[Sca-cooks] Cheese, a progress report

Kathleen Madsen kmadsen12000 at yahoo.com
Wed Sep 5 14:44:06 PDT 2007

Hi, Gunthar.

> The milk and cream were mixed and sat out to around
> room temperature
> then boiling water was added and this sat until it
> again reached room
> temp. After this the rennet was added and here is
> where the problem
> started. Nothing happened.  I waited and there was a
> bit of thickening
> but nowhere near the proper congealing. I added more
> rennet and
> waited. Nothing. More. Nothing. I finally did an old
> Farmer's Cheese
> trick and added about a tablespoon of distilled
> white vinegar. That did the
> trick and after about an hour the milk had developed
> very delicate curds.

You have run into a city-slicker problem, inconsistent
milk.  When I was using store-bought milk my rennet
would not work on the milk about 5 percent of the
time.  It's not because it's pasteurized or old,
rather what I and other attribute the non-coagulating
to is the use of antibiotics in the milk.  I've been
using raw milk since this past January and have not
experienced that problem.  Also, as the milk has been
pasteurized the curd set will be softer.  Generally
using a vinegar based coagulant will tighten them up a
bit more than a straight rennet-set will.  It sounds
to me like you had two problems working against you;
the lack of rennet set from something in the milk, and
the soft set from pasteurized milk.

> These were gently transferred to a layer of muslin
> lining a collander in
> the sink. The curds drained and were carefully
> squeezed of the whey for
> several hours with the cloth being changed as it got
> saturated.
> After a few hours a paper plate was sat on the
> cheese and a can of
> vegetables added for weight.

Here I would use a solid plate to help distribute the
weight more evenly.  I would also start playing a bit
with the amount of time the cheese sits in the cloth,
the longer it sits the more whey should be expelled
making it a bit easier to handle over time.

> I was told the cheese would be pretty thin and runny
> like brie but this has
> set rather firm and is more like queso blanco or
> even a mozzerella than 
> brie.

You have achieved a texture of a young brie, before it
begins to age.  The paste should be pretty smooth with
very little curd formation and after a few weeks
develop a bit of elasticity.

> The flavor is very light and delicate so I hope it
> absorbs a bit of salt and
> ages with a developing flavor. Still, it's a pretty
> good cheese, especially
> for a first effort and I'll be displaying it at
> Laurel's Prize Tourney next 
> weekend.


> Gunthar


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