Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Another Day

The curds have been put into the mold.  This time around the whole mix was just a lot more creamy rather than "curdy."  At first the cheese was squeezing out from the punctures.  Eventually clear"ish" whey was coming out, though much more slowly.  Now we wait another 18-24 hours!

Curds and Whey

The curd is very moist and the whey flows right out.
It hung in the butter muslin for 18-24 hours
In the morning I had to raise it up because the level of the whey was touching the pouch.  As I was filling the pouch, I thought how much it was like the goat skin pouch that our ancestors used when they discovered how to make cheese.

Round Two

I started round two.  This time I used whole pasteurized cow milk.  I did not document the heating process because it is the same as the goat's milk.  
I put this batch in a glass bowl hoping it would be easier to see.  This is the "cake" of curds floating in the whey.
The only alteration is that the website stated that with highly heated milk (i.e. pasteurization) curds may be softer and less formed.  This requires butter muslin to strain some of the whey out before putting the cheese in the molds.  This was entirely accurate.
The Butter Muslin Pouch
It has to be sterilized before using.
I am having technical difficulties so I will continue in another post.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Is This Normal?

So it has been a week and a day since I removed my cheese from the mold.  Well sort of.  I have removed it from the plastic mold, but there are other molds that have made their home on my cheese.
According to the directions, "The cheese can now be taken from the molds and dried off for another day.Note the fan in the photo below which is set on low to provide enough air movement to further dry off the surfaces. The surface can be left as is to allow natural molds to develop"  Then there is a lovely photo of a block of cheese with milky white mold on it, it looks very pleasant and rustic.
This is from the website.  Mine looks nothing like this. 
I am not sure if there are more than one type of mold that can grow or if I have done something horribly wrong.  My instructor Roy assured me that if they were bad microbes it would smell foul.  It is not foul smelling at all, just musty/moldy. 

The black mold is very soft and velvety.  I am not going to cut into it until lab day, but I am more than just a little bit afraid to test it.  Luckily I have a second batch that will be fresh.

Waiting and Salting

The cheese put off a lot of liquid whey.  That would have been a great thing to document.  Maybe I'll so that on the next round!

Apparently I was in a rush because I also did not take pictures of the salting, but I followed directions as stated on the website recipe.

 "The curd now needs to drain and consolidate in the forms for another 24 hours before turning and salting."
 It was not specified to cover the cheese, but it just made me feel better eliminating the possibility of small winged forms of protein having access to the cheese.
This picture is taken before I got to the point of salting.  The curds were moist and not cohesive. Can you see the small amount of whey at the base of the photo?  It had slowed down quite a bit at this point.

Houston We Have Lift Off!

Well, I am shocked that in my crazy household the cheese pot was left nearly untouched.  After leaving it for 24 hours I opened it up and wonder of wonders the curds had separated from the whey!

"The primary indication for proper curd development is the observation of clear whey beginning to rise. 

The first indication will be small droplets of whey forming on the surface, next you will see small puddles forming as the whey rises, and finally you will see a thin layer of whey over the entire curd mass. You may even note the curd pulling away from the vat edges or forming cracks. It is now ready to cut. Note the photos above.
If your curd does not seem to be set within this time frame, you should let it continue to sit quietly. This may take as much as 36-48 hours for some milks and during some seasons.
Smell & Taste the milk again and note the pronounced acid character. Using your senses here will aid in becoming a better cheese maker." http://www.cheesemaking.com/LacticChz.html

The website suggested to sample the curds and note the new acidity.  I did, with a bit of trepidation, but they were good.  Definitely not sweet anymore, slightly acidic, and very mild like cottage cheese.

"If using a very fresh farm milk or a milk that we know forms a good curd (pasteurized at normal time/temperature and below 172F) we can simply ladle the curds directly to the forms for draining."
The curd looks somewhat unremarkable.  Kind of like extra thick greek yogurt.
I used this fancy, custom made mold for my curds.
"The curd now needs to drain and consolidate in the forms for another 24 hours before turning and salting."
More to come!

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Day One

"Begin by heating the milk to 86F (30C). You do this by placing the milk in a pot or sink of very warm water. If you do this in a pot on the stove make sure you heat the milk slowly and stir it well as it heats."

I initially started with the jar in a pot of water on the stove.  I also only have one mold so I cut the recipe in half.
I decided that trying to work with a narrow mouth jar would cause more problems so I switched to a 2 quart pan.
"Once the milk is at 86F the culture can be added. To prevent the powder from caking and sinking in clumps, sprinkle the powder over the surface of the milk and then allow about 2 minutes for the powder to re-hydrate before stirring it in." 
I forgot to take a picture of the culture but it looks kind of like salt but more creamy white and granular than white and granular.
"If using the Buttermilk culture you will need to add about 2 drops of rennet to a gallon of milk."
With one quart I had to use about a half of a drop.  There is a proper way to calculate this, but I just winged/wong it.
The rennet has an unusual smell.  Not pleasant, but not disgusting either.
I could tell the rennet was working.  This picture isn't very good but can you see the little edges that are separating?

" Smell & Taste the sweet milk at this point !"  I did and it pretty much tasted like milk.  Sweet like the instructions mentioned.
"The milk now needs to sit quiet for about 16-24 hours while the culture works and the acidity coagulates the curd. The thermal mass of this milk should keep it warm during this period. It is normal if the temperature drops to room temperature during this time but do keep it between 68-72F otherwise acid development and coagulation may slow down."
Now we wait!