Author Topic: Problems with Curding  (Read 2141 times)

Offline BVickery

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Problems with Curding
« on: February 08, 2009, 07:52:13 PM »
I have had 2 go rounds with trying to get the cheese to form into the curd.  Both times were horrible failures.  The wife and I got the cheese making kit from cheesemaking.com as a gift and are anxious to try and make our own cheese. 

The rennet we have tried was right from the local Wal-mart that actually stocks the stuff.  Could this be the problem? 

Also, would it be better to use a double boiler instead of direct heat?  Being in Florida makes it tougher to get ahold of raw milk, but they are trying to change that.

Any and all help is greatly appreciated.


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Offline Likesspace

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Re: Problems with Curding
« Reply #1 on: February 08, 2009, 08:02:45 PM »
Bvickery...
My first question would be what type of rennet are you using?
If it's Junket brand rennet this could be a part of the problem
I have used Junket for one cottage cheese and it did form a curd but with cottage cheese you leave the milk to ripen for 24 hours which gives plenty of time for the curd to set.
I think we've all come to the conclusion that commercial rennet is by far superior to something long the lines of Junket.
This is something that can be found at any of the cheesemaking sites online. I personally use liquid vegetable rennet but others swear by animal rennet.
Regardless which one you choose to go with I think you will be much happier with the results than somethig like Junket tablets.
Another thing that I've found is VERY important is to bring the temperature of sotre bought milk up very slowly.
I have adopted the method of leaving my milk sit at room temperature for 3 hours and then putting it into a water bath to bring it up to the recipe starting temp.
Since I've been doing this, I have gotten the best curd set I've seen in the last three years.
I have tried putting the milk straight out of the fridge into a water bath, but for some reason I dont get the same results. It seems that the key (for me anyway) is leaving the milk sit at 70 degrees for 3 hours and then briniging it on up to temp. Hmmmm....go figure.
Regardless, you have taken the most important step in making cheese which is to jump in and get your feet wet.
I can guarantee you that you will have your fair share of failures but I can also guarantee you that you will see results that far exceeded any expectations you might have started with.
The most important thing is to pour the milk into the vat and give it your best shot. The rest will come with time and experience.
Good luck and we'll all be looking forward to hearing of the results you get.

Dave

Offline John (CH)

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Re: Problems with Curding
« Reply #2 on: February 08, 2009, 08:22:29 PM »
Hi BVickery

I use the cheapest 1 US gallon jugs of store bought pasteurized homogenized whole cow's milk, no double boiler, warm rapidly although stirring to ensure no hot spot. And, contrary to Dave I normally get very good curd sets and thus have no problem cutting the curd. Maybe I should try Dave's method to see if I get an even better curd.

Assume you are trying to make cheddar, some initial questions for you:
  • How much and what type of milk (ultra-pasteurized is a problem and UHT is a nogo).
  • Are you using CaCl2?
  • What type of starter culture and from where?
  • How much and what brand of rennet and does it have a date on it?
  • When and how are you adding your rennet? My early problems have disappeared after I trickle in diluted and whisk in for 1 minute to ensure maximum dilution.
  • Are you getting any curd formation at all, after how long?

Offline BVickery

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Re: Problems with Curding
« Reply #3 on: February 08, 2009, 09:16:19 PM »
  • How much and what type of milk (ultra-pasteurized is a problem and UHT is a nogo).

Regular Store bought pasturized milk.  No Ultra or UHT
Quote
  • Are you using CaCl2?

Sure am
Quote
  • What type of starter culture and from where?

Using the one from the cheese making kit, right now following the directions for making some culture via buttermilk
Quote
  • How much and what brand of rennet and does it have a date on it?

Was using the Junket brand
Quote
  • When and how are you adding your rennet? My early problems have disappeared after I trickle in diluted and whisk in for 1 minute to ensure maximum dilution.

Diluting it and adding in when the recipe calls for it
Quote
  • Are you getting any curd formation at all, after how long?

No curd formation.


Offline John (CH)

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Re: Problems with Curding
« Reply #4 on: February 08, 2009, 09:40:36 PM »
BVickery, excellent response.

I'd like to ask others to advice here as I have not used Junket Brand rennet. But from Dave's post above and my memory of others posts about using Junket I'd say either that is your problem, or not enough of it or you didn't whisk it in enough. If you go to full forum, then search on Junket, you should get lots of hits with other people's amounts used and results.

I'm surprised the CheeseMaking.com kit didn't come with some rennet. FYI here in Houston I found some Malaka Brand liquid rennet in one of two Whole Foods Store. Nothing in large HEB or Kroger Grocery Chains stores. Otherwise for better quality rennet you need to order from an online supply store.


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Offline BVickery

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Re: Problems with Curding
« Reply #5 on: February 08, 2009, 09:58:05 PM »
The kit came with Rennet but not sure if it is still good.   We got in in Late Dec. and never put it in the refrig or freezer.

Offline Cartierusm

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Re: Problems with Curding
« Reply #6 on: February 09, 2009, 03:13:16 AM »
BV, first off Junket is very weak, if you HAVE to use it, use 5 times the amount. But if you really want to make cheese you have to get real rennet, and yes your rennet from the kit is definatley bad by now. Next time put it in the frig (not freezer). And while you're at it get some cultures. Making cultures at home is another hobby all together, but some DVI as it's just easier and you know it's going to work. DVI, freeze dried and so on cultures shold be stored in the freezer. As far as heating you can use direct heat but have to stir constantly, but it's not recommended, buy a bigger pot for a double boiler. Check goodwill or thrift stores. Seems as though your headed in the right direction and should have a good cheese next time.
Life is like a box of chocolates sometimes too much rennet makes you kill people.

Offline John (CH)

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Re: Problems with Curding
« Reply #7 on: February 09, 2009, 06:24:50 AM »
Morning all, as Carter says but I think he's saying not to put rennet in freezer assuming you have liquid rennet, which is probably true as came from CheeseMaking.com.

Me I'm currently using a powdered rennet, so I store it in the freezer in a tupperware box along with the cultures & my Lipase.

You could try uping the quantity of Junket Brand Tablet Rennet per volume of milk and see if you get a good curd. Otherwise you need to find a better source of rennet, if you are going to make an web order, there are several US based stores in the link above. Don't forget some Lipase if you want to make Feta, Provolone etc. If you want any advice on what to order, put a post with your initial cheeses you both want to make in the Cheese Making > Discussion Board.

Lastly, while waiting to get better rennet, there are several soft cheeses you can make that don't use rennet, see the website recipes or the Non-Rennet Cheeses Board.

Good luck!

Offline BVickery

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Re: Problems with Curding
« Reply #8 on: February 09, 2009, 10:36:27 AM »
Thanks for all the feedback and suggestions.

I will be throwing out the old Rennet and hopefully grabbing some new stuff during the week.  We have a Whole Foods store about 20 mins away and hoping they have it.   I have 2 Stainless steel crockpots so I will just double boil it.

Offline John (CH)

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Re: Problems with Curding
« Reply #9 on: February 09, 2009, 11:21:19 AM »
Small FYI, for me here in Houston, one Whole Foods had it in the cheese cooler section, the other didn't. Make sure you grab the youngest package from the back :).


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Offline BVickery

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Re: Problems with Curding
« Reply #10 on: February 09, 2009, 01:24:13 PM »
ours didn't have it.  Going to order some liquid rennet and try the junket to just get the feel for the process and such.

Offline BVickery

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Re: Problems with Curding
« Reply #11 on: February 14, 2009, 09:37:29 PM »
We got the DVI and Animal Rennet.   Needless to say, with all the help here we were able to get curd formation.

Offline Cartierusm

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Re: Problems with Curding
« Reply #12 on: February 14, 2009, 11:10:47 PM »
Sounds like something NASA would say, "we've got curd formation".
Life is like a box of chocolates sometimes too much rennet makes you kill people.