Cultured Mozzarella--ph went down too fast

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fredbram

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This was my second try at making cultured Mozzarella, and I mostly followed Caldwell traditional aging recipe. After cutting the curd and slowly bringing temp up, she says to hold at 118 until ph is down to 6.0, might take 60-90 minutes. I checked with ph strip after 60 minutes and I was already down to 5.0 or less, as best as I could tell with test strip. Why would it get so acidic so fast? It was noticeably acidic to taste, so I do think the ph test was fairly accurate. I have read that really fresh milk is best, and the milk that I used (homogenized, not ultra from grocery store) had been in my fridge for a few days. Is that likely the culprit? Or, is there another possibility--too much culture or rennet?

Any ideas would be appreciated before I try again, Thanks in advance.
 

bernardsmith

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Hi fredbram - and welcome. Interesting question. What kind of culture did you use and how much? I tend to find that when I try to make Mozz using cultures. I use kefir to culture my milk I find it can take many hours to hit the sweet spot (a pH of between 5.3 and 5.1. I wonder if the milk you used was slightly sour (given its age) or whether pH strips are inherently inaccurate or that you may have used so much culture that the milk ripened very rapidly.
 
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fredbram

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Thanks for responding. I used Thermophilic 81, 1/8 tsp for a gallon of milk. The milk was not sour to smell or taste but, as I said, it was close to it's use by date. Given that it tasted noticeably acidic I don't think the ph strip was too far off the mark. Maybe I should consider using Kefir instead? I made my own yogurt for my first attempt, and it didn't seem to get to the stretch point, but i had other issues that time--no ph testing, no idea what I was doing, maybe didn't keep it at the right temp while waiting, and maybe gave up too soon.
 

bernardsmith

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In my opinion, making mozzarella with culture is one of the most challenging cheeses to make, largely, I think, because that window of a pH between 5.1 and 5.3 is so small and when you use culture you cannot predict how long it takes to drop to that level of acidity. If you use citric acid or lemon juice that's another story entirely, but the complexity of flavor is inversely related to the ease of making that cheese.
 
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fredbram

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Somehow I seem to have a lot of time on my hands for a challenge right now. I think I'll try again with fresher milk and maybe a bit less culture.
 
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