» Forum

CHEESE TYPE BOARDS (for Cheese Lovers and Cheese Makers) => RENNET COAGULATED - Semi-Hard "Sweet" Washed Curd => Topic started by: bbracken677 on January 23, 2013, 04:29:18 PM

Title: Colby: 2nd make
Post by: bbracken677 on January 23, 2013, 04:29:18 PM

2 gallons 0% fat milk, 1 quart heavy cream
1/8th tsp. flora danica
1/16th tsp. LM057
1/16th tsp. Kazu
½ tsp Calcium Chloride if using pasteurized cold stored milk
Annatto for color (1/4 tsp .. optional)
Liquid Rennet ( 1/4 tsp / 23 drops)
Salt for brine (make this up in advance with the info found below)
A colander and butter muslin to drain the curds (I just drained in the mold)
Everything needs to be clean and sanitized.

Heating and Acidifying the milk:
Begin by heating the milk to 88F (31C). If you do this in a pot on the stove make sure you heat the milk slowly and stir it well as it heats. (Actually reached 90F)
Next the CaCl and Annatto can be added before adding the culture.
Make sure you rinse the spoon well after adding the CaCl since any residuals of this will cause the Annatto to precipitate into dark spots that will show up in the finished cheese. Better yet add the Annatto first and stir it in well before adding the CaCl. (Note: I did not use Annatto since I do not have any, but will be an upcoming purchase)
Once the milk is at 86F the culture can be added. To prevent the powder from caking and sinking in clumps sprinkle the powder over the surface of the milk and then allow about 2 minutes for the powder to re-hydrate before stirring it in. Then allow the milk to rest for 1 hour while the culture wakes up and begins doing its work. (Once pH dropped from 6.65 to 6.55, I added the rennet … this was approx. 35 minutes from inoculation)

Coagulation with rennet:
Then add about 1/4 tsp of single strength liquid rennet. (11:10AM)
Check for flocculation, use 4.5x multiplier. Flocc at 11:25
The milk now needs to sit quiet for (target) 67.5 minutes from the time the rennet was added while the culture works and the rennet coagulates the curd . The thermal mass of this milk should keep it warm during this period. It is OK if the temp drops a few degrees during this time.

Cutting curds and releasing the whey:
The curd is ready to cut when it shows a nice clean even break when lifting with the flat of the cutting knife and then a clean whey in the opening that is neither to milky (cut too soon) or too clear (cut too late). I used the flocculation method and 4.5x multiplier. (cut at 12:32 PM)
The curd can be cut to 1/2" cubes by first cutting the 1/2" vertical cuts as shown below and then using the ladle or spoon to break these into 1/2" pieces as uniformly as possible.

Cooking the curds :
Now it is time to begin drying out the curds. This will be done by increasing the heat slowly to 102F . The heat needs to be increased slowly. The total cooking time will be 30 minutes. The curds can then be gently stirred while holding at the final temperature for another 15-30 minutes if the curds are still soft.
The final curds should be cooked well through and should be examined to make sure that enough moisture has been removed. A broken curd should be firm throughout and the curds should have a moderate resistance when pressed between the fingers. This is a fairly subjective test (depending on how firm/soft you want the final cheese.)
When this point is reached the curds can be allowed to settle under the whey.
The time spent so far is about 2.5-3 hrs.

Washing the curds:
This is one of the key parts in making this cheese a real Colby cheese.
The curds are now resting on the bottom of the pot at 102F with only a moderate amount of lactose converted to lactic acid. In other words a very sweet cheese curd.
If left in this condition, the lactose (milk sugar) will act as a food source for the bacteria and the result will be a higher acid curd which dries the curd out as the acid develops. The bacteria will also be very happy working at this temperature as well.
We plan to alter this situation by:
removing whey (lactose) -- this will deprive the bacteria of much of its food source and slow things down
adding cold water and cooling the curds to 70-80F -- this will place the bacteria in an environment that it is not happy with and will work much more slowly. The lower the temperature the more affect this has.
In Addition the cold water will begin to increase the moisture of the curd. If the water temperature is lower that the curd temperature the curd moisture increases. If it is higher than the curd temperature it will decrease the moisture (this is how Gouda is made).
Begin by removing the whey down to the level of the curds. (pH 6.42)
 Then add water first at 75F as the curd cools to 80-85 with stirring. Then allow the curds to settle again and remove the whey/water down to the curd level again.
Next add very cold water (60F or less) until the curds are at 75F. Took a couple of gallons, perhaps 2.5 to achieve the cooling, draining twice and pouring in cold tap water.
The curd can now be stirred in its cooler state for another 15 -30 minutes as the curds begin to firm up. This will cause the curds to form a skin that will keep them from consolidating fully in the press, leaving some small openings in the final cheese.
At this point the process has taken about 3.5-4 hrs and we are ready for the final stage of molding and pressing.

Final Draining and Molding:
The dry curds can now be transferred to a colander lined with butter muslin. A gentle stirring will make sure that the whey drains off well. The curds are now ready to be transferred to a sanitized muslin lined mold. I just removed as much whey as possible and went straight into the mold.
The curds should be packed into the mold using a moderate hand pressure. The amount of curd formed here may likely be heaped over the top. (I couldn't get all the curds in one form, so I made a cheese and a half lol)
Finally pull the cloth up evenly all around the form to eliminate the wrinkles, fold the top cloth over and place the follower on top. You are now ready to press.

The curds in the form are now still quite wet and heavy pressure early on may lock this moisture in the final cheese. Even though we have slowed down the conversion of lactose to lactic acid, we are still producing acid and will continue this during the final pressing. This means that the cheese will continue to release moisture through the pressing as a bit more acid is present.
So, for pressing we should begin very light and slowly increase the press weight to a moderate level:
15 minutes at 10 lbs. (at each pressing  I flipped the cheese at the mid point)
30 minutes at 20 lbs
90 minutes at 40 lbs
Overnight at 50 lbs.

The next morning the cheese can be removed from the mold and cloth.
Finally the pressing is finished and you should have a nicely consolidated wheel of cheese with no surface openings. This should still feel quite springy and elastic with mild hand pressure still. The surface should not feel at all sticky at this point.


You should have a saturated brine prepared for salting this cheese. (I used a 20% brine solution. In researching brining in cheesemaking I made some discoveries:  1. You should add some calcium chloride to your brine…this will prevent the brine from leaching cacl2 from your cheese. 2. You want your brine to be close to the same acidity level as your cheese. I added just a small pinch of citric acid to reduce the pH of my brine solution. The combination of added cacl2 and acidity will prevent the sliminess you may sometimes get during or after brining. This explains much with regards to a couple of my feta makes and the resulting surface texture during aging and storage. )
A simple brine formula is:
1 Gallon of water to which is added 2.25 Lbs of Salt, 1tbs. Calcium Chloride (30% solution), and 1 tsp. white vinegar.
The cheese now needs to be set in the brine for about 8 hours. (perfect since my cheese weighed in at 2 lbs, 3 ozs after pressing….after brining it was 2.0 lbs. )
The cheese will float above the brine surface so sprinkle another teaspoon or 2 of salt on the top surface of the cheese. …act I just flipped it as often as possible keeping all surfaces wet.
Flip the cheese and resalt the surface about half way through the brine period.
At the end of the brine bath, wipe the surface and allow the cheese to surface dry for a day or two before waxing. The surface will darken somewhat during this time. This is where I am currently at.

The cheese can now be waxed for aging. I will be vacuum bagging it.
The cheese can then be placed into your aging space at 52-56F and 80-85% moisture.
The cheese can now be aged for 4-6 weeks and it will ready for your table.

Couple of pictures coming tomorrow as the cheese is removed from the press and forms.

Everything went well. Oddly though, I made a couple of tablespoons of butter...right before rennet I skimmed what appeared to be butter off the top lol  Tasted very good!

Title: Re: Colby: 2nd make
Post by: Boofer on January 24, 2013, 10:10:24 AM
Nice write-up. No doubt will help to clear the confusion some new cheesemakers may have with certain techniques and their reasoning.

If I may point out a few observations:
Title: Re: Colby: 2nd make
Post by: bbracken677 on January 24, 2013, 11:21:36 AM
Nice write-up. No doubt will help to clear the confusion some new cheesemakers may have with certain techniques and their reasoning.

If I may point out a few observations:
  • When you add the rennet, that is the point in time from which you will time until you cut the curd, not the point when it flocs. So maybe 12:18PM would have been more accurate. 11:10AM + 67.5 minutes.

  • A floc factor of 4.5 for Colby? That seems a bit much. That factor combined with the timing error in the point above may produce a moister cheese than normal. Please let us know how that really turns out. Maybe not all that bad, just moister. are correct...and that explains why I had so much more curd than the first make.  Well...I wanted a moister cheese, so I got one!  :o
My last one was a bit dry and crumbly. Cheddar floc times are 3.0 or 3.5. A colby is a bit moister than a cheddar, so 4.0-4.5 seems appropriate.

  • I didn't see any reference to keeping the curds warm while pressing. That would also assist in smoothing the rind.

Good point. I should have included that.....I have a sort of double boiler set up in my press...I pour the warm whey in the outer "shell" with the pressing cheese in the "inner shell". 

  • To create a pH and CA balanced brine I use the collected whey and just add salt to it. It was part of the cheese to begin with, so they're very compatible. ;)

I have a saturated brine that I reuse and replenish occasionally. This way I am not buying pounds of salt every week or 3.  Call it my own contribution to cost efficiency.   :)
I thought about doing that with whey, but I am uncomfortable keeping whey for a long period of time.

One other final pH after coming out of the press was 5.18, which seems a bit low to me. I think I need to reduce my press times. Since I typically start my makes in the morning and they go into the press early to mid afternoon, I believe I am pressing and thereby acidifying for too long a period of time. Need to work on that.
Title: Re: Colby: 2nd make
Post by: bbracken677 on April 26, 2013, 03:18:44 PM
I noticed that my colby's 3 month birthday had come and gone, so I decided to give it a taste and I was very pleased! Tasted just like a colby!!

Texture was close, but not quite.. there is a bit of crumbliness that shouldn't be.  However the moisture level is almost perfect. There are a few mechanical openings.

Taste was awesome though!  Creamy sort of colby taste. Even the wife likes it! haha

Title: Re: Colby: 2nd make
Post by: Boofer on April 26, 2013, 05:51:52 PM
Excellent! A cheese for your effort.  :)

Title: Re: Colby: 2nd make
Post by: JeffHamm on April 26, 2013, 06:05:35 PM
Indeed, a cheese for a successful outcome.  Nicely done.

- Jeff
Title: Re: Colby: 2nd make
Post by: bbracken677 on April 27, 2013, 09:23:16 AM
Thanks for the cheeses!

This one turned out so well that I am going to make another soon. 

As I remember I will have to adjust my flocculation calculations since I botched that somewhat, but I will maintain the multiplier I used. Perhaps that will alter the texture just enough to get that right.
Title: Re: Colby: 2nd make
Post by: High Altitude on May 09, 2013, 06:24:25 PM
How did you treat the rind on this one bb?  I waxed mine and it came out really creamy and smooth (not crumbly in the slightest) as you saw an another thread.  Think that made any difference maybe?
Title: Re: Colby: 2nd make
Post by: bbracken677 on May 09, 2013, 06:29:44 PM
I vac bagged it, but I also had a couple of errors during the make. I am leaning more and more towards trying the wax option as opposed to vac bagging, but havent really decided to take the plunge yet.  There also could be differences in milk that could make a difference.

I was quite pleased with the flavor, and the texture was not far off at all. I would not mind all my colbys turning out like this one  ;D 

Of course...a bit creamier would be really nice also! 
Title: Re: Colby: 2nd make
Post by: High Altitude on May 09, 2013, 06:40:09 PM
Still tossed on whether there is a difference in cheese taste/texture if one waxes or bags.  I finally got a vacuum packer and adore it, but have only used it to bag cheeses for further aging after I cut them open.  I guess I like waxing for the traditional look and fun (or fear)-factor when you open it.  Had one disaster so far when cutting open a red-waxed was soggy wet inside, and nothing like cheese in any shape or form.  I probably would have seen that earlier had I bagged it.  So I did try drying out half of that disaster and bagged it....we'll see later on if it worked.