Author Topic: Lactobacillus Helveticus  (Read 4880 times)

Offline linuxboy

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Re: Lactobacillus Helveticus
« Reply #30 on: May 08, 2012, 09:18:52 AM »
Caseus, love your thoughts. One thing I don't see addressed directly is the approach that I, Sailor, and others advocate. Specifically, primer cultures. This is when you take some DVI and culture in sterile milk for a one-off. No mother-child transfer, so pure aseptic technique, no freezer, etc. Just a way to stretch the DVI and get the same active culture blend as with a traditional mother approach. it's a hybrid.

So I disagree that it doesn't make sense for smaller producers. I think it depends on your setup and workflow. For those who make yogurt, for example, and who have an incubator or adjustable dehydrator, it's super easy to add in some powder and culture it like yogurt or buttermilk at the appropriate temps. If someone doesn't have a good setup, of course it might not make sense to create one all for making a cheese 2x/month. Just depends on the total situation. Tends to work best for makes at least 1x/week, preferably at least 2x.
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Offline Boofer

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Re: Lactobacillus Helveticus
« Reply #31 on: May 08, 2012, 09:31:04 AM »
Excellent dissertation, Caseus. I'm really wondering if the thrust of your dialogue is driven by self-doubts.

I have used, and still use 1/4 tsp of this or that dry culture to fashion a cheese. I resisted mother cultures for a couple years and only recently jumped in. I don't make that many cheeses that frequently. That was my justification for not using MCs. Then I found I had several bags of culture that were a little shy of product and felt I needed to either stretch it or reorder. I also liked the idea of increasing the pitch rate.

I looked over the types of cheeses I had been making and reasoned that there were several cultures that could be used across a lot of the cheese styles that I had been doing. Minor tweaks in the process combined with rind treatments would create still allow me to make my cheeses. Following Sailor's photo essay, these would all be frozen as ice cubes and vacuum-sealed as individual make quantities. Per his dosage chart, I would need 8 ounces for a 4 gallon make. Each cube is one ounce. There are 16 cubes in a tray. That means I get two makes out of each tray. 8 cubes to a bag, clearly labeled with the culture's name.

So what cultures would I select to accommodate my cheese styles? I had to have some standard mesophilic and thermophilic as a baseline. I would do Aromatic B for the meso and TA-61 for the thermo. I wanted to do a couple more with a little more complexity. My choice here was Alp D which I have only recently discovered and really like. This is a pretty busy culture mix. It has a majority of meso with some LH and ST. It's what was called for in my Maasdam make. Then I decided that MA4001 (LL+LC+LD+ST) should be in this. Later on I added Kazu, which gives me LL+LC+LD+LH.

The convenience of simply zipping open a vacuum bag and extracting the cubes for a make is rationale enough for me to continue along the MC path. The process effort, time, sanitation, and expense to put those cubes in the freezer is minimal. It extends the use of expensive dry cultures that I purchase and saves me a little extra cash that I can use to buy the things that I cannot MC and freeze, such as PS, KL71, SR3, GEO, PC, rennet, etc.

The last cheese I did was a Cheddar. I had made a fresh batch of Alp D the night before, so I used 8 ounces of fresh MC and froze the rest as cubes.

Folks doing this have to decide which way to go and what works for them. You go one way...I go another.  :)

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Offline Tomer1

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Re: Lactobacillus Helveticus
« Reply #32 on: May 08, 2012, 09:42:29 AM »
I use a a water filled electric fryer to incubate the cultures :)   
« Last Edit: May 08, 2012, 12:38:33 PM by Tomer1 »
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Offline Sailor Con Queso

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Re: Lactobacillus Helveticus
« Reply #33 on: May 08, 2012, 11:58:38 AM »
I make a fair amount of cheese - 4 to 5 batches of 37 gallons each every week, sometimes more. I have been making Mother Cultures (actually Primer Cultures) for over a year with the same small packets of DVI. (THAT's a huge cost savings). Since those packets are now well over a year old, they are degraded and will give inconsistent results when used as a DVI. The bacteria may be 50% dead and give only 50% of the expected results. Think about making bread with really old yeast, and the dough won't rise properly. If you are using DVI then you have no idea how to compensate. With MCs, it doesn't matter if they are 50% dead. The viable 50% will still grow out properly to create a perfect MC.

Cost and time savings aside, I am firmly convinced that I get better cheese and much more predictable results with Primer Cultures. To me it has just become a part of the normal cheese making process.
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Offline Caseus

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Re: Lactobacillus Helveticus
« Reply #34 on: May 08, 2012, 03:28:09 PM »
linuxboy, you're right, I lumped the primer culture approach into mother cultures in general.  But reconsidering it the way you and Sailor suggest, the primer culture approach could work for me if I can make only as much as I'm going to use the next day.   Maybe I can find skim milk in pints.  If so, I will try it.

Boofer, a large part of my conclusions were based on not wishing to freeze culture since that introduces another variable that I can't control for.  I hadn't considered small-volume single-shot primer cultures, though, which is making me rethink. 

 


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Offline Sailor Con Queso

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Re: Lactobacillus Helveticus
« Reply #35 on: May 08, 2012, 04:08:05 PM »
Caseus - you can use NFD dry milk powder in any quantity that you like. In some ways that's better because the end product is not as thick.

Fresh is more active, but freezing is no more of a variable than using DVI that is losing it's potency. As Boofer has done, just match the volume of the cubes to the volume of your milk, generally around 1.5% depending on the cheese. Thawing is no different than having to wait on the bacteria to "wake up" when using DVI.
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Offline Caseus

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Re: Lactobacillus Helveticus
« Reply #36 on: May 08, 2012, 05:06:24 PM »
Thank you Sailor.  Now I'm really beginning to feel like I was far too hasty in my initial assessment.  But that is what's great about a forum and a community.  No one has to figure out everything on his own, and even those of us with thick heads can eventually see the light.

If I can use nonfat dry milk powder, then I can mix up exactly how much I need, and waste and freshness are no longer issues. 

And I see what you mean about the uncertainty of using frozen cubes being no worse than the uncertainty that comes of imprecise fractional teaspoon measurements of cultures of potentially questionable viability.

How about that?  I've completely reversed my understanding of the pros and cons based upon your, linuxboy's, and Boofer's comments.   Thank you all for that.

Offline Sailor Con Queso

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Re: Lactobacillus Helveticus
« Reply #37 on: May 08, 2012, 05:09:15 PM »
You can also use milk that is out of date because you are going to completely sterilize it anyway. Good use for old milk from the frig.
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Offline NimbinValley

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Re: Lactobacillus Helveticus
« Reply #38 on: May 08, 2012, 06:31:30 PM »
Yes that all makes sense Pav.  At this stage I only pre-ripen my cultures for 60mins prior to use which speeds things up a bit.  I like the idea of ripening overnight though.  I think I make too many types of cheeses to make mother cultures for them all.

If I ripen overnight I guess I just use the same bulk starter volumes that I would for mother cultures?  In a sense it is just a mother culture that is consumed entirely in one go.

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Offline Boofer

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Re: Lactobacillus Helveticus
« Reply #39 on: May 08, 2012, 06:37:54 PM »
If I ripen overnight I guess I just use the same bulk starter volumes that I would for mother cultures?  In a sense it is just a mother culture that is consumed entirely in one go.
In Sailor's terms, that's a Primer Culture.

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Offline NimbinValley

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Re: Lactobacillus Helveticus
« Reply #40 on: May 08, 2012, 06:39:18 PM »
Primer it is then!