Posted 13 January 2006 - 02:52 PM
Most recipes are simply: Heat cream to 180 degrees, add 1/4 tsp tartaric acid, refrigerate, drain and spoon off mascarpone.
In reality, I have not found this technique to be foolproof. I have used both pasteurized and ultra-pasteurized cream, and couldn't tell any difference. On one occasion, I couldn't even get the "curds" to form. When I tried again, I needed to use twice as much tartaric acid to induce "curd" formation, and, even then, the final product seemed too thin.
Was I correct in using the highest-fat heavy whipping cream I could find? Are the curds supposed to form as soon as the tartaric acid is added, or only after refrigeration?
Any other specific part of the process I'm missing here?
Posted 13 January 2006 - 05:59 PM
Posted 13 January 2006 - 06:09 PM
And, as is mentioned in the text you can get a kit from New England cheesemaking supply.
There are several links to sites here
and some more here.
I use manufacturer's cream which is not ultra-pasteurized and I generally mix it with whole milk that is NOT homogenized, that is, the kind where the cream floats to the top.
For cream cheese I use 1/3 whole milk and 2/3 cream. I find that I get a better end product this way - I have never used straight - cream and I then make ricotta from the whey that is left after the curds have been strained out.
I have not used tartaric acid, I use rennet and often a culture for a particular type of cheese, usually a mesophyllic culture.
Once the curds have formed and the whey strained off, I knead the curds into a solid mass in the cheesecloth (the fine stuff also known as butter muslin, not the gauze-like stuff found in most stores) wrap tightly and place in a plastic colander set in a pan to catch drips in the fridge I reserve for cheese and produce, which is not as cold as a regular refrigerator, and let it drain for 24 hours.
For mascarpone, I make a small batch using only vinegar. I use a double boiler and bring the temperature of the milk up to 190 degrees then add the vinegar and stir carefully, not too vigorously, as the milk curdles and the curds form and clump up.
I remove the top pan from the heat, cover it with a cloth so steam won't form and drip into the pan and allow it to cool for about 30 minutes or so. By this time the surface should be fairly solid.
I personally do not care for the flavor of this by itself so mix this batch with an equal amount of the plain cream cheese after they both have set for 24 hours. I simply put both batches in a mixer and beat with the flat paddle until the consistency is the way I like it.
My cream cheese is not as stiff as the commercial variety but it certainly is not thin. I can turn the mixer bowl upside-down and it won't fall out.
I divide it into smaller amounts and add herbs to one, sometimes fruit to another, etc.
Edited by andiesenji, 13 January 2006 - 06:10 PM.
Posted 14 January 2006 - 07:52 AM
I have made them before.
This is the site and recipes I use/refer too. The site owner is also very friendly and responded to my e-mails kindly.
Thank you all for your helpful suggestions. On the webiste that JustKay cites, it makes a point of saying that the ideal butterfat content of the cream should be 25%. Heavy whiping cream has 36% butterfat, and regular whipping cream varies from 30-36% cream. I recall having troubles with using anything less than 36% butterfat cream.
Also, when you add the tartaric acid (or vinegar) to the cream, are you supposed to see the mixture just thicken slightly, or are soft curds supposed to form? This is why I ended up adding twice as much tartaric acid as recommended to my cream-- no curds seemed to form at the 1/4 tsp per quart dose.
Posted 14 January 2006 - 09:22 AM
Posted 14 January 2006 - 11:22 PM
Edited by sanrensho, 15 January 2006 - 02:15 AM.
Posted 15 January 2006 - 10:29 AM
Where can you typically buy tartaric acid? Edited to add that apparently it can be purchased from a pharmacist of winemaking supply store. I should have done a search first.
Here are a few links to places that sell it:
Posted 15 January 2006 - 11:07 AM
Posted 15 January 2006 - 02:44 PM
Posted 20 January 2006 - 11:14 AM
Is there any noticable difference between what the tartaric acid and citric acid do to the end product?
I wonder if the other wine acids available might be worth experimenting with too... I think lactic and malic are available too... hmmmm...
Posted 20 January 2006 - 02:00 PM
You can also use citric acid, which can be easier to find. Most commercial brands use citric acid.
Nightscotsman, do you use the same quantity of citric acid as you would tartaric acid?
Posted 20 January 2006 - 06:08 PM
Posted 24 January 2006 - 04:25 AM
I'm in Australia so I'm not sure if the products I use are different ... I've tried using whipping cream (I think 35%) and tartaric acid ... but I've had more success with changing the original method slightly (more like the link JustKay gave) so that once it is brought to the boil and got to the right temperature, add the acid, then boil again. This seems to make it set harder. I've had some failures where it is just like odd cream and nothing to drain off it.
If I've heated up the cream, added the acid, let it cool ... and it has NOT firmed up ... then I re-heat the cream and add more tartaric acid ... this seems resurrect a disaster batch (except the flavour can bit a little bit too acidic). I've also seen a recipe that replaced the tartaric acid with lemon juice - but the flavour wasn't quite right.
I once tried it with cream that I had frozen ... it didn't work. I've tried mixing creams together (higher fat content creams and not whipping cream) ... and that didn't seem to ensure success or any better flavour. So I'm going to stick to the plain whipping cream and see if I can make it a bit more exact.
I keep trying because when it works it is simple and CHEAP - I've taste tested my homemade mascarpone straight next to bought mascarpone and I couldn't tell the difference ... price difference was $0.90 to $6 though ... and I live in a rural area where you can't even buy mascarpone!
Edited by LucyInAust, 24 January 2006 - 04:29 AM.