Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create an account.

Fat Guy

Making mozzarella @ home

Recommended Posts

Fat Guy   

Just to clarify, and someone please correct me if I'm wrong, my understanding is that there are 3 rennet options:

1. Animal rennet

2. Vegetable rennet

3. "Microbial" rennet, which is an analog of animal rennet but made in the lab

I have not seen 3 on any of the cheesemaking sites, only on the lab sites. I'll order some from a lab company if that's the only option, but would rather support the cheesemaking people. You indicated that most internet cheesemaking supply sites sell the microbial rennet, and I wasn't able to find that. Looking upthread, I don't see a link that helps on that front, but I can easily miss things because I'm dumb.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

OK, what is vegetable rennet? Are we talking thistle extracts here? I always assumed that "vegetarian rennet" was microbial rennet.

Edit: My cheesemaking supplier, for instance, lists only calf rennet and microbial rennet.


Edited by mkayahara (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There are actually two types of microbial rennet that were developed for commercial use and the one derived from molds is specifically forbidden for use by the European Food Safety Authority because of safety concerns with the "parent" molds.

Cheeses made from this rennet often have a bitter flavor. (I don't know why.)

The other type is the genetically engineered Chymosin (Chymax) made when cow genes are inserted into bacteria, fungi or yeasts and this is produced mostly from aspergillus niger.

I don't like to use any genetically modified product and I want nothing to do with aspergillus niger or anything derived from it.

One caveat. Soy proteins are used in the production of Chymosin and people that are allergic to soy can react adversely.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Jenni   

Just as an extra bit of info, here is a vegetarian rennet commonly seen in the UK in supermarkets and other shops. It's made from "Mucor Miehei" apparently and after looking that up on Wikipedia I am confused as to whether it is "vegetable" or "microbial" or indeed what the exact difference is. I am only skim reading though, 'tis late here. Fascinating stuff though and plan to have a proper read up on it all tomorrow.


Edited by Jenni (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Fat Guy   

Rennet nomenclature turns out to be more complex than I'd imagined. I hope someone will present a definitive taxonomy.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You can start with this brief abstract.

On the right side you will see a list of other reviews and abstracts dealing with this subject.

There have been numerous studies at universities all over the world that evaluated various types of rennet.

Some time ago I read an informative one from a uni in India but can't find it right now.

I subscribe to Culture magazine (quarterly publication) and saw a mention of that study in an earlier issue.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
OliverB   

I haven't made it in a while, but I used Ricky Carrol's recipe from Home Cheese Making and it came out great. I used fresh whole milk from Whole Foods (thus creating the most expensive moz I've ever eaten) figuring it'll be better with "better" mils and if I go through the process, might as well.

I did wear rubber gloves I bought for that purpose, the hot curd 'rubber' is pretty - well - hot. It worked well the two or three times I did it, eventually I figured it's not worth the effort, as I can buy very nice moz at Whole Foods that's just as fine.

But I like the idea of this as a science project, I have to keep that in mind!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I recieved some new dry calf rennet (powdered, ~8% pepsin) and some cultures from Steve Shapson's website yesterday. I'm going to put this 30 minute mozzerella to the test once I get some milk.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Initial results are discouraging. I got some instant curdling when I added the diluted citric acid (1.5 t citric acid in 1 c bottled water). Possible cause: recipe calls for the dilute acid to be added to COLD milk. I had left the milk on the counter when I got home this afternoon so it would warm up a little bit. It was around 75-80 degrees when I added the citric acid.

I wonder if I'll get a clean break.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

10 minutes later, I got something like this:

30minmozz1001.jpg

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

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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 (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Fat Guy   

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Fat Guy   

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Emily_R   

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Fat Guy   

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Fat Guy   

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Mjx   

. . . . 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?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

. . . . 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-

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Similar Content

    • By yentakaren
      Hi there Italian chefs around the world -    Two years ago (while visiting my family in New York - we live for 25 years in California))  we went to New York and ate in an Italian Restaurant in Syosset Long Island, New York (Steve's Piccola Bussola) and ordered their Chicken Cacciatore.  It was unbelievable, so savory and tender and juice and it had 4 lean and juicy (no skin, no fat, no gristle) rollups wrapped around what looked like a small (about 1-2" rib bone) (in chicken???_ was able to get some of the recipe because I called them 2x, but after 5 tries at various times, I am giving up.  He (the chef) said they used thighs - but the thighs I know are fatty and tough so I don't know where they got it.  He said they buy the whole chickens and cut it up, so I guess they can get rid of the fat,skin and gristle that way.   One, because I am never able to get their dark brown sauce (don't know how they do it because having a brown sauce by working with chicken, mushrooms, wine and onions is an enigma.  Their sauce is not sweet, or sour just rich and savory.   I saw the kind of sauce that it was when I saw the recipe of Hubert Keller's Beef Borguignon on TV, but it looked soooo difficult and was made with meat, not chicken. That has meat rollups sitting in a dark brown sauce.   Help!  I want to learn how to make that.   The initial recipe that they gave me was this:     Take chicken and cut it into pieces the size of a meatball with or without the bone.
      Take olive oil and make very hot.  Brown.  Add 2 cups chicken stock, salt and pepper, parsley, and simmer for ½ hour.  After brown, put until broiler and brown some more.
      In another skillet, put mushrooms, onions, little tomato sauce, and when sizzling and hot, add white wine (or Marsala) and cook in pan – ½ hour.  Add butter to thicken – but do not boil after butter melts
      Said I can also put a little tomato sauce in there - maybe it was tomato paste.
      After ready, marry the two and cook another 15 minutes all together (or not) – just eat it.
       
      Below is a photo of Steve's Chicken Cacciatore - I know it looks like beef, but this is chicken!
       
       

    • By Christy Martino
      Ciao!
       
      I'm Christine and I'm a born and bred New Yorker. I’m an Italian by blood (and at heart, of course) since my parents actually came from Italy. My father was from Sciacca, Sicily while my mother was from Sondrio, Lombardy. Despite coming from different regions, or because of it, love for food and cooking has been one of the mainstays in my family home life growing up. And I’ve always loved the dishes my parents prepared during special occasions, and even on regular days.
       
      And of course, I love cooking (and eating) Italian food and I have a few recipes from my mother, but I'd really love to collect some more, especially the traditional ones. And if anyone can contribute some historical background to each dish, that would be really great.
       
      Grazie mille!
    • By JohnT
      I am led to believe that World Pasta Day 2016 is to be on Tuesday, October 25 this year. So, with this in mind, what are the eG cooks planning on "cooking up" in celebrating the day?
       
      I will start the ball rolling.
       
      I am going to make my standard egg yoke pasta sheets, rolled out on my now seldom-used manual pasta machine and use them in making lasagna, using my old and reliable bolognese sauce recipe layered with béchamel sauce and a sprinkle of grated Parmesan.
       
      And with the left-over egg whites I will make a few meringue bases for portioned pavlova - Spring is here in the Southern Hemisphere and berries and fruit are starting to appear in the shops!
    • By DianaB
      Just found out that a member of eGullet, @Cia has begun to post his short videos on Italian culinary culture on YouTube.  Only one to date but I know there are more in the pipeline.  While made by an Italian based in Italy the narrative is in English.
       
      Here's the first instalment: 
       
       
       
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×