Author Topic: Proper storage of cultures  (Read 1082 times)

Offline Caseus

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Proper storage of cultures
« on: March 29, 2012, 05:40:09 PM »
I am just getting started in cheesemaking.  I bought some "large packs" of several cultures, MM 100, MA 011, TA 061, Flora Danica, Penicillium Candidum, and Geotrichum Candidum.  They arrived today in foil packets, 10 to 16 grams each approximately for the mesophilic and thermophilic cultures, and smaller packs for the white molds.  The labels on them say to keep them frozen, so they are now in my freezer. 

I don't believe the envelopes are suitable for storage once opened.  It'll be difficult to keep them sealed, and they probably won't stand up to repeated sealing and unsealing. 

So what do your store your excess dry cultures in once you've opened a new package?  Small glass or plastic jars?  I was thinking of spice jars, but I'm not sure whether the lids would provide a good enough seal. 

How do you avoid condensation forming in the package and spoiling the contents when taking them out of the freezer to use them? 


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Offline Boofer

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Re: Proper storage of cultures
« Reply #1 on: March 29, 2012, 06:06:21 PM »
I am just getting started in cheesemaking.  I bought some "large packs" of several cultures, MM 100, MA 011, TA 061, Flora Danica, Penicillium Candidum, and Geotrichum Candidum.  They arrived today in foil packets, 10 to 16 grams each approximately for the mesophilic and thermophilic cultures, and smaller packs for the white molds.  The labels on them say to keep them frozen, so they are now in my freezer. 

I don't believe the envelopes are suitable for storage once opened.  It'll be difficult to keep them sealed, and they probably won't stand up to repeated sealing and unsealing. 

So what do your store your excess dry cultures in once you've opened a new package?  Small glass or plastic jars?  I was thinking of spice jars, but I'm not sure whether the lids would provide a good enough seal. 

How do you avoid condensation forming in the package and spoiling the contents when taking them out of the freezer to use them?
I have two courses of action to preserve my cultures:
  • Learn how to make mother cultures. That will extend your cultures and limit accessing them in the freezer.
  • When you go to open the foil culture bag, wipe the scissors and the corner that you will cut off with 90% isopropyl acohol to sterilize it. Remove what you need for the mother cultures. Fold the corner over and crease it. Place the culture bags in a vacuum-sealer bag and seal it with a FoodSaver or similar device. This removes most of the moisture and air from the bag and preserves the culture contents.
All but the PC and Geo can be mother cultured. I have my mother culture ice cubes packaged in vacuum seal bags for individual doses, dated and labeled. In my case for 4 gallons, that's 8 cubes per bag. Very convenient and neat.

That works for me. YMMV.

-Boofer-
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Offline Caseus

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Re: Proper storage of cultures
« Reply #2 on: March 29, 2012, 06:17:48 PM »
I like that idea of making mother cultures and freezing them in cubes, Boofer.  Done that way, the occasional unsealing and resealing of an envelope in a vacuum bag would not be troublesome.   I'll look for information about the making of mother cultures.

Since you mentioned sanitizers, will Star San or Iodophor do ok for sanitizing scissors and the foil bag? 

Offline Tomer1

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Re: Proper storage of cultures
« Reply #3 on: March 29, 2012, 06:51:22 PM »
You have a better chance to keep the culture dry and air tight in the metalic film barrier it is supplied in then in a container with lots of headspace (humid air clumping up your powder).
Make the tiniest of holes with a knife or sccisor right at the edge, large enough to insert a tiny plastic spoon or pour the powder out of the bag into your measuring container.
Tap the powder back to the bottom of the bag, fold it while excluding the air and put a bag clip on.

Quote
will Star San or Iodophor do ok for sanitizing scissors and the foil bag?
Im not sure I would be that anal about it, you are inoculating with a VERY large number of viable cells and its not like the bag is a rich agar sitting in an incubator.

Any rogue microorganisms stuck to the lip of the bag that might get into your milk will do so in very low cell count,by the time they might start to grow in number much of the food will be gone.

« Last Edit: March 29, 2012, 07:21:24 PM by Tomer1 »
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Offline Caseus

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Re: Proper storage of cultures
« Reply #4 on: March 29, 2012, 09:28:48 PM »
Thanks Tomer1 for confirming my fears about humid air headspace. 

Based on what Boofer said, I had assumed that sanitizing the bag and the scissors was meant to protect the remaining dry culture from contamination.  It makes sense to me that the huge amount of beneficial bacteria being added to the milk would multiply rapidly and greatly outproduce any dangerous pathogens that might also be in the milk.


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Offline DeejayDebi

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Re: Proper storage of cultures
« Reply #5 on: March 29, 2012, 09:48:02 PM »
I fold the package as close to the powder as posible to get the air out then roll it down and hold it sealed  with masking tape. If you fold in the opening it won't touch the tape.

Offline Caseus

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Re: Proper storage of cultures
« Reply #6 on: March 29, 2012, 10:06:42 PM »
Thank you all.  Sounds like it need not be anything especially complex. 

I do like Boofer's method.

Offline Boofer

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Re: Proper storage of cultures
« Reply #7 on: March 30, 2012, 08:17:57 AM »
I'll look for information about the making of mother cultures.

Since you mentioned sanitizers, will Star San or Iodophor do ok for sanitizing scissors and the foil bag?
The vendor, Danisco, states on their foil bag to sanitize the bag with isopropyl acohol before opening. That's why I mentioned it.

Here's the link for making mother cultures.

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Offline Caseus

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Re: Proper storage of cultures
« Reply #8 on: March 30, 2012, 03:30:48 PM »
Perfect!  And with pictures, you can't beat that.  Thank you Boofer.