This was the first time I made a stretched curd cheese. So far I had been making primarily brined cheese, feta-like; and also ricotta from the whey.
I followed the recipe practically to the letter, and all went well until step 6, ripening the curd. I gave it a lot of time, made sure it's not overheated (as that will kill the bacteria), checked for doneness at 4h and then again at 6h, but it wasn't ready. I actually have a pH-meter, and the pH never dropped as it should have done. At 6h it was 6.1, and sinece it was getting late I decided to let it rest at room temperature (73 degrees) overnight. The next morning, when it had ripened now for about 14h, the pH was still at 6.
I decided to go ahead and proceed to step 7 anyway. The curds did soften and were somewhat stretchy, but nowhere near looking like in the pictures. I ended up having to treat it as bread dough, rolling it on a cutting board and stretching as I rolled, folding it over itself and rolling again, twisting and braiding as I rolled as if I was making challah bread. The texture was very grainy and fibrous, imagine bread dough that had sand mixed in if you will.
Eventually I decided to start shaping it. That went OK, and even though I ended up with a top knot that was bigger than I had expected I was satisfied enough and put it in the brine after it cooled. It's currently in the brine and looking OK, will leave it there for 6h (as I want a harder, drier cheese) then hang it to dry.
I'm not sure what I did wrong and why the pH didn't drop as expected, oh well. I will definitely try it again.