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CHEESE TYPE BOARDS (for Cheese Lovers and Cheese Makers) => RENNET COAGULATED - Hard Cheddared (Normally Stacked & Milled) => Topic started by: BobE102330 on July 14, 2012, 09:07:50 PM

Title: Chipotle Cheddar
Post by: BobE102330 on July 14, 2012, 09:07:50 PM
My first pepper cheese using the stirred curd cheddar recipe on the wiki doubled, I added chipotle liquid to the cold past/homo milk.  Heated to 90 degrees F, added calcium chloride per Rikki's instructions on the bottle.  MA011 culture had been rehydrating for 30 minutes or so in water before adding.  Ripened an hour, added 1/2 tablet vegetable rennet, stirred and had a flocculation time of 5 minutes 30 seconds.  (Could this be due to letting the culture rehydrate so long?  I've never had anything close to that quick.)  It didn't get a really clean break until 30 minutes, then I followed the rest of the recipe. except for adding the chopped chipotles with about ten minutes to go in the curd stirring stage. 

Yes, I need to work on cutting my curds more evenly
Stirring time
Peppers in
In the press
Ready for the final press

Should I do anything different in the aging process after getting such a short flocculation time?  I noticed that the milk was starting to set at the end of the ripening.  Is the chipotle "juice" the likely culprit?

Title: Re: Chipotle Cheddar
Post by: iratherfly on July 14, 2012, 09:39:16 PM
Did you put the veg rennet in water? or the MA11? Isn't the MA11 a freeze dry direct set powder?

Anyway, interesting idea with the peppers. Will you age it naturally or in vacuum/wax?
Title: Re: Chipotle Cheddar
Post by: BobE102330 on July 14, 2012, 10:21:44 PM
Thinking about it, the fast floc time was probably was due to rehydrating the MA011.  Yes, it is a freeze dried direct set.  Read about people here rehydrating their cultures, and figured I'd do it.  Guess I'll just go back to letting it sit on top of the milk for a bit before stirring it.  The vegetable rennet I used was the tablet form, so yes, it was dissolved in 1/4 cup of water. 

I'll probably wax it since I have the wax and don't have a vacuum sealer (yet).  My natural rind attempts haven't gone so well yet.  Probably because the aging fridge was in the basement and I didn't go down there often enough.  Moving the fridges to the bonus room next to my bedroom might help me take care of my cheeses better.

I couldn't resist tasting the curds as I was getting ready to press.  If that is any indication, this ought to be a nice cheese if I can age it properly.  When this year's crop comes in I will put some of my fatali scotch bonnet peppers in a cheese. They are habanero hot but have a citrus like flavor. 
Title: Re: Chipotle Cheddar
Post by: iratherfly on July 14, 2012, 10:55:51 PM
Yes, you can certainly just toss it over the surface of the milk, let it rehydrate for 3 minutes and then mix. They are made to do that
Title: Re: Chipotle Cheddar
Post by: BobE102330 on July 15, 2012, 03:20:51 PM
OK, I tried it again today.  Same basic setup, but trying a Feta, so no peppers.  Brought the 2 gallons of milk and a tsp of sharp lipase powder to 86F, added 1/2 tsp CaCl and 1/2 tsp. MA011 a minute apart.  Ripened an hour, noticed some thickening on the surface of the milk.  Added 1/2 tablet vegetable rennet dissolved in 1/4 cup water.  Flocculation time was less than 6 minutes.  Store bought pasteurized/homogenized whole milk, but a different brand (Stewart's today, Hood yesterday)

Previous makes with both these milks have been in the normal ~15 minute flocculation time Using the same starter.  I've used this vegetable rennet in the same 1/2 tablet per gallon of milk range on other makes with normal results.

Any ideas?  Should I use less rennet, less starter or both? 

Title: Re: Chipotle Cheddar
Post by: JeffHamm on July 15, 2012, 03:31:54 PM
Hi BobE102330,

If you're getting floc's around 5-6 minutes consistently now, then I would suggest reducing your rennet.  I highly recommend tracking down some liquid rennet.  Much easier to be consistent with your amounts.  Otherwise, you really need to get a microscale, weight your tablets, grind them to powder, then weigh small portions of the powder to determine the appropriate amounts.  This might raise a few eye brows! :)

- Jeff
Title: Re: Chipotle Cheddar
Post by: BobE102330 on July 15, 2012, 03:36:27 PM
Thanks Jeff.  I have liquid rennet, just wanted to use up my supply of vegetable rennet.  Liquid it is.

The powder on the scale is all I need now.  I raised enough eyebrows with a couple 400W halogen lamps starting 100 pepper plants...
Title: Re: Chipotle Cheddar
Post by: JeffHamm on July 15, 2012, 03:46:14 PM
LOL!  Yes, I can see things becoming a bit awkward.  Simply practice saying, with a straight face,  "It's all for the cheese officer!"

- Jeff
Title: Re: Chipotle Cheddar
Post by: iratherfly on July 16, 2012, 12:45:48 AM
Too much Calcium, Too much starter, too much rennet.

CalCl2 - use only in pasteurized milk, at the rate of 1/8 tsp per gallon. Not more.
Starter culture - is not measured per-gallon: 1/8 tsp for 1-2 gal., 1/4 tsp for 2-5 gal., 1/2 tsp for 5-10 gal., above that - use DCU units. You can use up to half if your milk is raw and a tad more if it is HTST or Ultra pasteurized.
Rennet tablets, - I haven't use those in years (I don't see any reason unless you must make emergency cheese in the middle of the desert), but if I remember correctly, a tablet of Marchall coagulates 50 liters (about 13.25 gal) so 1/4 tablet is too much for 2 gallons.

By the way, if you want the traditional Feta flavor and texture, I suggest adding thermophilic mix into it too.

I also suggest to switch to quality milk. Supermarket milk is really difficult to get good results with.
Title: Re: Chipotle Cheddar
Post by: BobE102330 on July 16, 2012, 06:56:25 AM
Thanks, Flyer.  Will add thermo to my next Feta attempt. 

I used  guess the proper amount of CaCl2 depends on the strength of the solution, I just went with Rikki Carroll's recommendation.  I suppose as her site seems targeted to beginners she throws a lot of it and a lot of starter in the mix so the result is a firm curd without having to wait "too long".  I used half the rennet and half the starter recommended (per gallon) in her recipe for yesterday's make.  I've read here that she is a bit heavy handed with starter and rennet, but Yikes! 

I certainly mean no disrespect to Rikki.  After all, she got me started on a  fun hobby by simplifying the process of cheese making.  Had I found this site first I might have been scared off. 

I'm limited to 2 gallon makes for the time being.  I'm planning a PID controlled cooker, but that will be a while. 

Thanks for all the help to you and Jeff.  I will cut way back on starter, and use liquid rennet for future makes.  I'll also try to get some raw milk - there's a licensed dairy not far from me.  That sounds like a 6-10 make transition to learn how much rennet I need. 

Cheese making in the desert ;D  My old house has no central air and yesterday my kitchen was 85 degrees.  Not much work keeping the ripening/coagulating at the target 86.   

P.S. I'd love to fly, too.  Unfortunately, my first career as a Tomcat RIO contributed to neck problems that make it impossible.  I loved flying when we would bend the wings and running supersonic at <100 feet. 
Title: Re: Chipotle Cheddar
Post by: iratherfly on July 16, 2012, 02:26:20 PM
Haha.... the desert comment was about these tablets, which can survive a nuclear holocaust that will make Twinky survivability seem like a fresh strawberry.

Riki's recipes are a bit dated and they have originated from times where the culture selection for cheesemaker wasn't as it is today. Over time she modernized the culture names etc., but the recipes are still a bit rough; not sensitive, often totally off the mark for the target cheese in terms of process, ingredients and form factor.  She encourages beginners to start off with Cheddar, but in reality this is not a beginner's cheese due to its sensitive acidification schedule and the long time it takes to age it before you can find out how well you did.  One by one you see people complain about the same issues of dry, hard, cracked, acidic cheese, sometimes gas blowouts too -because she fails to explain acidification, milk selection, etc.   I also can't blame new cheesemakers who cannot wait 3 months to taste your first creation. Too often they want to give it a try a few weeks in and hate it, not realizing that this will be a good cheese in 3 more months because the flavor is so horrific now.  Her generic mystery cultures also complicate things; they are tiny (good for 8 gallons of milk?) yet cost the same as brand-name commercial grade cultures (that have enough for 150-1500 gallons of milk).

Like many others, I too started with her stuff and quickly moved to modern books with technical common sense and descriptions, then on to traditional professional formulas and better equipment.  It's a double edge sword; on the one hand, she dumbs-down the recipes to attract people such as myself and yourself into cheesemaking, by making this seem easy and simple, which is a really great thing. On the other hand, she enables a generation of clueless cheesemakers that don't understand the process and its common sense practices. Many of these people are potentially great cheesemakers, but a series of spilled milks, expense, time spent on aging, anticipation for something great and disappointment to follow, they just give up. (usually, blaming themselves too).

Well, that's where this forum comes in!

Good luck with the raw milk. It makes a night and day difference! You will see it immediately. Use same amount of rennet, but you can decrease culture dramatically. You don't need to use CalCl2. Raw milk has not been stripped out of calcium in a pasteurizer/homogenizer!

My username, by the way refers to my past as a private pilot
Title: Re: Chipotle Cheddar
Post by: avril on July 16, 2012, 03:32:22 PM
iratherfly, as a newbie cheese maker perusing this forum I must admit that some of the language of cheese sounds like a chemistry lesson without a road map.
"Starter culture - is not measured per-gallon: 1/8 tsp for 1-2 gal., 1/4 tsp for 2-5 gal., 1/2 tsp for 5-10 gal., above that - use DCU units. You can use up to half if your milk is raw and a tad more if it is HTST or Ultra pasteurized."
 When you say that culture is measured in DCU unit and not tsp, what does that mean? Where does a newbie go if not to Rikki Carroll's book to learn about cheese making and doing it successfully. I have my first two cheddar's, 1 manchego and two Brie(thank god I can try that one sooner than later!) waiting to see if I was indeed successful. This is not for the impatient or the faint of heart ;)
Title: Re: Chipotle Cheddar
Post by: BobE102330 on July 16, 2012, 04:11:03 PM

I found this discussion that may help (

I gather from the comments I've read that the need for starter does not vary linearly with milk volume - it looks more like the appropriate volume of milk goes up with the square of the volume of starter. 

As Iratherfly suggested, the cultures available to us today are much more effective than those of the time when many of Rikki's recipes were written.  I've had mixed results with Rikki's book, it sounds like the 200 cheeses book should be a near future purchase.  Of course this forum's wiki has a variety of recipes as well. 

The whole cheesemaking process seems to have a few hundred variables.  What you end up with is determined by a few key ratios.  The more I read here the better handle I get on what they might be.  I didn't know what flocculation meant in cheesemaking until a few weeks ago.  A lot of recipes don't mention the proper multiplier.  I guess I should buy a PH meter along the way as well. 

I plan to continue down this path trying to changing as few variables as possible at a time.  A few more using store bought milk before I try fresh.  I need to be sure that my affinage works before trying that.
Title: Re: Chipotle Cheddar
Post by: iratherfly on July 17, 2012, 02:06:52 AM
Avril, Bob's suggestion for 200 Easy Cheesemaking Recipes is a good one. Concise and clear info with good technique explanation, useful tips and illustrations. 

I apologize if I went into jargon land; I really try not to do that, especially if I know there are people on the thread who may not know what I mean.  You will find a lot of jargon here, but most of it is just short names for cultures (Geo and PC or Fl-Dn instead of Geotrichum Candidum, Penilillium Candidum and Flora-Danica), shorts for materials (CalCl2 instead of Calcium Chloride), or short for situations (temp for temperature, RH for Relative Humidity and pH when people use pH meter). You will also see some shorts for processes (such as floc for flocculation, multiplier, heavy brine/saturated brine etc.).  The rest are proper words, though some may be unfamiliar phrases (such as "poil de chat", "slip skin", "toad skin", Morge, Mocasse, ammoniation, lipolysis, proteolysis, DVS/DVI etc.)  No one expect you to know all of these things. It's not just a newbie thing but also something you may run into when switching from different types of cheese. We all come across them but I think I gave you the most common ones here and you are always welcome to ask (you can PM me too ...Eh, I meant, Private-Message me).  Don't get overwhelmed; it's really about 15-20 phrases that everyone here repeats and by doing so they are able to pin-point a process, an error, an exact measurement or specific ingredient -to help you perfect your cheese in a way that most of these recipe books really can't.  Of course, it's also just being lazy; who wants to spell out Penicillium Candidum every time?   

OK, let me explain my sentence:
Culture arrives in sachets that are good to inoculate huge amounts of milk at once.  As Bob mentioned, cultures (unlike salt, rennet or Calcium, or spices in cooking and baking) don't double as the milk quantity doubles.  Generally for small home-made batches you would use the quantities I specified. If you go over 12 gallon per batch, it is safe to assume you are using a large vat / doing large batches. In this case it is more cost-effective to switch from teaspoons to the less wasteful unit measurement that is printed on the sachet (which was meant for commercial cheesemakers).
For example: If you the sachet reads "50u", it means that the entire package can set 500 liters of milk. Say you are doing a 50-liter batch (13 gallons), simply use 1/10th of the package instead of measuring in teaspoons. Am I more clear now?

The other thing I said about the milk was that if it was pasteurized to death (HTST or UHT or Ultra Pasteurized -phrases that are often actually on the milk carton, not a Cheeseforum jargon), then it is safe to assume that no significant organisms have survived this violent pasteurization process. You can therefore give the milk a little more culture to start re-growing life in it in quantity that makes up for the natural bacteria that was killed off in pasteurization.  If the milk is raw, you want to use less culture; give it just a little kick and let its natural bacterium and flora speak for itself.

And that's my problem with these recipes... they accidentally make people think of rennet, calcium and cultures as if they were spices or food substances, but they are far from it. They merely control the development of living organisms and how they affect the development of flavor, texture, and aroma in cheese. One cannot just increase rennet to get harder coagulation; it will make bitter cheese. One cannot increase cultures to make the process faster; cultures will acidify at the same exact speed, but with too much too quickly, the cheese will be dry, crumbly, sour and won't even be able to melt.  Cheesemaking is closer to gardening than it is to cooking if you think about it.

Always remember in cheese that you are manipulating life, not substance. It's really incredibly magical if you think about it!
Title: Re: Chipotle Cheddar
Post by: avril on July 17, 2012, 08:39:01 PM
Bob & iratherfly With great appreciation for your in depth and thoughtful responses. I am more informed and a less intimidated. I have access to great raw cow and goat milk and what I lack in experience I make up for in enthusiasm. As they say, the proof is in the pudding but mine can't be sampled till the aspen leaves start changing. Great anticipation. Thanks again!
Title: Re: Chipotle Cheddar
Post by: iratherfly on July 20, 2012, 05:00:23 PM
You are welcome. Thanks for staying up to read my super long message...  >:D
Title: Re: Chipotle Cheddar
Post by: BobE102330 on August 03, 2012, 08:14:49 AM
Out for a breath of fresh air.  I may go natural rind after all.  Starting to smell good. :D
Title: Re: Chipotle Cheddar
Post by: BobE102330 on September 18, 2012, 09:08:52 AM
I opened this cheese this weekend for a party, but did not put it out.  Crumbly bitter paste that tasted a bit dirty/dusty (like I had cooked all the flavor out of my store bought chipotles and stirred in the dust).  I guess I over-acidified by rehydrating my culture and waiting far too long to cut.  <5 minute floc, but waited the 30 minutes to cut. 

Time to try again with my own fresh smoked chipotles. 
Title: Re: Chipotle Cheddar
Post by: margaretsmall on September 18, 2012, 05:21:17 PM
I've come into this thread a bit late, but I wanted to say that I too appreciate Yoav's thoughtful comments. I'm also encouraged by reading old posts of yours - I can see you have come a long way in cheesemaking, so maybe I can too.
A cheese to you.
Best wishes
Title: Re: Chipotle Cheddar
Post by: BobE102330 on September 18, 2012, 05:46:55 PM
Thanks Margaret.  It's been a fun journey and I've had enough successes along the way to keep me going.  So far I haven't done well with cheddars, hopefully the latest few will turn out OK. 
Title: Re: Chipotle Cheddar
Post by: JeffHamm on September 18, 2012, 06:55:20 PM
Hi Bob,

Sorry to hear this one wasn't top shelf.  Crumbly and bitter does sound like it was over acidified, and bitterness could be too much rennet (which would fit with the fast floc), and/or too much starter (which would change your acidity curve and can result in faster flocs as well). 

Check out some of the caerphilly makes that are around.  There's one that I quite like which involves cheddaring the curds, and there are some other procedures which don't have that.  Try both as the results are good either way, but see which one you prefer.  This won't end up like a cheddar, but it is ready in 3 or 4 weeks, so you can tweak your makes quickly.

Also, if you're willing to age one out 4 to 6 months, have a look for my 3rd Wensleydale thread.  That produced the best cheddar type cheese I've ever made, and by far the best.  I'm going to try and reproduce it myself, but on the assumption that the procedure is robust and stable, I highly recommend it.  It is a fairly long make procedure, but it is worth it in the end.

- Jeff
Title: Re: Chipotle Cheddar
Post by: BobE102330 on September 18, 2012, 07:25:36 PM
Thanks for the suggestions Jeff. Caerphilly was on my short list for just those reasons.  This make was probably both too much starter and too much rennet (vegetable tablet kind).  Now I am getting pretty consistent 12-14 minute flocs, so that's why I am hoping the next couple of stirred curd cheddars come out well.  I'll try the Wensleydale as well. 
Title: Re: Chipotle Cheddar
Post by: Tomer1 on September 19, 2012, 05:40:19 AM
A friend just got back from South america (mexico among others) and brought me some dried chipotles.  They smell like camp fire :)
I need to try making this wine, perhaps with the quick ripening recipe.
Title: Re: Chipotle Cheddar
Post by: BobE102330 on September 19, 2012, 06:17:52 AM
Good luck Tomer.  My home smoked chipotles have a bit less smoke than that. Smoky but sweet caramelization of the sugars dominates. Come to think of it, the chipotles I used were pretty darned smoke dominated. That could be the flavor I don't care for on top of the base cheese bitterness.

One of my early smoked chickens prompted my son's coworker to ask "Are you eating a campfire?" Now I try to put enough smoke to accent the flavor without dominating it. Live and learn.
Title: Re: Chipotle Cheddar
Post by: Boofer on September 19, 2012, 10:08:42 AM
Bob, my condolences on your disappointing Cheddar. I've had a few failures similar to that. Thankfully, there's more milk down the street when that happens and I "suck it up and drive on!" (sorry, old military jargon ::)), learning for the next time.

Title: Re: Chipotle Cheddar
Post by: BobE102330 on September 19, 2012, 10:27:41 AM
Thanks Boofer. I've had much more success since I found this site, thanks to helpful people like you and Jeff.  A cheese to both of you.  I also understand my other results and can correct for them next make. That's pretty cool.

As a retired military man myself that jargon bothers me not at all.  :) I am staying in the fight, not bugging out yet.
Title: Re: Chipotle Cheddar
Post by: Tomer1 on September 19, 2012, 10:40:32 AM
Im gone try adding some LH to combat bitterness as my one and only chadder did have bitter notes which I didnt care for.