Tips for Better Cheese

Cheesemaking Tips - Do's and Don'ts by The Beverage People

 

BASIC CHEESEMAKING TIPS: What To Do And What To Avoid

The Beverage People

 


 

Tips for Better Cheese


 

Sanitation

 

DO

Use iodophor or other food safe sanitizer for all equipment. Use of boiling water is okay.  For details about our sanitizers, review our Cleaning & Sanitizing 101.

DON'T

Avoid storing cheese in excessively warm conditions or places without air flow--- foreign molds may grow.

 


 

The Milk

 

DO

With either raw or pasteurized milk, use the freshest you can find. Storage is generally detrimental. Homogenized and nonhomogenized are both fine.

DON'T

Do not use ultra-pasteurized milk, it may not coagulate. Milk near the expiration date, or from cows in late lactation (generally November/December) may be problematic.

 


 

Adding Ingredients

 

DO

Dilute ingredients in non-chlorinated water. Stir them thoroughly into the milk with 20 bottom-to-top strokes each. Always use calcium chloride in pasturized milk and reduce starter culture additions in raw milk.

DON'T

Avoid adding a whole package of culture unless you are certain that is required. Don't use calcium chloride in raw milk. After rennet additions, don't add heat or stir excessively---you may shatter the weak curds.

 


 

Temperature Control

 

DO

Use a double boiler and calibrated thermometer when heating milk and maintaining set temperatures. Consider using a Sous Vide as a heat source during the curd production process.  Find a warm, safe place in your house for ripening cheeses. The top of the fridge, and the oven with the light on are common spots.

DON'T

When coagulating and acidifying cheeses, don't let them drop below 65 degrees F. Don't overheat the milk after culture addition or they may die. Don't direct heat with a thin-bottom pot. Don't wing it without a thermometer.

 


 

Stretching Curd (Pasta Filata)

 

DO

Maintain the hot water bath at 170 - 180 degrees F while stretching. Use neoprene coated gloves. Knead the hot curd until it is tacky like dough, then stretch. Cool in water bath for a softer texture.

DON'T

Don't try to stretch the curd before appropriately heating. Don't forget to salt the curd.

 


 

Recipes

 

DO

Use published authors like Mary Karlin and Gianaclis Caldwell. The Beverage People distributes free, tested recipes. Cheeseforum.org has a lot of recipes but from random sources. Follow ALL of a recipe's instructions. Little things matter

DON'T

Avoid internet recipes from untrusted sources. Be careful of recipes calling for single-use packages.

 


 

Advanced Cheesemaking

 

DO

Monitoring pH, controlling precise temperature and specific humidity levels are key to "affinage" and advanced cheeses.

DON'T

Don't take on aged cheeses until you have created an appropriate "cheese cave" with the necessary environment. The "cave" can be as simple as a box in a temperature stable cellar or a dorm fridge set to cellar temperatures.

 


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