Author Topic: Mozzarella Making Problems - pH, Citric Acid & Cultures Discussion  (Read 1381 times)

Offline mikemd

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I have had trouble making provolone as well as mozzarella from bacterial cultures.  It always turns to cottage cheese at the time to spin.  Read a lot of posts and have always hit the acid marks (using a pH meter and also pH paper) but no go.  Using store bought milk and can make mozzarella using citric acid (have been using animal rennet and it takes about 45 mins to get a reasonable break).  I have altered the ingredients and times so many times and never can get it to stretch.  So today I used the same store bought milk source (split in half) with the same temperature, calcium, rennet, and citric acid with the only variable being the addition of 1/8th of a teaspoon of thermophilic culture to one of the one gallon batches.  The batch without the culture stretched fine, the batch with the culture turned to cottage cheese.  pH was 5.2 by meter in both batches.  What point am I missing beside the obvious which is to stop trying to use the culture method?  Thanks for any help you can provide.


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Offline linuxboy

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Re: Mozzarella Making Problems - pH, Citric Acid & Cultures Discussion
« Reply #1 on: June 07, 2012, 10:55:48 PM »
So one you did citric acid and the other citric acid + culture?
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Offline mikemd

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Re: Mozzarella Making Problems - pH, Citric Acid & Cultures Discussion
« Reply #2 on: June 08, 2012, 08:48:33 AM »
Yes, all I did was add the culture while I was bringing the temperature up to 90 prior to adding the rennet.  That was the only variable.  Added the culture when the milk got to 75 and then kept bringing the temp up to 90 which is when I added the rennet.  It usually takes at least a half hour to 45 min to get a decent break.  It only takes about 10 mins if I use the tablets.  I just bought a new batch of rennet to eliminate that as a cause.

Offline linuxboy

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Re: Mozzarella Making Problems - pH, Citric Acid & Cultures Discussion
« Reply #3 on: June 08, 2012, 08:56:01 AM »
Any reasoning for doing a hybrid make of a direct vat, with added starter? Without modifying the make parameters? Seems like you can do one or other other. If you wanted to preacidify the milk, at most, I would get it to the drain level (6.0 ish) and let the starter finish, and preferably use acid to reach target rennet pitch pH, to shorter the wait time for ripening. Direct vat acidification and normal make are completely different approaches, hybridizing them is a little tricky. If you preacidify the milk with the same amount of acid, getting it down to 5.6-5.8, it doesn't need more acid later.
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Online Sailor Con Queso

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Re: Mozzarella Making Problems - pH, Citric Acid & Cultures Discussion
« Reply #4 on: June 08, 2012, 09:14:20 AM »
Two points.

1- Your milk/curds were too acidic. As LB pointed out, you should be 5.6-5.8 not 5.2

2- If you correct your acidity and still have problems, try a different brand of milk.

You should not add culture when using citric acid.
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Offline mikemd

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Re: Mozzarella Making Problems - pH, Citric Acid & Cultures Discussion
« Reply #5 on: June 08, 2012, 11:40:29 AM »
The only reason I did it was because I have gone through 20 gallons of milk trying with culture and it never works out.  All of the mozzarella and provolone recipes I have tried all stated I should shoot for curds to be pH 5.2.  Is there another recipe for 1-3 gallons of milk beside Ricky, Frankhauser?  I live in a small town in North Carolina and the only milk I have ever achieved stretch with is the brand I am using so that is what I stick with.  It is either Maola (what I am using) or I am left with Walmartor Food Lion brands of milk which always fall apart no matter what . I will try again with the culture and just bring the pH to 5.8.  Question I have is that if acidifying with citric acid works, then should the culture work or could the milk only work with citric acid?  Sounds like a stupid question but I have tried so many times altering one variable each time and not achieving success.

Offline linuxboy

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Re: Mozzarella Making Problems - pH, Citric Acid & Cultures Discussion
« Reply #6 on: June 08, 2012, 11:48:41 AM »
Quote
then should the culture work
Yes, should. Do this

1 gal milk
heaping 1/8 tsp TA 60
ripen to 6.4 @ 92F
4x floc
3/4" cut
5 min heal
gently stir, cook up to 104F over 45 mins
Drain at 5.9 (usaully do not need this low, but it's insurance given your situation)
cheddar in pot set in sink of hot water
test for stretch. When you like the stretch, should be around 5.2, mill, and proceed as usual

that is about as generic as a mozz gets, but should get you a stretch.
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Offline mikemd

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Re: Mozzarella Making Problems - pH, Citric Acid & Cultures Discussion
« Reply #7 on: June 08, 2012, 11:54:20 AM »
I will try that.  Could you explain how you decide what the flocc time is?  Just looking or with the tupperware bowl or what?  If I wait longer than 4x the flocc time what will happen?  I am sorry but I have a ton of questions.  Thanks for your patience.

Offline linuxboy

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Re: Mozzarella Making Problems - pH, Citric Acid & Cultures Discussion
« Reply #8 on: June 08, 2012, 12:13:11 PM »
Quote
I will try that.  Could you explain how you decide what the flocc time is?
When surface seizes is the time to floc. Search for flocculation on the board.
Quote
  Just looking or with the tupperware bowl or what?
Or watching the milk or testing with knife. However you prefer.
Quote
  If I wait longer than 4x the flocc time what will happen?
More moist curd, slow syneresis, possibly wrong acidity at the times. 4x is reasonable, good middle ground.
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Offline mikemd

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Re: Mozzarella Making Problems - pH, Citric Acid & Cultures Discussion
« Reply #9 on: June 08, 2012, 06:36:07 PM »
I assume that flocc time and the time to cut the curd does not apply to the recipes for mozzarella with citric acid?


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Offline linuxboy

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Re: Mozzarella Making Problems - pH, Citric Acid & Cultures Discussion
« Reply #10 on: June 08, 2012, 06:47:47 PM »
It can, but the dynamics are different, and it's not a 1:1 comparison. Using a time to floc of 2-3 mins, as you get with direct acidified, the physics works differently, and the multipliers still work, but on a different scale. Not sure if that make sense. Another way to think about it is that a 4x floc with direct acidified and a 4x floc with traditional will not result in the same moistures because the time to floc difference is so large.
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Offline mikemd

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Re: Mozzarella Making Problems - pH, Citric Acid & Cultures Discussion
« Reply #11 on: June 08, 2012, 07:18:17 PM »
Reason I ask is that I tried citric acid this afternoon and had a flocc time of about 2 min and cut the curd at 12 minutes which was 6x but it did not work and I do not think that curd was strong enough (?) and once again I had cottage cheese.  When I did it yesterday I did not cut the curd until 45 mins because it says on the label of the rennet that 1/2 teaspoon will set 2 gallons of milk in 45 mins.  Since I am new to this you can understand my confusion.  I have made Parm cheese which has turned out ok, but I really will not know that for another year until I can taste it.

Offline linuxboy

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Re: Mozzarella Making Problems - pH, Citric Acid & Cultures Discussion
« Reply #12 on: June 08, 2012, 07:35:59 PM »
wait for the full time with direct vat acidified mozz.

Don't understand how you got cottage cheese. That requires acidity of 4.9. Do you mean the curd was dehydrated and fractured easily?
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Offline mikemd

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Re: Mozzarella Making Problems - pH, Citric Acid & Cultures Discussion
« Reply #13 on: June 08, 2012, 09:05:06 PM »
I do not think it is dehydrated but what do I know.  I usually think it looks to wet.  When I do the culture method for provolone and you get to the cheddaring step the curd usually never mats down.  I cut it and stack it and it stays that way in the same pieces.  Today I did citric acid mozz, flocc time about 90 sec animal rennet, cut curds at 12 mins and then heat to 110 as per 30 min mozz recipe.  As this heating occurs I can tell if it is not going to work because the curd starts to fall apart a little when heating.  The same thing happens when I do the culture mozzarella or provolone so I have gotten quite good at knowing when it is not going to work, like always.  Does this all mean too much acid?

Offline MrsKK

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Re: Mozzarella Making Problems - pH, Citric Acid & Cultures Discussion
« Reply #14 on: June 10, 2012, 02:28:06 PM »
Question I have is that if acidifying with citric acid works, then should the culture work or could the milk only work with citric acid?  Sounds like a stupid question but I have tried so many times altering one variable each time and not achieving success.

For cheesemaking at home, I use raw milk and get excellent results, whether making cultured or citric acid mozzarella.  I teach cheesemaking classes, though, and since the sale/distribution of raw milk is illegal, I needed to find commercially available milk that would work for making mozzarella.  I am unable to get pasturized/homogenized milk to work for the cultured version, but it works for the citric acid version, as long as I add the citric acid while the milk is still cold.  I am only able to get a good curd set with the cultured recipe if I use gently pasturized, creamline milk. It is very expensive, though, so I now use the citric acid recipe for my classes.