Author Topic: Alpine recipe - curds don't mat together  (Read 2356 times)

Offline Alpkäserei

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Re: Alpine recipe - curds don't mat together
« Reply #15 on: August 07, 2012, 11:50:38 AM »
I really can't say for certain, the procedure for starrter cultures is bound to work a lot different than an active whey culture. And then you get into watching PH and all that garbage that you dan't worry about with whey culture.

Maybe  you produce a yogurt culture and go with that you can follow the traditional methods. I can give you later the info on how to do that the traditional way if you want
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Offline woodsman

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Re: Alpine recipe - curds don't mat together
« Reply #16 on: August 07, 2012, 08:57:30 PM »
When you say "whey culture" - do you just mean whey withheld from the previous day's make?

Offline Alpkäserei

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Re: Alpine recipe - curds don't mat together
« Reply #17 on: August 11, 2012, 09:33:38 AM »
Yes, exactly.
But the whey must be specially prepared and incubated in order to sour the cheese properly.
When you do it this way, you make sure the whey is within a very narrow margin of acidity, and then if you follow the recipe right and such, you can be sure the culture is working right.

Furthermore, contrary to what I read all the time, you actually can tell visually if the culture is working properly. After you cut the curd, by watching the color of the whey and the character of the curd you can know if the culture is working right -if the whey is to white, you have to go slower and let the culture have more time to work. If it is a nice green then you know you are good.
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Offline woodsman

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Re: Alpine recipe - curds don't mat together
« Reply #18 on: August 11, 2012, 11:04:07 AM »
Thank you for the clarification. Do they use litmus paper or pH meter or do they test the whey on small quantities of milk to ascertain its readiness? I'm fascinated by the "old school" methods :)

Offline Alpkäserei

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Re: Alpine recipe - curds don't mat together
« Reply #19 on: August 12, 2012, 08:41:11 AM »
They test for titratable acidity, using a small amount of whey, phenophthaline (sp?) and I think sodium hydroxide, and get the acid percent, not PH. In Switzerland it is measured in SH degrees, but in the US we would use degrees TH most likely.

Look for the acid tesing kit on the new england cheesemaking supply site, it is the same test.

The old school way would be to taste the whey, and see how sour it is. This of course requires a great deal of experience to be able to detect minute differences.
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Offline woodsman

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Re: Alpine recipe - curds don't mat together
« Reply #20 on: August 12, 2012, 04:49:52 PM »
Thanks. Litmus is pretty old school - it goes back to 14th century. Phenolphthalein isn't a spring chicken either - it was discovered back in 1871. But then again the general availability of either one might have been an issue till not so long ago, especially in places at the end of the world such as the one where I live.

I did notice that the more makes I go through the better my feel for curd texture, whey color, etc. and I have to pay less attention to objective measurements or timing.  I never thought about tasting the whey - which is really a shame since by now I'd known what it tastes like at different levels of acidity :)

Offline Alpkäserei

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Re: Alpine recipe - curds don't mat together
« Reply #21 on: August 14, 2012, 01:58:10 PM »
We are talking about the Alps here, after all. You should come here some time to understand the remoteness of the place.

Litmus may have existed a long time ago, but these folks sure didnt have it. This is a place where up to very recent times, houses were built without a single bit of iron. Because iron can't be found here, and there was no practical way for anyone but the very ich to carry it up the mountains.

How often do you make cheese? And what size?

The Alpine methods are really designed for the production of fairly large cheeses, and there are special considerations when making it smaller.

For example, if I would cut my curds so fine with a 10 gallon batch as I would with a 40 g batch, the small cheese would be much too hard.

There is so much that you have to watch when doing things all by traditional means that maybe you would not if you do it in a modern style. You have to observe everything from the maturity of the milk, the sourness of the culture, the color of the whey, the size and texture of the curd, and so on and so forth.

one more thing too, the cheese is wrapped in a cloth while it is in the press to retain heat. this helps the culture.

And the volks I learned from wash their cheese every day for the 1st 10 days with a salt brine containing a little white wine. The wine has bacterial and yeast cultures in it.
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Offline woodsman

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Re: Alpine recipe - curds don't mat together
« Reply #22 on: August 14, 2012, 04:40:04 PM »
I skied in Tyrol a few times. I even skied down into Switzerland from Ischgl:) Too bad I wasn't paying much attention to cheesemaking back then.

Where I live now, 50 years ago I'd have to paddle a dugout canoe up the river for a few hours from the nearest town where the road ended. I know exactly what end of the world remote place means:) I can get basic meso and thermo cultures from the local dairy but they're quite expensive and importing them for myself after shipping and duties are paid isn't much less. 

I make cheese once a week with 7 gallons of milk which I trade from the neighbor for my pigs. Though I'm seriously thinking about getting my own cow(s) or else I have no control over quality or freshness of milk, which in the tropics is probably even more important than in a temperate climate zone.

I'll try running a 1 gallon test batch this week using the whey I saved from last week in the fridge and see how it goes. I'm not really trying to fully mimic the method and conditions of a different place across the world, it's not feasible - just to see what happens under the local conditions and if anything useful comes out of it.

Offline bbracken677

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Re: Alpine recipe - curds don't mat together
« Reply #23 on: August 14, 2012, 07:31:09 PM »
I think I read somewhere that if you are going to use whey, you have to use it fairly quickly or it wont work properly....I suspect  week may be too long.

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Re: Alpine recipe - curds don't mat together
« Reply #24 on: August 14, 2012, 07:51:02 PM »
It's fine if you keep it cold at 34-36F, but not optimal. The longest a culture can be stable without fancy manipulation at normal ambient temps is 4 days. It'll go into a nice maintenance phase after about a day.
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Offline woodsman

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Re: Alpine recipe - curds don't mat together
« Reply #25 on: August 14, 2012, 08:19:16 PM »
It depend on what ambient temp means in your locale. We have a well shaded house, build make use of passive cooling only so our ambient temp could be anywhere between 25-34C. Slightly cooler at night though it does go down to a bone-chilling 10C on winter nights. Under these conditions whey left standing in the kitchen for 4 days will ferment and mold.

I once run an experiment with meso whey culture but my mistake was to add rennet after an hour and the milk granulated instantly and never properly clobbered.

Offline Alpkäserei

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Re: Alpine recipe - curds don't mat together
« Reply #26 on: August 19, 2012, 10:26:19 AM »
If it has been cooled, do not use it for direct set. Use it to produce a new starter culture.

DO this by making the yogurt, but be sure to excessively boil the milk so that only your starter bacteria will set it.

I would recommend the same if it is more than a few days old.

Furtermore, it is a good idea to always be making yogurt, and add a little of this to your whey every time you pull it.

We produce whey culture by first heating it to a certain temp, then cooling it immediately to another temp and incubating it overnight. It cant tell you off hand what the temps are, because they are in a scale that is used only for cheesemaking in Switzerland, and exist no where else
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Offline woodsman

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Re: Alpine recipe - curds don't mat together
« Reply #27 on: August 23, 2012, 01:11:53 PM »
Awesome! They still use Réaumur scale?

Clobbering milk with whey to preserve the culture  for longer time periods makes a lot of sense. I use store bought cheese with sterilized milk in order to obtain a viable cultures from the cheese too.

Offline Alpkäserei

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Re: Alpine recipe - curds don't mat together
« Reply #28 on: August 23, 2012, 08:40:49 PM »
Yes, that's the scale alright. 0 is freezing and 80 is boiling. It's not actually a very precise scale, so often they'll work in fractions of a degree.

never heard of making culture from bought cheese. I doubt it would work on 2 year old alpine cheese. Here the culture works to such an extent as to make the cheese an inhospitable place for any bacteria, including its own self. The initial acid-producing culture will die after maybe 6 months, and then other cultures kich in that give the alpine cheeses their distinctive bite.

The folks I learned from thought that a cheese should be at least 2 years old before you cut into it, and the best cheese was 3 years old.


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