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Making mozzarella @ home

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#61 TheTInCook

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Posted 07 May 2012 - 09:49 PM

10 minutes later, I got something like this:
Posted Image

Not exactly encouraging. Gonna let it sit for a bit to see if I get something cuttable.

#62 Jane Randahl

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Posted 07 May 2012 - 10:10 PM

I can think of a few possible issues. pH was mentioned and this is likely the cause since it has to be pretty much spot on. Also every time I hear the word 'microwave' I start to shudder because there is no way that any microwave is ever calibrated the exact same. Even if they give you a temperature and have the EXACT same model you do, there are so many external factors at work.

The right type of milk has been mentioned and this is a completely possible snag. I think making these is an exertion of the pasteurizing process and having a step already finished in pasteurized milk probably disrupts the entire process.

Does that video have its own forum? Cooking is so fickle (cheese especially) that they may have left out something that they didn't think was a factor.

#63 TheTInCook

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Posted 07 May 2012 - 10:17 PM

I'm thinking it has something to do with the citric acid method of acidification. I was getting some partial acid coagulation after I added the acid. AFAIK, acid coagulated curds aren't melty. I note that both fat guy and I added the acid while the milk was warm.

Edited by TheTInCook, 07 May 2012 - 10:18 PM.


#64 TheTInCook

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Posted 07 May 2012 - 11:37 PM

Disaster. It looked like it was cohesive and there was an atypical separation of curds and whey (couple inch thick cap of curds floating on the whey). The curd shattered when I went to scoop it into the drainer.

I succeeded in replicating Fat Guy's results.

The milk I used wasn't anything special, just a gallon of moo juice I picked up at the 99 cent store. I used 1/16 teaspoon of powdered rennet per package instructions.

I need to do some more research before I can say what went wrong. ATM, I'm thinking it's a fault with the method or amount of acidification.

#65 Fat Guy

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Posted 08 May 2012 - 04:45 AM

Having tried this a few times now, I can say with some confidence that the milk is the most significant variable. Some brands work, some don't. I can adjust the other variables quite a bit but the same brands work and the same ones don't.

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#66 Mjx

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Posted 08 May 2012 - 04:58 AM

Steven, is it safe to assume you've looked at a variety of cheesemaker's sites, to see what they have to offer, in terms of mozzarella troubleshooting (e.g. http://curd-nerd.com...doesnt-stretch/)?

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#67 Fat Guy

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Posted 08 May 2012 - 05:02 AM

I've looked at many websites and watched many videos. I may at some point test the Curd Nerd theory, but to make it worthwhile to do a 48-hour rest it would have to work with milk that the quicker recipe doesn't work with.

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#68 Kouign Aman

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Posted 08 May 2012 - 01:00 PM

What has the little guy learned from all this? This could be written up at so many levels, including introduction to factorial experiment design. Whats the 1st grade level take away lesson / message?
"You dont know everything in the world! You just know how to read!" -an ah-hah! moment for 6-yr old Miss O.

#69 Emily_R

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Posted 08 May 2012 - 02:21 PM

I'm amazed at your equanimity Steven! I've had just a small portion of the frustrating results you have (including with super-fresh raw milk that I sourced from a farmer down the road from me), did a whole lot of cursing, and vowed never to try it again.

#70 Fat Guy

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Posted 08 May 2012 - 05:29 PM

What has the little guy learned from all this? This could be written up at so many levels, including introduction to factorial experiment design. Whats the 1st grade level take away lesson / message?

The multiple initial failures are going to change the nature of the presentation. I think the display board will be mostly about how we had initial failures and had to isolate the different variables in order to succeed. Our working hypothesis is that most milk in supermarkets (organic included) is pasteurized at such high temperatures that it's not suitable for this kind of cheese making. We're also hoping, in the days before the science fair, to make about 10 pounds of the stuff so we can give out approximately 500 small samples on toothpicks, ala Costco. PJ is a big fan of the free samples at Costco and is really looking forward to giving out samples of his own. This is a non-competitive event with no real rules, so we're not doing anything all that rigorous.

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#71 Jon Savage

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Posted 08 May 2012 - 05:40 PM

That's a great experiment to try. I'm assuming you are avoiding animal rennet re: kashrut concerns @ JP's school?

Jon

 

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#72 Fat Guy

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Posted 08 May 2012 - 05:47 PM

He's no longer at the synagogue nursery school he went to. He's now in the regular NYC public-school system, where anything goes. There are, however, plenty of vegetarians and such around so I'd rather use something that's not directly from an animal. I have no problem using the genetically engineered stuff; I just haven't been motivated to order a ton of it from a lab-supply place and I haven't found it locally.

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#73 Mjx

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Posted 08 May 2012 - 11:03 PM

. . . . I just haven't been motivated to order a ton of it from a lab-supply place and I haven't found it locally.


What about contacting a member of one of the cheese forums out there (or contacting one of the managers who might know who to put you in touch with), who happens to live in NYC and is working with the gentically engineered rennet, and asking whether you could buy a small amount from him or her?

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#74 TheTInCook

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Posted 09 May 2012 - 08:56 PM


. . . . I just haven't been motivated to order a ton of it from a lab-supply place and I haven't found it locally.


What about contacting a member of one of the cheese forums out there (or contacting one of the managers who might know who to put you in touch with), who happens to live in NYC and is working with the gentically engineered rennet, and asking whether you could buy a small amount from him or her?


Steve Sharpson sells it on his website. http://thecheesemaker.com/cultures.htm It's the 100% Chymosin Liquid Rennet-

#75 dockhl

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Posted 09 May 2012 - 09:06 PM

Interesting........my daughter sent me this link a few days ago ( Best Part Trick-- 30 min Moz )
http://www.simplebit...ute-mozzarella/

I haven't tried it yet.......

#76 Fat Guy

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Posted 09 May 2012 - 09:08 PM

Steve Sharpson sells it on his website. http://thecheesemaker.com/cultures.htm It's the 100% Chymosin Liquid Rennet-

Just ordered 4oz.

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#77 dockhl

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Posted 13 May 2012 - 01:09 PM

Interesting........my daughter sent me this link a few days ago ( Best Part Trick-- 30 min Moz )
http://www.simplebit...ute-mozzarella/

I haven't tried it yet.......


Tried it last night with the same results as Fat Guy :sad:

#78 TheTInCook

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Posted 13 May 2012 - 03:07 PM

Tried it last night with the same results as Fat Guy :sad:


What did it look like when you added the citric acid but before you added the rennet? Did you get little curds floating in milk?

#79 Fat Guy

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Posted 13 May 2012 - 03:09 PM

Yesterday we received a 4 oz. bottle of 100% Chymosin Liquid Rennet from thecheesemaker.com. Either it is superior to the vegetable rennet we were using before, or Trader Joe's makes better milk for cheesemaking than anyone else. Since we changed both variables today, we can't be sure, but I suspect the rennet is responsible.

In any event, while we will backtrack and try to isolate the real weakness in the earlier process, we are now clear of the curd-coagulation problem. We can successfully coagulate curds.

Making decent mozzarella from the curds is still an elusive goal, however. Today's mozzarella came out like a pressed loaf of dry cottage cheese. The earlier successful attempt was too much like cold butter. This is the area where we need some instruction, and soon -- the science fair is coming up on Saturday.

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#80 TheTInCook

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Posted 13 May 2012 - 03:12 PM

Been reading some of the science on the direct acidification method. It appears it is key that the milk be very cold <40 deg F when adding the acid. I think that this is where both Fat Guy and I failed.

#81 Fat Guy

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Posted 13 May 2012 - 03:13 PM

I haven't found that adding the citric acid at lower temperatures makes a difference.

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#82 TheTInCook

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Posted 13 May 2012 - 03:18 PM

I haven't found that adding the citric acid at lower temperatures makes a difference.

Interesting. My milk was room temp when I added the acid, and it curdled some of the milk immediately. My final result looked a lot like yours.

I'll try a 2qt batch with the last of my milk.

#83 LindaK

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Posted 13 May 2012 - 05:01 PM

Last year, the cheese magazine Culture ran a story from an 11 year-old kid (supposedly) who shared her secrets of making mozzarella.

And while it won't be in time for your science fair, Murray's in NYC offers classes in making mozzarella: info here.


 


#84 Fat Guy

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Posted 13 May 2012 - 08:16 PM

Using the 100% Chymosin Liquid Rennet from thecheesemaker.com and retrying with the first type of milk we used, I was able to make mozzarella just now. So, having isolated every variable we could isolate, it seems the most important one was the rennet.

Now I just need to figure out how to make cheese that doesn't suck.

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#85 Paul Bacino

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Posted 15 May 2012 - 06:18 AM

Cool..

I have been following your work..I have the vegetable rennet.. but kinda got freak out when I saw it had Propylene Glycol, fermentation of Mucor Mieller ( sp ) and sodium propionate..

I was expecting extracts of vegetables? But I know.... MC has gotten me over that issue.

Gonna look into your stuff!!
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#86 Fat Guy

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Posted 19 May 2012 - 05:32 PM

The science fair was today. I'm trying to figure out the best way to post the presentation. Stand by.

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#87 Fat Guy

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Posted 19 May 2012 - 06:13 PM

So this is how the display board looked, roughly:

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We used different brands of whole milk. We found that some brands worked, and some didn’t.

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We heated the milk to 85 degrees F.

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We added citric acid, which curdles the milk.

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When the milk heated up to 100 degrees F, we added ½ of a rennet tablet, which coagulates (brings together) the curds. We used vegetarian rennet.

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After we added the rennet, we allowed the milk to rest for 15 minutes. Then we separated the curds from the whey (and we recited Little Miss Muffet, and laughed).

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We scooped the curds out of the pot and pressed them to get the whey out. We heated the curds in the microwave to get more whey out. Then we kneaded the curds and made a ball of cheese.

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With attempts 1 through 4 we did not succeed! We tried 3 different brands of milk with rennet tablets. We ended up with something like ricotta cheese (which was yummy on pizza and in baked ziti).

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It was very frustrating, but I did not want to give up! We were worried we wouldn’t figure this out in time for the science fair.

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Success! We made mozzarella cheese. It took us 5 tries to get our first success. We did that with Local Milk (a brand of milk) and rennet tablets.

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After so many failures we thought maybe the rennet tablets were the problem. So we switched to liquid rennet that my dad ordered on the internet from a lab. We repeated the first milk we had tried, and a new brand. We ended up with more ricotta.

On Friday, May 18, the day before the science fair, we still had only 1 success out of 12 tries. We were very frustrated and disappointed (and our refrigerator was full of ricotta!). Mom said “Why don’t you go back and do exactly what you did the one time you succeeded? Use the Local Milk and the rennet tablets, not the fancy mail-order liquid rennet.”

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We were successful! We made 5 new balls of mozzarella cheese – all on Friday, the day (and night) before the science fair!

Please try a sample of our mozzarella cheese. It is the most expensive mozzarella you will ever taste. It took us approximately 16 gallons of milk to end up with these 5 pounds of mozzarella, but we did it!

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
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#88 jsmeeker

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Posted 19 May 2012 - 09:47 PM

I was at Whole Foods today and needed milk. I happened to spot milk from a fairly local dairy that was low temperature pasteurized and non-homogonized. As I was drinking some of it, I looked up what exactly was involved with low temperature pasteurization. It talked about the temp and time (145 F for 30 minutes). And talked about enzymes too. That made me think of this thread. I re-read through it and saw that you did use some milk from a local dairy. (I think that is the Local brand milk pictured above) I looked at that their and website and it simply said it was pasteurized.

I wonder how well it would have worked with the milk I picked up today.


I think this was a cool experiment. You learned a lot about variables. Things that are variable that you probably weren't thinking would be. Like milk. I think most of assume that milk is more or less a commodity item.

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#89 Fat Guy

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Posted 20 May 2012 - 08:08 AM

The website for the Local Milk product has one more specific comment about pasteurization, buried in a different FAQ answer:

"What’s the difference between your milk and organic milk?
The biggest difference between our milk and any other milk is that it’s fresher and tastes better. Most organic milk has a 60-day shelf life because it’s ultra-pasteurized, while our milk has 17-day pasteurization. Organic milk is more about the farmer’s agricultural practices and how the herd is fed than the purity or quality of the milk. In terms of the use of antibiotics, we believe that when a cow gets sick, you should remove it from the milking herd and treat it, and once it’s healthy and the antibiotics have been washed out of its system, return it to the herd. Organic farmers don’t have this option and must remove the cow completely. If they choose to treat the cow, they can’t return it to the herd."

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#90 andiesenji

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Posted 20 May 2012 - 12:16 PM

Excellent presentation!

Congratulations on your (very expensive) but satisfying result.

I found some of my notes and I used Trader Joe's milk for a couple of batches.
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