Curdled Milk OK for Cheese making?

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TorusKnot

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Odd question, I know, but 2 gallons of (never opened) milk curdled in their jugs. They were at room temp for 2 days. The milk smells fine and tastes OK...but is it? Can I proceed with my cheese making as if it were fresh milk?
Is it safe?
Kevin
 

bernardsmith

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That is an interesting question, TorusKnot. I would love to know how other more knowledgeable cheese makers respond. My own thinking is that a) it is quite safe and b) the curdling means that lactic bacilli have converted some of the lactose to lactic acid which is what you are doing when you add cultures to the milk to "ripen" it before you add rennet. My grandmother would often make simple soft cheese in precisely that way.

The one issue I see is that the specific bacteria involved may not be as rich in diversity as the bacteria you would normally add. Me? I use home made kefir to ripen my milk for cheese making BUT I also make cheese directly from the kefir I press and while kefir has a whole passel of cultures they curdle my milk on the counter in my kitchen and I allow the curdled milk to sit in the fridge for a couple of weeks until I have about a gallon at which time I strain off the whey and press the curds without any addition of rennet (the curds being so acidic that I find the rennet at the normal dosage does not have the ability to further coagulate such acidic curds).

Bottom line: I would gently gather the curds into a cheese cloth lined colander and allow the whey to drain. After 15 minutes I would check the consistency of the cheese and see if you want to press this further or allow it to drain longer. Taste to see if it is OK and add salt and perhaps some herbs or spices and taste for eating.
 
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TorusKnot

TorusKnot

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Thank-you Bernard Smith.
I, too, make my cheese and yogurt with Kefir (is it really pronounced "K'Fear"?
...I am not, however, a big fan of the acidic/sour taste that comes along with it. I have actually used baking soda to offset the acid, but the flavor became very weird.
Still struggling with the science, I added, but don't know if I really had to, Calcium Chloride to the concoction I started this thread with. I seem to be taste sensitive to CC. It tastes like metal to me...therefore, I smothered my "Curdled Milk Curds" with salt, garlic and dill. I have vacuum-packed them and will try them again in a few days.
 

FromZwolle

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for fresh, or cooked curd cheese, you'll be ok.

for anything aged, it will likely end up tasting pretty blech.
 
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