Author Topic: Why such short flocculation times?  (Read 1156 times)

Offline MacGruff

  • Mature Cheese
  • ****
  • Location: Pittsburgh, PA
  • Posts: 118
  • Cheeses: 2
  • Default personal text
Why such short flocculation times?
« on: April 30, 2012, 06:57:23 PM »
I have noticed an interesting thing and was wondering if others experienced this, and what to do about it. Here's the situation:

When I first started making cheeses, not so long ago, I got a bottle of liquid vegetable rennet from a local health food store. I was following recipes that gave setting times in minutes and was not aware of flocculation time. My cheeses were forming, but they were almost uniformly bitter tasting after appropriate aging.

Anyway, I switched to liquid Calf Rennet for the last two cheeses I made and have also used the floc method. The first time I used the liquid calf rennet, my floc point was at around 4 minutes with a floc time of 12 minutes - which I've been told is way too short. So, this weekend, I made a Feta with a smaller quantity of Rennet, and my spinning top was completely stopped at 5 minutes. Seems like it's awfully fast to me. So, the question is why?

Is my new calf rennet extra potent because it's new?
Is the milk this time of year particularly good for curdling?

Any ideas?

Offline linuxboy

  • Old Cheese
  • *****
  • Location: Ukiah, CA
  • Posts: 3,986
  • Cheeses: 199
  • www.wacheese.com
    • Washington Cheese Guild
Re: Why such short flocculation times?
« Reply #1 on: April 30, 2012, 07:17:28 PM »
How much rennet are you using and what is the strength? What is the milk acidity when you add rennet?
Taking an extended leave (until 2015) from the forums to build out my farm and dairy. Please e-mail or PM if you need anything.

Offline MacGruff

  • Mature Cheese
  • ****
  • Location: Pittsburgh, PA
  • Posts: 118
  • Cheeses: 2
  • Default personal text
Re: Why such short flocculation times?
« Reply #2 on: April 30, 2012, 09:04:50 PM »
For the Feta I made yesterday, I used slightly less than one quarter teaspoon. The milk was at pH 6.9 at the time.

Offline linuxboy

  • Old Cheese
  • *****
  • Location: Ukiah, CA
  • Posts: 3,986
  • Cheeses: 199
  • www.wacheese.com
    • Washington Cheese Guild
Re: Why such short flocculation times?
« Reply #3 on: April 30, 2012, 10:01:07 PM »
per gallon? what strength? If you're using double strength, you are using twice the correct amount.
Taking an extended leave (until 2015) from the forums to build out my farm and dairy. Please e-mail or PM if you need anything.

Offline Caseus

  • Mature Cheese
  • ****
  • Location: Texas
  • Posts: 227
  • Cheeses: 5
  • Cheese is good
Re: Why such short flocculation times?
« Reply #4 on: May 01, 2012, 12:21:23 AM »
Can you post a link to the rennet you are using, just for reference? 

How much rennet in how many gallons of milk from what breed of animal (cow, sheep, goat, horse, mule, etc) and treated how (i.e., raw, pasteurized, homogenized, etc.)?

I don't want to get your hopes up.  It is unlikely I can deduce the problem.  I'm just curious.

Offline dthelmers

  • Mature Cheese
  • ****
  • Location: Meriden, CT. USA
  • Posts: 486
  • Cheeses: 27
    • Homely Arts
Re: Why such short flocculation times?
« Reply #5 on: May 01, 2012, 12:14:12 PM »
Hard to say without your milk type and amount, but I use 3/4 teaspoon for four gallons and get a 15 minute flocculation, with minor variations for which I adjust. 1/4 teaspoon would be too much for a gallon for me. Try counting it out in drops, and keep adjusting down.
Dave in CT

Offline MacGruff

  • Mature Cheese
  • ****
  • Location: Pittsburgh, PA
  • Posts: 118
  • Cheeses: 2
  • Default personal text
Re: Why such short flocculation times?
« Reply #6 on: May 01, 2012, 06:37:20 PM »
Sorry about the abbreviated response last night. I was in a rush and did not think about what I was doing - and what it would cause.    :-[

To fill everyone in: I used 1 Gallon of cow's milk bought the previous day at WalMart. It was full fat milk and both pasteurized and homogenized.

The recipe called for 1/2 teaspoon liquid rennet, and as mentioned above, I used a little bit less than that (I did not bring the liquid to the level of the rim of the measuring spoon)  When I added the rennet, the pH was 6.6. I also put my plastic saucer in after I stirred the rennet. When I check five minutes later, it was pretty solidly glued to its spot.

Using a floc multiplier of 4, I cut the curds at the 20 minute mark and got a clean break. So, it was definitely ready!

By the way, the recipe calls for dry salting the chunks and refrigerating them and that is the stage I am at. I snitched a small sliver this evening while draining the expelled whey and it definitely has the right texture, mouth feel, and flavor to it!

Caseus - I purchased this rennet from The Dairy Connection. You can see it described as Veal Rennet here although the bottle says Calf Rennet:
http://www.dairyconnection.com/commerce/catalog.jsp?catId=2

dthelmers - Now that I see how much I used, I should probably cut it down to a 1/4 teaspoon or less per gallon.

linuxboy - It states that the rennet is regular strength, not double-strength.

Offline Sailor Con Queso

  • Old Cheese
  • *****
  • Location: Kentucky
  • Posts: 2,543
  • Cheeses: 128
    • Boone Creek Creamery
Re: Why such short flocculation times?
« Reply #7 on: May 01, 2012, 07:25:31 PM »
MacGruff - the whole point of the flocculation method is to match the characteristics of your milk & rennet. Just keep reducing your rennet until you hit a target of 15 minutes (or whatever target that you want). Based on your last experience, 1/4 tsp is still going to floc in 10 minutes or less.
A moldy Stilton is a thing of beauty. Yes, you eat the rind. - Ed
www.boonecreekcreamery.com

Offline linuxboy

  • Old Cheese
  • *****
  • Location: Ukiah, CA
  • Posts: 3,986
  • Cheeses: 199
  • www.wacheese.com
    • Washington Cheese Guild
Re: Why such short flocculation times?
« Reply #8 on: May 01, 2012, 07:29:35 PM »
Yep, 1/4 tsp or less per gal.
Taking an extended leave (until 2015) from the forums to build out my farm and dairy. Please e-mail or PM if you need anything.

Offline MacGruff

  • Mature Cheese
  • ****
  • Location: Pittsburgh, PA
  • Posts: 118
  • Cheeses: 2
  • Default personal text
Re: Why such short flocculation times?
« Reply #9 on: May 01, 2012, 07:54:31 PM »
okey dokey guys. Less than a quarter teaspoon per gallon on the next make.

got it.