Author Topic: Debug my chevre fail  (Read 1341 times)

Offline StinkyCheese

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Debug my chevre fail
« on: July 17, 2012, 06:12:35 PM »
Hi,

I joined the board after trying to figure out my chevre troubles.  I have made 3 batches thus far in 2012, using fresh new culture and rennet from Leeners + goat milk from my herd.  I am using fresh from the tap milk (unpasteurized), 1/8 tsp. mesophilic culture, and 1 drop veg rennet mixed into 1/4 cup spring water.  After it's mixed up in a glass crock with a loose lid, it goes into my kefir making closet which holds at 72 degrees. 

My first batch of chevre was perfect.  2nd batch did not set, I had added flora danica to it so I thought that might be the trouble.  I made the 3rd batch with just mesophilic culture, and it has not set after ~20 hours.  I am at a loss for what the problem could be, as I have made chevre in previous years with no trouble.

I am tempted to add some culture and put this in my upstairs closet, which will be closer to 80 degrees, and see if it will acidify and curdle...  Or I can feed the chickens and try again tonight.

Any thoughts for my cheese woes?  Could the issue be the temperature of the milk being too warm (goaty temperature) when I add the culture??

Thank you!
Michelle


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Offline linuxboy

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Re: Debug my chevre fail
« Reply #1 on: July 17, 2012, 06:19:09 PM »
Set temp seems too cold. 72F is not enough. You should be at high 70s.

Quote
Could the issue be the temperature of the milk being too warm (goaty temperature) when I add the culture??
No, 100F is not enough to do damage.
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Offline StinkyCheese

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Re: Debug my chevre fail
« Reply #2 on: July 17, 2012, 06:30:59 PM »
Thanks - I'll try warmer.  Seems like my cheese book said 72, so I thought I had it just right.

Offline linuxboy

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Re: Debug my chevre fail
« Reply #3 on: July 17, 2012, 06:45:05 PM »
It'll work sometimes, but unless the strains are correct, usually is not that consistent.

The other possibility is that the culture is not being incorporated completely. After you add it, do you let the powder hydrate, and then go back and stir it all in?
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Offline StinkyCheese

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Re: Debug my chevre fail
« Reply #4 on: July 17, 2012, 07:46:08 PM »
It could be that I need to stir more... I stir for a couple of minutes, and a couple of minutes after I add the rennet, but that is all.  I'll try another batch tonight with a bit more time to hydrate, additional stirring, and placing in a warmer space to culture.  Hopefully that will do the trick! 

And I'll leave the current batch in a warm spot overnight, just to see what happens (not sure I'll consume it though).

At least there's a batch of fresh kefir cheese to nibble on until the next batch of chevre sets!  I wonder if I could add a kefir grain or two to my chevre for a fusion cheese?  Or flora danica to kefir??  Hmmmm.

Thanks so much!  :)

Michelle


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Offline StinkyCheese

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Re: Debug my chevre fail
« Reply #5 on: July 18, 2012, 10:57:28 AM »
To followup: the batch that had sat for 24 hours did firm up somewhat overnight when placed in a warmer location.  Chickens had a nice breakfast.

I will update this post after the new batch finishes just to add debugging info.

Offline linuxboy

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Re: Debug my chevre fail
« Reply #6 on: July 18, 2012, 11:16:41 AM »
then add more rennet to get a thicker set if the bacteria are working.
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Offline StinkyCheese

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Re: Debug my chevre fail
« Reply #7 on: July 18, 2012, 11:35:20 AM »
 :) Thanks, will do. 

I checked on the 12 hour batch and it has separated, I will go 24 hours with it and then decide if the next batch needs more rennet.  I used 1 drop for a 1 quart batch, it seems like it would be sufficient unless the rennet batches can vary in strength?

Offline linuxboy

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Re: Debug my chevre fail
« Reply #8 on: July 18, 2012, 11:39:00 AM »
Seems fine. Yes, they do vary slightly batch to batch due to shipping/handling/temperature abuse, but seems like you're using a single batch? Thing is about using mostly lactic sets is that your strain selection and temp are key. Without precise control, it's easier to use rennet as a helper to achieve a good set.
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Offline StinkyCheese

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Re: Debug my chevre fail
« Reply #9 on: July 18, 2012, 05:31:11 PM »
The veg rennet is a single batch, and it's one that just arrived from Leeners.  This batch setup OK and I did bag it for cheese.  The curds are very soft and frangible, though. 

So this batch is better, but still not quite what I'm expecting.  I have some fresh direct set chevre culture that I can try...  It's from Hoeggers, so maybe using that would help me distinguish whether I have a rennet issue or an issue w/ my meso A culture?

Thanks,
Michelle


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Offline StinkyCheese

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Re: Debug my chevre fail
« Reply #10 on: July 18, 2012, 05:52:47 PM »
 :o  OH OH OH OH OH!!

I read on the rennet section and one of your posts, Linuxboy, said that hard water may interfere with rennet.  I am using my well water instead of distilled water for my rennet.  That could be the problem with curd set!

I will have to wait a day or two to make another batch and test this out, gotta feed my kefir grains with tonight's milk.

- Michelle

Offline linuxboy

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Re: Debug my chevre fail
« Reply #11 on: July 18, 2012, 05:56:03 PM »
with those small miniscule amounts, might make a difference, true. You can drop it in directly so long as you stir thoroughly. Water dilution is more for hard cheese to make sure it spreads evenly in the milk before it sets.
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Offline StinkyCheese

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Re: Debug my chevre fail
« Reply #12 on: July 18, 2012, 10:16:56 PM »
I had a quart of milk left over after making kefir this evening so I set another small chevre batch.  This one with flora danica, and one drop of rennet diluted in 1/12 cup of distilled.  This should be interesting, as it's different culture and treatment of rennet.  Hopefully this batch will be magic.  ;D

Offline StinkyCheese

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Re: Debug my chevre fail
« Reply #13 on: July 19, 2012, 11:31:29 AM »
Just for followup - this set of curds is *much* better.  It's been ~14 hours since culturing the milk and they are draining out.  And the flora danica culture smells fantastic!  WOOT!!   ;D