add agra, 1/4 cup for 5L circa or less, stir very gentle until ricotta start to rise and stop to stir;
Low the fire and wait for few minutes, turn off the fire and wait 10 minute.
Normali now you have ricotta!
If is not clear, please ask!
Mau