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Making Cheese


Bouland
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Do you stir the waterbath, so that the whole thing is at pretty much the same temperature?

And be sure to use a low-thermal-mass (responsive) thermometer. (So it 'keeps up' with the changing temperature of the water.)

Unfortunately, I don't have any pots large enough to fit a two gallon inner pot and still give me room to stir. So no. Looks like I need to invest in one.

With electric heating, you could use a sous-vide controller on the waterbath...  :smile:

Sous-vide controller ... riiiiiiiight. Next to my Wolf range and my walk-in fridge. :rolleyes:

Here's my tollbooth-sized San Francisco apartment kitchen.

The Fuzzy Chef

www.fuzzychef.org

Think globally, eat globally

San Francisco

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With electric heating, you could use a sous-vide controller on the waterbath...  :smile:

Sous-vide controller ... riiiiiiiight. Next to my Wolf range and my walk-in fridge. :rolleyes:

...

I was meaning something like this -

http://auberins.com/index.php?main_page=pr...&products_id=74

(scroll down for photo illustrating use with a rice cooker as the waterbath)

And if you check the sous-vide thread, you'll see that an aquarium 'bubbler' (for around $10) is recommended as a simple means of non-manual stirring of the waterbath.

"If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch ... you must first invent the universe." - Carl Sagan

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Seriously, I wasn't joking about the practice bit. It can be fun to try to get technology to solve this for you, but the most straightforward way is a pen, paper, thermometer, and a pot of refrigerated water (so it starts at the same temperature as your milk). I have one of those digital probe thermometers with the temperature alert for cooking meat: it's perfect. Take the cold water and pour it into your pan. Set your range burner to the lowest setting and put the thermometer in. Write down the time. When the thermometer beeps, see how long it took. Start over, next time using the next-highest setting on your stove. It should not take that many attempts to dial in on what setting on your stove brings cold water to temp in the appropriate number of minutes. It's a bit of a pain, but you only have to do it once for any given stove-cookware-water volume combination.

Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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Yes, that's what I suggested, Chris.

...

To practice, you can use water instead of milk in your inner pan. You'll pretty soon get an idea of what rate of heat supply maintains different temperatures and provides different rates of change ...

With electric heating, you could use a sous-vide controller on the waterbath...  :smile:

"If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch ... you must first invent the universe." - Carl Sagan

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i am making mozzarella for the second time (1st awful) the rennet i bot was from the supermarket .... when i read recipe they say use 1/2 ...do you think there are different size tablets ? trying to account for why it didn't seem to come together..looked more like ricotta and i more than doubled the heating and resting time

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One thing i do is to heat the milk very slowly over low heat. Best way for me to control it

I have come to prefer hot water baths in the sink--i.e., pot of milk in the sink surrounded by hot water, thermometer in the sink and one in the milk. Kinda like a really, really ghetto sous vide. I've also used rings of crushed aluminum around a stove element to keep a pan elevated up from the burner. Not aluminum foil on the burner itself, but used in a way that many woks are to elevate them from the burner.

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Has anyone ever used one of those wine refrigerators for aging cheese? They would seem to keep an ideal temperature, unlike my normal refrigerator, but I'm not sure about humidity and air circulation...

They work great. If there isn't enough humidity, add a bowel of salt water to the bottom, or wax yer cheese.

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...
With electric heating, you could use a sous-vide controller on the waterbath...  :smile:

Sous-vide controller ... riiiiiiiight. Next to my Wolf range and my walk-in fridge. :rolleyes:

...

I was meaning something like this -

http://auberins.com/index.php?main_page=pr...&products_id=74

(scroll down for photo illustrating use with a rice cooker as the waterbath)

And if you check the sous-vide thread, you'll see that an aquarium 'bubbler' (for around $10) is recommended as a simple means of non-manual stirring of the waterbath.

Take your pasteurized milk in a jug that is still sealed and place it under a slow stream from your tap at the temp you want to hit. Go and have a coffee or a beer. Come back, perfect temperature. Not as carbon friendly as I would like, but it probably uses less energy than baking a loaf of bread or drying your clothes in a drier.

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I bought a cheesemaking kit a month or so ago and have prodcuded one batch so far. I will be trying to make up a new batch of goats cheese this weekend, i write a blog with descriptions and photographs at cheeseathome.blogspot.com

My last batch had a slightly sour taste, i follwed the instructions exactly, the temperatures for setting (room temp) were observed and i sterilised everything thoroughly, does anyone have any suggestions what may be going wrong. I used vegetable rennet and a thick full cream Jersey milk.

Sour == lactose turning into lactic acid via fermentation. This is either good or bad, depending on what you want. If you want a less sour cheese, you have a couple options: reduce the amount of time between your make and the salting, though this will just make your 18 month loaf just as sour, but your 3 month much less so; wash your curd, i.e. when you are removing your whey, when you hit the half way/whey (heh) point, add an equal amount of 105F potable tap water for mesophillic or 125F for thermophillic then drain. You can repeat that a couple times, but I don't recommend more than twice.

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I bought a cheesemaking kit a month or so ago and have prodcuded one batch so far. I will be trying to make up a new batch of goats cheese this weekend, i write a blog with descriptions and photographs at cheeseathome.blogspot.com

My last batch had a slightly sour taste, i follwed the instructions exactly, the temperatures for setting (room temp) were observed and i sterilised everything thoroughly, does anyone have any suggestions what may be going wrong. I used vegetable rennet and a thick full cream Jersey milk.

I've taken refractometer readings of both raw goats milk and raw moocow milk, and currently at this time of year with these two different farms, goat milk has less lactose, hence less likely to become more sour.

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I've used a big spoonful of "live" (organic) yoghurt as a starter. Simple, cheap, and easy for a quick soft cheese. Makes a bland wensleydale-ish matured cheese.

This is great for thermophillic type cheeses, however the growth temperature for the cultures found in yogurt are ~15F higher (and closer to the 'danger zone') than mesophillic. My own personal opinion, don't use yogurt, use cultured butter milk. That way you can keep the temps a bit lower, it will mature a bit faster, and you can enjoy it earlier.

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Hello all,

I hope there's someone out there with experience making goat cheese (soft or chevre-style).....is it possible to make this at home without rennet? I've seen a few recipes floating out there that use mostly goat's milk, some buttermilk, but all include liquid or tablet rennet.

Please advise if it's not necessary and another coagulant (e.g. lemon juice, vinegar) can be used. I'd like to make cheese for a friend with dietary restrictions this weekend and am not sure I'd be able to get my hands on vegetarian rennet as quickly as I'd like.

Thanks!

Use rennet, vegetarian rennet in my experience is more consistent than animal rennet. Plus, I can't taste any off flavors. You can get rennet tabs from cheesemaking.com, or from many local home brew shops. Lemon juice or vinegar work for young cheeses, but if you add a bacterial culture which by definition will acidify your cheese it may get too sour.

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Folks,

I'm about to order rennet.  Does anyone have an opinion about Animal vs. Non-animal vs. GMO (I'm tempted to get it just for the un-PC value), in anything they've actually made?

My cheesemaking teacher came out fairly strongly in favor of animal rennet, although we used non-animal in the class.

Also, is there any value to the mozzarella culture which many cheesemaking suppliers sell?

Buy vegetarian rennet for your first ten loaves. Seriously, unless you are an anti plant person, use vegetarian rennet tabs until you understand your milk and pressing. Most home bread bakers don't need King Arthur and fresh yeast, most home brewers don't need Marris Otter and Wyeast, and most home cheese makers don't need organic milk and animal rennet.

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Chris,

I think that you'll find that relative humidity recommendations for cheese and charcuterie can be substantially different.  Humidity for cheese seems to need to be in the 80%-95% ball park, whereas for charcuterie, as you know, that will cause some significant mold issues, and the meat/sausage will not dry nearly as quickly as it should.

Best,

Alan

My hope was that keeping it at 75% would manage to do the trick for both. A little on the low side for cheese, but people have reported good success with that level for charcuterie. I could conceivably build the chamber as a two-compartment deal, with differing humidities, but I don't think I am going to be that ambitious.

The *only* time to store cheese and anything else in the same area is if you wax your cheese. And then you still run a risk of not developing flavor or just plain loosing it. Otherwise the humidity will destroy your cheese over the long run. I have a small wine fridge with two temp settings that works well for waxed cheeses, but unwaxed cheeses become checked and split in no time.

A regular fridge is one of the *worst* places to store pressed cheeses, as it is either:

* The wrong temp, so they don't develop flavor

* Too dry so they turn into plastic

* Too wet so they turn into mold machines

I'm in the process of experimenting with cheap ways to cellar cheese, but I gotta tell you if you want to cellar charcuterie, cheese, and fermented beverages, then I hope you have patience :)

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We recently did a wheel of Queso Fresco. It turned out great, and was ready to use the day after it was made:

gallery_58047_5582_31417.jpg

This was the makeshift press we used - aside from instability problems (it fell over dramatically a couple of times), it worked pretty well.

gallery_58047_5582_64183.jpg

The cheese has been surprisingly versatile (which is good, since we have a whole wheel). In addition to being very nice crumbled, it melts better than I would have expected and has worked really well in quesadillas. We're going to try it on a pizza next...

Food Blog: Menu In Progress

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We recently did a wheel of Queso Fresco. It turned out great, and was ready to use the day after it was made:

gallery_58047_5582_31417.jpg

This was the makeshift press we used - aside from instability problems (it fell over dramatically a couple of times), it worked pretty well.

gallery_58047_5582_64183.jpg

The cheese has been surprisingly versatile (which is good, since we have a whole wheel). In addition to being very nice crumbled, it melts better than I would have expected and has worked really well in quesadillas. We're going to try it on a pizza next...

that looks eerily similar to the first few presses I went through, but after many loaves falling over I went for this sorta thing Cheese Press. It is easier to center the weight and control the pressing, though in a pinch I have used pots, pans, and textbooks as well.

Here is the real sekret though, the thing that noone either knows or doesn't tell--to press cheese well you have to have a very small, very dense weight source. Water jugs are terrible, they fall over. Books are terrible as well, they don't enough weight. The *only* thing to do is either purchase freeweights like you would use for working out, or a serious press that can push a lot of weight.

Jugs of water or large weights fall over and make you adjust your weights at 3am, small heavy weights let you sleep through the night. Invest in good weights, it is worth it. p.s., they are cheap :)

Edited by jupe (log)

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...Both Bunton and Carroll recommend beginners conduct their first cheesemaking endeavors using standard-issue whole milk from the supermarket, though they caution against any milk that is ultra-pasteurized (the label will say so) because it will have difficulty coagulating...

Bunton and Carrol are fixtures in the home cheese making movement. If they didn't do what they did, I wouldn't be making cheese now. I have treeeemendous respect, so please understand that this small critique is just that, and probably related to the milk I can get.

Whole homogenized pasteurized milk is entirely unsuitable for home cheese making, in regards to cheddared and pressed hard cheeses. If you are a beginner, start with 1%, then after a few loaves that you have aged and tasted, go to 2%. Do not add cream, seriously go through the process. Making good cheese is at least about making bad cheese--failures are as important as recipes. And like brewing and baking bread, you should expect duds, as long as you are honest with yourself and do pre and post mortems you can become a fantastic cheese maker.

In fact, if you are making a pressed loaf of cheese, here is what you do:

* Follow all of Carrolls instructions, except the only milk you should use is skim

* After following the instructions and pressing loaf, try a bit yourself and give it to your dog for dinner :)

Basically all I am saying is that the process for preparing and pressing a loaf of cheese the first time won't be overwhelming. It's only through practice and *ahem* cheeseaday.blogspot.com and www.foodsci.uoguelph.ca/cheese/welcom.htm that you will as a maker you'll get through the challenges we all face.

Edited by jupe (log)

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Nice press! Here's our own DIY press, used to make goat goudas that come out remarkably well (especially when aged a year or 18 months).

gallery_44787_6536_437.jpg

Ooh, now *that* is what I'm talkin' about. However, I am gonna try to find some PVC pipe big enough that I can fit the weights on the press. I LOVE the pic though, and post your recipes if you can!!

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Nice press! Here's our own DIY press, used to make goat goudas that come out remarkably well (especially when aged a year or 18 months).

Ooh, now *that* is what I'm talkin' about. However, I am gonna try to find some PVC pipe big enough that I can fit the weights on the press. I LOVE the pic though, and post your recipes if you can!!

I love the epidemiology and microbiology books weighing in on yours! :biggrin:

My wife is really the cheesemaker. I am the gofer who is only grudgingly permitted to cut curds, monitor temps, assist in replacing whey when the curds are being heated, etc. Most of her recipes are modified versions from the Ricki Carroll book, although she's also pulled recipes in from elsewhere. She makes all of the fresh cheeses, along with an ash-coated mold-ripened goat, a goat feta, and the aforementioned gouda to die for.

One of the keys to our success is that we have a very good supplier for goat milk on the eastside in Seattle, and my wife will typically make the cheese immediately after milking. She often actually has wait for the milk to *cool* to the right temp, rather than heating it up.

In the "concentrated" foods that we make on a regular basis - cheese, butter, and wine - the ingredients that we start with seem to matter more than almost any other variation. (OK, OK, cultures, chemicals, and cleanliness also play some minor role...)

-- point pinto in no top pit

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In Cheese: Chemistry, Physics and Microbiology Vol. 2, I found the following information under the cheddar section--which I have summarized:

<snip>

Are both volumes of Cheese: Chemistry, Physics, and Microbiology recommended?

At about $250 per volume, the price is pretty steep. Fox also has a book called "Fundamentals of Cheese Science" that looks like it might be a more concise treatment of similar material. (And cheaper!) In our experience, very technical winemaking references are easy to come by, but we've not been able to find a good discussion of the subtleties of pH or other details along those lines, when it comes to cheesemaking.

-- point pinto in no top pit

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