Author Topic: Alpine recipe - curds don't mat together  (Read 2650 times)

Offline woodsman

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Alpine recipe - curds don't mat together
« on: May 24, 2012, 06:38:57 PM »
I basically followed this Alpine cheese recipe: http://cheeseforum.org/articles/wiki-alpine-cheese-making-recipe/ with some variations.

I used raw milk,  "yogurt" made with TA61, and since cooling 6 gals of milk down to 68 F wasn't really feasible I went for about an hour of inoculation time with milk at ~90F, then after coagulating it at 10 min floc x3 I cut it into 1/2" cubes and then warmed it up to 120F.

I tried pressing the curds under whey with 20 lb weight but after 30 minutes when I tried to flip it  the curds mostly separated. I'm trying pressing it again but with not much hope. I'm guessing that if I put the mass of curds in the press it's going to stick to the cheesecloth real good but otherwise it won't mat together.

Since my pH meter calibrates at pH4 in pH 4  buffer solution but then shows drinking water pH around 3.5 I have no way of reliably establishing the acidity of the whey.


What could be a cause of curds not matting together? Anything I can still do to rectify the situation?


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Offline linuxboy

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Re: Alpine recipe - curds don't mat together
« Reply #1 on: May 24, 2012, 06:54:40 PM »
Your curd size was possibly too big for the scald speed, creating moisture gradients and overly dehydrating the outside layers of the curds. They'll have trouble fusing unless you crank up the PSI. Soak cloth in vinegar/water blend (or spray), and try to press with as much weight as you have. it'll come together again, just not optimally.
« Last Edit: May 24, 2012, 08:48:44 PM by linuxboy »
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Offline woodsman

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Re: Alpine recipe - curds don't mat together
« Reply #2 on: May 24, 2012, 07:17:17 PM »
Thanks, I'll try that.

I brought it up from 90F to 120F in one hour - should I do it slower next time?

Offline linuxboy

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Re: Alpine recipe - curds don't mat together
« Reply #3 on: May 24, 2012, 07:29:23 PM »
That's not too bad, but it depends on the rate. Should be slow at first, dry out the curds, then heat to finish. 60 mins seems long if you stirred the entire time.
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Offline woodsman

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Re: Alpine recipe - curds don't mat together
« Reply #4 on: May 24, 2012, 08:20:26 PM »
Took me 35 minutes to bring it from 90 to 100 than another 25 minutes with more heat to go to 120.  Did I do it right by chance? :)

Stirring for an hour is not a big thing. I learned while using a hand cranked grain mill that reading a book while turning a crank helps make it go faster...

I pressed the curds for about 30 minutes at 2 psi wrapped in cheesecloth soaked in vinegar and the curd didn't stick to it. The wheel is very fragile though and it doesn't take much to chip away curds from the edges.

I flipped the wheel, rinsed the cheesecloth, reapplied vinegar to it, rewrapped it and see where it gets in 2-3 hrs under 3 psi.


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Offline linuxboy

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Re: Alpine recipe - curds don't mat together
« Reply #5 on: May 24, 2012, 08:38:42 PM »
Did it fuse together under whey well? When you settled the curds to the bottom, did it come out as a nicely knit wheel? If not, have to press with a lot right away to form that initial wheel.

Your make seems decent... maybe just not enough weight or needed more time to fuse and settle before draining.
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Offline woodsman

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Re: Alpine recipe - curds don't mat together
« Reply #6 on: May 25, 2012, 10:24:46 AM »
When i was pressing the curds under whey it looked good until I started pulling the mold off of them - at this point the wheel came apart into little pieces. Like it didn't knit at all.

I just unwrapped the wheel after it was pressed at 4.7 psi overnight and it still seems very fragile. Luckily the cheesecloth din't stick at all or I'd have very rugged surfaces. I very delicately placed it in brine and see if it gets any sturdier afterwards.

Regarding inoculation time, since I can't control the temperature of a 6 gal pot of milk overnight to keep it at less than 72F should I inoculate it longer than one hour at an ambient room temp of ~80-88F? (the recipe calls for 1/3 cup of yogurt/gallon milk).


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Re: Alpine recipe - curds don't mat together
« Reply #7 on: May 25, 2012, 11:15:55 AM »
Quote
at this point the wheel came apart into little pieces

Woodsman, I had the same problem Thought I followed the recipe to a T
 I finally had to press at 71/2 psi for 27 hours and it was still very fragile  :o
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Offline woodsman

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Re: Alpine recipe - curds don't mat together
« Reply #8 on: May 25, 2012, 05:02:05 PM »
Thanks H-K-J, I think I'll go for another Monterey next week and chew on all the info before I make another attempt at the alpine.

Offline Alpkäserei

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Re: Alpine recipe - curds don't mat together
« Reply #9 on: July 12, 2012, 06:49:47 PM »
I think that your cooking time was far too long, and it sounds to me as if the curd became overly dry.

I make Berner Alpkäse, an alpine cheese of course. The rule here is to add culture and rennet together at 90 degrees, let sit for 30 to 35 minutes at this temperature (when making big batches like we do it will not loose any temperature while sitting) Then using a cheese harp, cut to curs the size of coffee beans or a grain of corn. It is very important that the curd be turned over while cutting so that the curd on the bottom gets cut also.

We heat it over a period of 25 to 40 minutes to 120-125 degrees depending on local conditions and the maturity of the milk. It is important that it be stirred quickly to keep curds from clumping. Then once at this temperature it is stirred for 5 to 15 minutes until the curds seem right. If they get rubbery then you have cooked too long.

Then we let it set for 5 minutes so that the curd can settle to the bottom and mass together, and at this point it is removed as quickly as possible, after the proper amount of whey has been removed for culture.

The curd should be let to set for maybe 30 minutes to 1 hour so that excess why can drain off, and is then formed and put under the press, and we press it heavy.

I press for 20 to 24 hours before brining, turning at least 6 times, and my cheese is not fragile at all, after the first or second turning it should be well massed together and if it cracks at this point then it likely will not ever stick back together.
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Offline Tomer1

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Re: Alpine recipe - curds don't mat together
« Reply #10 on: July 13, 2012, 03:18:34 AM »
Quote
The curd should be let to set for maybe 30 minutes to 1 hour so that excess why can drain off, and is then formed and put under the press, and we press it heavy.


In the vat or do you use a cheese cloth to collect the already formed cheese from under the whey and let it hang over the vat for 30-60min before going to the press?
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Offline Alpkäserei

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Re: Alpine recipe - curds don't mat together
« Reply #11 on: July 13, 2012, 08:29:56 AM »
we collect the curd and draw it out of the vat, then let it sit on the draining table in a box.

It is imperative that the curd be removed from the heat of the whey so that it does not get too dry. If too dry, then the curds will not bond properly
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Offline woodsman

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Re: Alpine recipe - curds don't mat together
« Reply #12 on: July 19, 2012, 12:33:01 PM »
Alpkäserei, thanks for the info.

When you say that you add rennet and culture together is it because you use whey from the previous batch for culture which already contains some quantity of enzymes?

Offline Alpkäserei

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Re: Alpine recipe - curds don't mat together
« Reply #13 on: August 03, 2012, 08:33:45 AM »
There is not enough rennet in the whey to do anything, in fact there is no active rennet if you did it right.

I just spent a couple weeks making cheese in the Alps (I'm actually still in the Alps, but not making cheese anymore)

It was good to learn a little more.

These folks add their 'Sirte' (whey culture) directly to the morning milk in the vat and heat it up, and then add the eveneing milk to that, adding the rennet once the whole mass is at the proper temperature. These gives the culture perhaps as much as 10 minutes more time to act than if it had been mixed together with the rennet.
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Re: Alpine recipe - curds don't mat together
« Reply #14 on: August 03, 2012, 09:29:24 AM »

Quote
These folks add their 'Sirte' (whey culture) directly to the morning milk in the vat and heat it up, and then add the eveneing milk to that, adding the rennet once the whole mass is at the proper temperature. These gives the culture perhaps as much as 10 minutes more time to act than if it had been mixed together with the rennet.

So the way I am taking this is to add my TA, LH and PS at the same time I add my rennet?? ???
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