|(Q) Cheese cave - I am a nervous (soon to be first time) cheese maker at home. If I am successful at some of the beginner cheeses, I will want to try some that require a bit of aging. Could I possibly use a wine fridge as a small cheese cave? |
(A) Use Hygrometer - Yes, many of our customers have used a wine fridge for aging their cheese. One of the most important things is to make sure you can monitor the temperature and, especially, moisture accurately. A good hygrometer such as the one sold on our website will give you this information.
|(Q) Powdered milk - I have a lot of powered milk which I need to use up. I have successfully made yogurt with it, but would like to make other cheeses. Can I use powered milk to make cheese, even cottage cheese or cream cheese?|
(A) Non-Fat - Yes, you can, as long as it's non-fat powdered milk. Whole milk powder tends to go rancid on the storage shelf. You can add some cream to the milk when you make it up. Do realize, however, that due to the processing, it will never be quite the quality of fresh milk.
|(Q) Late lactation - I have been making goat cheese for over 5 years, using your chevre culture and have never had a problem. But, the last 5 batches I have made will not make a solid curd. |
I bought a batch of culture back in March and was making cheese once or twice a week until about 3 weeks ago. No problem. But then it started not making a solid curd. I tried letting it sit longer, but little improvement. I tried warming the milk to a lower temp (I am in Texas, so, HOT); no improvement.
Got on your website (cheesemaking.com) to see what I could find. It sounded like since my Alpine was late in her milking cycle, maybe I needed to add calcium chloride. Tried that last night following directions on the bottle (1/4 tsp in 1/4 c water) when beginning to heat the milk. Same results again this morning.
I did make yogurt last night from the same batch of milk. No problem. Turned out just like it should. Any ideas? Add rennet? The chevre packets I am using all arrived at the same time in a batch of 36. I have kept them in the freezer the entire time. And the first 15 or so worked just fine. HELP!
(A) Alkalinity factor - "Late lactation" is probably what is giving you the trouble. The other cultures all seem to have worked and you have kept them well, so, you can cross out cultures as one of the factors.
During late lactation, and especially in hot weather (more stress for the goat), the milk becomes more alkaline. Due to this, it requires more biological activity to acidify the milk to the point where it is ready to coagulate. Remember: this is a lactic cheese and totally dependent on acid development for coagulation.
You could try increasing the amount of culture you use by about 50% to see if that helps ... but at some point the milk become so alkaline that the culture cannot achieve the proper acidity.
Yogurt worked because it relies on a totally different process as well as utilizes very different proteins. It is not unexpected that this worked.
|(Q) Uniform texture - Recently, I made a Farmhouse Cheddar according to the directions in Home Cheese Making. When I cut it open after one month of aging, I found the texture closest to the outside of the cylinder to be relatively smooth and unified while the cheese closet to the center was crumbly. Why the difference and what should I have done differently to have a more consolidated texture throughout?|
(A) Even pressure - This is common when the initial pressing weight is too high, especially when the curd goes into the press with too much moisture. The surface curds become compressed and thus block the interior from releasing it's free moisture.
Always begin the press with lighter pressing and then gradually increase. That locked in moisture can then begin fermenting again and cause it to become more acid, which is the crumbly/granular character you see.
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