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Old 02-02-2014, 03:45 PM   #1
jdgabbard
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Default Beginning my adventure into cheese making... (read: problem)

So, last week I started a batch. Had several problems, so I decided to toss it and start fresh. The main problems were: 1) the curd didn't really form a clean break, 2) I heated too fast causing the curds to stay too moist(my fault because I used the stove, not the sink), and 3) while air-drying the cheese literally was leaking fluid.

So this week I go at it again. I can't seem to win for loosing... I add calcium chloride to the milk trying to get it to firm up more. No luck. I use the warm water bath to heat the milk, after 5 minutes I've jumped up 6 degrees while stirring forcing me to pull it off and maintain a temp until the last 10 minutes to try and salvage it. Afterwards I stir for 30 minutes at 100f and rest at 5mins. Drain for an hour and off to the press.

I pressed at about 10lbs for 10 minutes, 20lbs for 15 minutes, then about 45lbs for 12 hours. I'm using a 4.5"x5" (ish) 2lb mold. After 12 hours its only compressed about an inch from the top. So I'm assuming these curds are too moist as well.

I am thinking this is because of a couple or maybe all of these: Obviously heating too quickly, maybe the rennet is past it's prime and should be adding a little extra, brand of milk just isn't going to work for developing a good clean break.

Any thoughts, opinions?

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Old 02-02-2014, 03:59 PM   #2
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If you aren't getting a clean break you are pretty well forked up from the get go. Are you using ultra pasteurized? Like you said, getting the clean break right is the first step.

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Old 02-02-2014, 04:02 PM   #3
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It's pasteurized, and homogenized, but I'm not sure to what extent. It's the store brand, so I am thinking I'll try some of the more expensive brands.

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Old 02-02-2014, 04:52 PM   #4
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Check for what level it is pasteurized to, if its ultra you will be hard pressed to make cheese.

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Old 02-02-2014, 05:10 PM   #5
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It doesn't say. Just says pasteurized. I'm assuming this milk is part of the problem. But I also need to get my technique down. This wheel I pressed feels somewhat spongy after having been pressed all night. So I'm assuming it will be a failure. Although I'm going to go through the motions with it.

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Old 02-02-2014, 10:49 PM   #6
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The pasteurization level is a legal deal so if it is ultra it would say. I am new to cheese making myself so I can't really help you trouble shoot. I just know if you don't get a good clean break you won't be successful. I would research the milk brand and see if people have success making cheese with it. If so then you id think your assumption about the rennet is correct.


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Old 02-02-2014, 11:00 PM   #7
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Won't be much researching. The store is Reasor's, and they do business with a lot of local farmers and the such. There won't be any way to tell. So I think I'm going to just have to try a different milk. And its weird, I get a ok break, but then it's milky just below the surface. And doesn't change no matter the length I let it sit there. So it very well may be just that brand of milk. I'll just have to try a different brand to see.

On a side note, I think I am going to try 1gal batches until I figure this out, as I've already waisted at least 2gal, maybe 4gal, of milk. Is there a easy way to measure out the starter? I'm using the powdered kind in the little pouches that is good for up to 2 gallons. Or would it be OK to just throw the whole packet in there?

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Old 02-03-2014, 06:16 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by jdgabbard View Post
Won't be much researching. The store is Reasor's, and they do business with a lot of local farmers and the such. There won't be any way to tell. So I think I'm going to just have to try a different milk. And its weird, I get a ok break, but then it's milky just below the surface. And doesn't change no matter the length I let it sit there. So it very well may be just that brand of milk. I'll just have to try a different brand to see.

On a side note, I think I am going to try 1gal batches until I figure this out, as I've already waisted at least 2gal, maybe 4gal, of milk. Is there a easy way to measure out the starter? I'm using the powdered kind in the little pouches that is good for up to 2 gallons. Or would it be OK to just throw the whole packet in there?
Yeah, sounds like you aren't getting a consistent product there so may be best to find that.

As far as the starter, my I don't know enough yet to give you a good answer. If it were me, I would weigh it out (I have a really accurate scale) and halve it.
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Old 02-20-2014, 09:45 PM   #9
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I think Bensiff is right. You gotta weigh it out and reduce the ratio. If you have a good scale, they can really be worth their weight in gold (pardon the pun). I haven't had much luck in the cheese department myself, but my brother is able to put together some wicked cheese. I'll ask him if he has any suggestions.

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