help? 'tough' mozzarella?

Discussion in 'Dairy' started by cathleenc, Mar 8, 2010.

  1. cathleenc

    cathleenc Well-Known Member Supporter

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    What is causing my mozzarella to be tough? How can I get the melt-in-your-mouth tenderness of store-bought fresh mozzarella?

    I finally have succeeded with making mozzarella the 'long' way, no citric acid no microwave no shortcuts. First batch - temps got away from me and it was hard and tough but I figured the too high temps were the cause. Second batch - I had those temps down perfectly! Cheese is much better, but still not light and 'melty', has a tougher rind too.

    any ideas why?

    I brined both batches for 2.5 hours after firming the hot cheese in ice water.

    thanks!
    Cathy
     
  2. cmharris6002

    cmharris6002 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    If you post your recipe I can help you troubleshoot :)
     

  3. cathleenc

    cathleenc Well-Known Member Supporter

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    from '200 Easy Homemade Cheese Recipes' by Debra Amrein-Boyes

    3.5 gallons whole raw milk
    (our cow tested at 6.1% fat & 4.1% protein) last month
    1/4 tsp thermophilic culture (LH 71)
    1/4 tsp calcium chloride
    1/4 tsp liquid rennet (using animal rennet)
    cool 18% saturated salt brine
    (I added a small small sprinkling of LP 400 lipase)

    1) warm milk to 92 degrees, sprinkle culture on top, let culture rehydrate for 5 minutes, stir in, let milk culture for 45 minutes.
    2) add calcium chloride & rennet, each individually diluted in 1/4 cup cool water, stir in, let set for 1 hr till firm curd forms.
    3) cut curd, let set for 5 minutes to rest.
    4) begin heating cut curd, over course of 1/2 hour, till it reaches 102 degrees, stirring gently. Do not heat too quickly. Turn off heat and let sit for an additional 15 minutes, stirring gently to prevent curds from matting.
    5) drain whey, let curds set for 2-3 hours in bottom of pot, kept at 102 degrees, flipping curd mat from time to time.
    6) cut curds into 1" cubes on cutting board.
    7) put curds into stainless steel bowl, cover with water heated to 168 degrees.
    8) using heat resistant gloves, form large ball from curd cubes. When ball is firm, remove from water and begin stretching and pulling it untill cheese is smooth and shiney.
    9) immerse cheese into cold ice water to firm
    10) brine chilled cheese in brine for 2-3 hours, turning several times.

    my thought about what I could be doing wrong:
    - when I had the curd in hot water to stretch I used a pot directly over a low flame to keep the temp up. Maybe the temp got too hot in direct contact on the bottom of the pot?

    -if that was the problem, then how do you keep the water hot enough to melt/stretch/soften the cheese?

    - I lost very little cream in the stretching process. The water did get opaque - but not as opaque as other attempts and the cream did not literally ooze out when being worked. I tried very hard to be gentle during this step.

    ideas? suggestions?

    thank you!
     
  4. cmharris6002

    cmharris6002 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Do you have a pH meter? My guess is that you did not develop enough acidity. I have used this recipe myself and never quite reached 5.0. If you have Tim Smith's book, his recipe worked well for me, but it still took way longer than 2-3 hours to reach 5.0. From my experience, I find this recipe too low on culture for such an acid loving cheese. When working with these cheeses 1/4t per gallon works much better.

    But what works really well is to cheat a little :) You can use four gallons of milk, 2 gallons warm and two gallons cold. Add 1/4t Thermo and 1/4t Meso (or 1/2t thermo but I like to use both) to the warm milk, ripen for an hour. Add 2t citric diluted in 1/4c cool water to the cold milk, combine warm and cold milk. Bring the temp up to 92F and proceed with the recipe as written. It is just a little cheat and if will improve your texture by far!!

    Christy
     
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2010
  5. cathleenc

    cathleenc Well-Known Member Supporter

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    will try that next week, thank you!

    what is the name of Tim Harris's book?

    no ph meter, no wet bulb hygrometer yet. Still on my wish list. There is a highly successful artisinal cheesemaker within 3 miles of our house - I called and asked for help/advice. He tolerated my call but pretty quickly cut me off, telling me to get those two tools, master them, use them for 6 months, then feel free to call him back. He told me which ones to buy and where to buy them. I'm hoping they prove to be the things that help jump my cheesemaking to the next step!

    Thank you, Christy. I really appreciate your generous sharing of knowledge here.
     
  6. cmharris6002

    cmharris6002 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    It's 'Making Artisan Cheese' by Tim Smith.

    What pH meter is he making you buy? I have an ExStik waterproof meter, I love it! I don't have a wet bulb hygrometer. It would be fun to have one but I can honestly say, I have never needed one.

    I sure wish you lived closer to me! I don't have any cheese making buddies around here, just cheese eaters :grin:
     
  7. cathleenc

    cathleenc Well-Known Member Supporter

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    He told me to buy the exact ph meter you have. See, we all knew you have good taste. He makes these aged Tomme cheese that sell for mega bucks and are real works of art - has a real cheese cave and everything. Told me to get the hygrometer when I complained about the b.linens 'appearing' in my wine cooler/cave, said digital temp/moisture thingies work well for the temps but not the moisture levels. Said I probably had close to 90% humidity if I had b.linens showing up, uninvited - use the hygrometer and dump the waxing to move up a 'cheese notch.'

    I wish you were closer too! I seem to live in the center of cheesemaking but non-professionals are non-tolerated. lol. I'd love to watch technique while eating your cheese. :)
     
  8. madness

    madness Well-Known Member

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    Is this the pH meter you guys are talking about?

    http://www.amazon.com/Extech-PH100-ExStik-Waterproof-Meter/dp/B00023RYQ8

    I REALLY want one and I think I've finally worked myself up to spending that much money as the season of way-too-much-milk approaches.

    And how on earth do you have 90% humidity!??! I STRUGGLE to keep mine above 50%. How is your cheese cave setup?
     
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2010
  9. cmharris6002

    cmharris6002 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Yes, that is the meter!! :thumb:

    I prefer 55F and 80-85% humidity. My cave is a refrigerator with an override. Inside I have a digital thermostat/humidistat ($7.00 at WalMart) I maintain humidity with a 9X13 ss pan of water and a hand towel as a wick.
     
  10. madness

    madness Well-Known Member

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    Grrr! It sounds so simple to get the the humidity up (I use a similar digital meter for the humidity) but I can have several sopping wet rags with pans of water and the level gets to about 75% and is BONE DRY the next day. I just want to be able to have the humidity stay near a good value for a few days in a row! My fridge runs a bit cooler - between 45 and 50. Maybe that's a big difference?
     
  11. cmharris6002

    cmharris6002 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    It could be the difference in temps. Mine has quite a few cheeses in it, that might help. Does yours have a fan? Mine doesn't, I have to open the door every day for good air exchange. I saw a set up once where a wet sheet of muslin was hung down the back of the refrigerator into a pan of water. This would give you a lot more wick. If my humidity gets to 90% I'll start seeing fuzzies on my natural rinds :eek:

    Christy
     
  12. cathleenc

    cathleenc Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Christy, I tried the 'tweak' - much much better flavor! texture is improved, lighter and less dense. Not as fluffy and open as the stuff in the stores but greatly improved.

    thank you!
     
  13. cmharris6002

    cmharris6002 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    More acidity will give you more stretch, more stretch equals a lighter texture.
    From your recipe,
    You would be surprised how much longer you can go at this stage. I start my Mozz right after morning milking. I let half of my milk sit at room temp for an hour (freshly drawn milk has antibacterial qualities that will compete with the culture). Then I add the culture and wait an hour. I add the citric to the cold milk etc. and I don't stretch the curd until after dinner.

    If you pull and fold over and over you will have a ball of cheese that looks kind of like a ball of yarn. Put the ball into the 170F water then take it out and reshape into a smooth ball.

    Playing around with it until it is just the way you want it is the fun part :sing:

    Christy
     
  14. cathleenc

    cathleenc Well-Known Member Supporter

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    alrighty, more questions for Christy (an anyone else who wants to join in!)"

    1) letting the curds sit for longer than 2-3 hours: are you still holding them at 102 degrees if you let them sit for longer?

    2) when I used your 'tweak', Christy, I immediately noticed more oozing of cream, both in the holding pot and in the hot water dunk. Is this okay?

    3) how do you personally cut the curds (size/shape) and how the heck do you retrieve it all from opaque hot water? This part of the process drives me nuts and I could benefit from less frustration when dealing with 168 degree cheese/water.

    4) about how long, in terms of time, are you stretching it? I bet I could do much better here and some guidance would be really encouraging.

    thanks again!
     
  15. darbyfamily

    darbyfamily Well-Known Member

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    I am curious about the recipe. I've made mozzarella many times and all I've ever needed was citric acid and rennet and salt.

    I never use calcium chloride unless I am using grocery store milk... and the culture and lipase are not necessary with mozz cheese.

    really, I've probably done this more than 50 times *shrug* I guess I go for the "less is more" mentality ;) the less stuff I have to add to it, the better it is.
     
  16. cmharris6002

    cmharris6002 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Yes, when you get your pH meter you will know it is ready when you reach pH5.0

    You might be cutting your curd too soon, but an hour should be plenty long enough... For Mozz you'll want to see a slight shrinking of the curd mass and clear whey around the edges.

    I cut 1" curds, set 10-15 min, stir while increasing heat to 102 for a 1/2hr, stir and maintain temp for 1/2hr, drain into ss colander, set colander over the pot with the whey, heat the whey so that the curd stays warm. When it is ready I cut it into slabs and place into a ss bowl, cover the slabs with 170-180F water then stretch. I keep a pot of hot water on the stove to add back to the bowl when the water starts to cool.

    To stretch, I'll pick up a slab and squeeze and start to pull then put it back in the water. Once all of the slabs are started I'll go back and see if they are ready to stretch. Once I can pull it real long I just keep pulling and folding and pulling :) Then I roll it into a ball, put the ball in hot water take it out, smooth it out and put it in the brine.

    I am having company this week end but I will try to post pics next time I make it.

    Christy
     
  17. cathleenc

    cathleenc Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Christy is clearly the teacher here.... and for me, the citric acid version of mozzarella was adequate - the longer version has better flavor and texture, imo. The culture(s) really do wonderful things for flavor.

    I guess it all comes down to what goals you have for your own cheesemaking. I like trying new methods and approaches and finding the one that best suits our household's needs, but before deciding I've found it I need to try almost every variation. What that usually translates into is finally mastering one thing and then never making it again because I'm on to the new challenge. lol.
     
  18. cmharris6002

    cmharris6002 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Sorry darbyfamily, I didn't see that you had posted before me.

    I don't use CaCl and I don't add lipase in Mozz either. That is really a matter of preference I suppose.

    Personally, I wouldn't bother to make Mozz without a culture though. I have made it both ways and prefer the flavor and texture when I use culture. The citric I like to use when I want my Mozz done by late afternoon but I don't always use it and it is about half the amount that most citric Mozz recipes call for. This gives it enough time to let the flavor develop.

    I agree so much with this Cathy :)
    Christy
     
  19. cmharris6002

    cmharris6002 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I got some pics for you today Cathy, I hope they help.

    10:55am Heated 1 gallon to 92F added 1/4t Thermo

    11:55am Added 1tea diluted citric acid to 1 gallon of cold milk, combined warm cultured milk with cold acidified milk, brought temp up to 95F

    12:05pm added 1/2tea diluted animal rennet temp 95F pH6.05

    1:05pm cut curd, let rest for 15min

    Heat to 105F in 30min stir to prevent matting, maintain temp for 30min,

    2:00pm drain into colander, maintain temp by placing colander over the warm whey
    [​IMG]

    2:30pm Flip curd every half hour
    [​IMG]

    7:30pm pH 5.25 cut into slabs
    [​IMG]

    Cover slabs with 180F water
    [​IMG]

    Stretch curd
    [​IMG]

    After lots of stretching, when it starts to cool, wind into a ball
    [​IMG]

    Submerge ball into hot water smooth and reshape
    [​IMG]

    Place in cold brine
    [​IMG]
     
  20. cmharris6002

    cmharris6002 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    The cut side is smooth so I tore off a piece so you can see the light stringy texture.
    [​IMG]