I am new to cheese and want to get it right, so here are a few questions:
1. Why do you need a culture?
2. If you use rennet, do you need a culture (may be answered by #1)
3. If I use a vacuum sealer instead of wax, will the cheese still age?
Thanks for any info supplied.
The culture is just the lacto bacteria. It changes the pH of the cheese. I've seen that in the fast mozzerella recipe, citric acid is added to change the pH of the cheese before the rennet. But the culture is the correct way to do it with most cheese. It sorts of sets up the field for curd formation, as well has allows the cheese to age correctly ("ripen").
2. Yes. the rennet is the "thickener" of the curds, so to speak.
Thanks for the info Yooper. I have done some research since posting this and have acquired some good sources for cheese making at home. I tried the Citric Acid recipe twice now and ended up with decent, but not great mozzarella. My next batch will be using a Thermophilic culture and additional time to get the end result.
Thanks again Yoop.
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The culture is needed for most cheeses. It is the culture that delivers the variety of micro organisms responsible for the acidity and many of the flavors. Brie for example has several mold cultures in it giving it the white fuzzy rind it is so well known for(this is mold). The acidity is one of the things that makes the cheese safe to eat.
Some cheeses are directly acidified by adding vinegar or citric acid, ect, but these are rarely something we would think of as a quality cheese.
Other exceptions such as Queso Fresco exist where in many cases are not acidified at all, hence the "fresh cheese" name. These cheeses must be eaten fresh or they will go bad.