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Old 03-11-2008, 04:54 PM   #1
hmk123
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Default New to cheesemaking... Questions...

Hello! We just started playing with cheesemaking. We bought the book from New England Cheese Making and thier 30 miunte mozzerlla kit and a few cultures. So far no one has died and the cheese (Fromage Blanc and Mozz) has tasted like cheese so I am counting myself lucky!

But I have a couple questions. We are using raw milk. Does that bring extra concerns and if so how do you know if it has been contaiminated. The same goes with hard and ripened cheeses, how do you know if the mold growing on them is the mold you want?

Thanks

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Old 03-11-2008, 05:21 PM   #2
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The biggest risk I believe is with Listeria (among others). Current FDA regulations require an aging process of over 60 days (I believe) in raw milk cheeses to ensure that if the raw milk was contaminated, the bacteria are dead. Hence the reason why we cannot get 'real' Camembert here in the states.

You have to use your judgment in this matter. You should make certain that the source for your milk is taking all the right precautions to provide a safe product. Much of the contamination comes from passing the bacteria on the teet into the milk, or in unsanitized containers.

As for the molds, well you don't want the black cat hair as Carrol mentions in her book. The white furry mold that has very short fine hairs (think of the Brie you see in the store) or in the case of a Limburger or Brick, the reddish color that comes from the bacteria are what are normal. Spotty looking cheese mold is usually different molds that form sites on the cheese as a result of contamination.

There is a lot that can go wrong, but usually won't if you practice good sanitation, good procedure, use good/fresh ingredients and adhere strictly to the humidity requirements.

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Old 03-11-2008, 05:31 PM   #3
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^^ agreed, there is no way, short of lab testing, to know if the milk is contaminated.

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Old 03-11-2008, 05:46 PM   #4
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Don't get me wrong, the reason I stopped making cheese was because I want to find a local source of raw milk with which I can make Camembert, Reblochon, etc. I am quite familiar with many different molds, bacteria, etc in many food processing endeavors...then again I have been doing so for quite a long time and have a very solid background in the Culinary arts....hence the caution. You are right, there are things lurking that can kill you, but you have to really dig in and read all you can about the process before you start.

The common thing that I have found is this. You have to have safe, fresh ingredients to begin with and you need to get them on their merry way to what they will become as soon as you can. In other words, if you want to make cheese from raw milk, get it preferably that same day in your own containers. Watch them milk it in if you can. Seriously. I have read that in many places in France the milk is often still warm when the cheese maker begins as they push it by cart from the farm next door! Then you can see where the reasoning is. Here, we have huge farms with stressed cattle, forced to overproduce and milk that is possibly from hundreds of miles away...hence pasteurization is necessary.

One can see this when one grows food. I am still amazed at how long freshly picked produce will stay not only fresh but remains even tastier than what you can find in the store.

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Old 03-19-2008, 11:31 AM   #5
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I feel confident of my milk supply. The farmer I get my milk from uses new, jugs for the milk (no reuse of containers). The milk has been collected the same morning I get it, and stays refridgerated except for the car trip home.

Like always, though - caution. I am not a cheese maker but I do do home canning, so I am very aware of related food saftey items. I run all my tooks through the dishwasher on the sanitize cycle before I use them, and my cheese cloth has been through the santize cycle on my washing machine if it is not new,as has the towel I put down on my counter to set my tools on as I work (I do the same thing when I can.)

I am going to be a little more worried when we try the hard cheeses, as those set so long, but I don't know if our milk supply is sufficient for those! OMG they take a ton of milk!

Like produce, handeling is important. As a farmer, I know that the home grown produce only lasts longer if it is handeled carefully... Also remember that ther green pepper you buy at the grocrey store has traveled hundreds, or thousands of miles to reach your kitchen!

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Old 03-19-2008, 02:15 PM   #6
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Well keep in mind you will be able to feed Whey to animals (Pigs love it), or if you want traditional Ricotta is made from lots of Whey. Or Gjeost is another thing you can do with it. So there is a little more stretching of the supply.

Sounds like you have a good source. I am not certain why you would worry? Are you concerned about failing? I wouldn't be, it's not terribly hard to make decent cheese.

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Old 03-19-2008, 04:57 PM   #7
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Thanks! I just wanted to get opinions from people who have experience on if it is a major issue I should worry about. Sounds like I just need to be careful and use common sense...

I have made fromage blanc once and mozzeralla twice now, and it is so weird to me that I can acturally make cheese! Now on to something harder - metophorically and texturally!

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Old 03-19-2008, 06:42 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hmk123
Thanks! I just wanted to get opinions from people who have experience on if it is a major issue I should worry about. Sounds like I just need to be careful and use common sense...

I have made fromage blanc once and mozzeralla twice now, and it is so weird to me that I can acturally make cheese! Now on to something harder - metophorically and texturally!
Yeah, it is weird. A lot of 'these things' are not terribly hard, especially if you use common sense as you say. There are always risks in life, but I think if one approaches the problem with a good deal of understanding, the probability of falling prey to troubles is greatly reduced. In no time you'll be building a cheese cellar . (That's on my to do list, but way at the bottom I think ).
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