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Old 04-19-2010, 03:16 PM   #1
CandleWineProject
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Default Feta fail

Last night was not a good night. Hubby tied his first ever all grain as a dandelion beer, and go at OG of 1.032... While I was making my 4th batch of queso blanco, and after hubby accidentally drank my acid solution. I started a new solution, but even though the alarms were going off in my head that it wasn't right (even got out a different spoon to verify), I ignored the alarms and started dumping only to really realize that yeah, it hadn't really curdled. *sigh*

So, my first ever attempt at feta... I've was following these two recipes: http://www.wikihow.com/Make-Feta-Cheese and http://www.ehow.com/how_2241829_make-feta-cheese.html. I used whole cows milk because it is easier to get, and I want a batch to first succeed before I go chasing goat's milk. It was the same milk as the queso blanco, and I verified that it is not ultrapasturized. I found a small "single serve" of plain non-fat Safeway (Lucern?) yogurt. It said it had active cultures. I heated the milk up to 85 degrees (F - is that my problem?). I added 1 TBS of the yogurt, and then let it sit for one hour. I got some liquid vegetable rennet that I opened last weekend, but I botched cutting the tip, so I keep the bottle in a plastic bag. The bottle says 1/2 tsp for 2 gallons to make hard cheese, so I used 1/4 tsp and whisked it in for a few minutes. It seemed very milky to me at that point. It was 8pm at that point, so I decided to let it sit overnight covered. This morning, I got up and cut it at 6:30. It was kind of like jello. I got out a plastic slotted spoon to stir it with, and that's when I realized it was the consistency of yogurt, and fell through my spoon. The color was white - no clumps of white with yellow-green whey. I declared it failed, but decided to go ahead and throw in some more rennet, cover it, and go to work.

Any thoughts as to what might have gone wrong? Will I my attempts to salvage it work?


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Old 04-20-2010, 12:50 AM   #2
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Nope, that didn't work, either. It was like gritty yogurt, and I couldn't get it to pass though the cheese cloth at all.


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Old 04-20-2010, 03:09 PM   #3
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i have had a couple batches go the same way yours did. adding extra will only speed up the coagulation, it won't push it further than the acids already present will allow. Also, the yogurt you used may not have had enough viable cells in one tablespoon. next time, try three or four tablespoons. i've also found that after i cut the curd, it needs a few minutes to rest, during which, a little gentle heat can help to firm it up. just don't cook it, around 85F should do it. at this point, i would say to add a table spoon of lemon juice and bring the milk almost to a boil. then strain it with cheese cloth and use it like ricotta.

i'm not sure about vetable rennet, though. i usually use junket.

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Old 04-20-2010, 07:11 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FromZwolle View Post
the yogurt you used may not have had enough viable cells in one tablespoon. next time, try three or four tablespoons.
So is it possible to add too much yogurt? How do I know if I have enough?
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Old 04-23-2010, 03:36 PM   #5
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in my experience too much would be around a cup and a half. at that point, you're making yogurt instead of souring with the yogurt culture. knowing if you're in the sweet spot is a little subjective. it all depends on how healthy the culture is. the best indicator i have found is smell. the milk will put out a sour smell when the yogurt/buttermilk is working right. It's not quite the 'this milk went bad' smell, but a lot of people will mistake it for that. You might find it helpful to do mini batches in mason jars, adding increasing amounts of culture and rennet into each to see what works the best for your particular ingredients. When working with live cultures and animal products, there is no real set recipe to follow. I have failed more than once with cheesemaking, but i learn a little more each time. There are plenty of others out there that can give better info than i can. I joined a yahoo group for cheesemaking. chances are, you should be able to find a number of threads just like this one over there, with more expert advice too. i also found that these sites had a lot of helpful information: schmidling.com/making.htm biology.clc.uc.edu/Fankhauser/Cheese/Cheese.../Cheese_course.htm
http://www.gourmetsleuth.com/Recipes...cipes-304.aspx
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Old 11-21-2010, 07:26 AM   #6
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I have heard many people talk of ripening the milk over night before heating and adding rennet. This allows the milk to acidify properly. Adding to much starter will cause your curd to be to firm, again this is what I have read.

I have never made Feta before (actually I am very new to cheese making) so I offer this info only as a suggestion and not as fact.

Hope you get it right on your next attempt. I have tossed several batches of cheese away that I was to impatient to wait for. I now try hard to be the grass hopper.

Salute!


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