Monday, October 18, 2010

How to Make a Mesophilic Starter Culture

Sometimes a cheese recipe will give you the option of using a starter culture, rather than a direct-set starter. Here is how you do it!

  • Sterilize a clean 1 litre mason jar and lid in boiling water for 5 min. Cool, then fill jar with fresh skim milk leaving a ½ inch head space. Secure lid firmly into jar.
  • Place the jar into canning pot and fill with water to the same levels as the milk in the jar.
  • Bring the pot to a rolling boil and hold for 30 mn
  • Remove jar of sterile milk carefully from the canning pot and allow to cool to 20-22 C or 72 F. To check if the milk in the jar is adequately cooled, hold the jar next to your cheek and it should feel tepid or just slightly warm. It takes about 6-8 hrs after removing from hot water bath.
  • Innoculate the sterile milk by adding 3/8 tsp of the freeze dried mesophilic starter culture to the 1 litre mason jar of sterile milk. Sprinkle the culture evenly on the surface of the milk and quickly re-secure the lid. Allow the culture to dissolve for 2 mn and gently agitate the culture into the milk until fully dispersed. To ensure the culture is adequately mixed, look at the bottom of the mason jar to see if there is any yellow granules. If so, continue to rock the jar until they have disappeared, as this represents culture powder that has not dissolved into the milk.
  • Place the jar in a warm place where the temp. is stable at 72 F or 22 C, up as high as 77 F or 25 C. Keep it there for 12-24 hrs until the milk has thickened. The most ideal location is in the cupboard over the refrigerator, the jar wrapped in a hand towel.
  • After 12 hrs from the time of innoculation, check to see if the milk has coagulated or thickened. This usually takes about 16 hrs under favorable conditions but it can be sooner if the temperature is warmer. When the culture has the consistency of a good firm yoghurt you have reach the coagulation point.
  • Chill the culture immediately by placing the jar in the fridge. It will keep as a fresh active culture for 3-4 wks. The fresher your culture the better your cheesemaking results. The culture can be used for cheesmaking right after the coagulation point is reached. 10 grams of mesophilic culture can be made into 10 litres of mother culture. Do not freeze your prepared culture!!!
  • Keep the unused portion of your culture package in the freezer where it will remain active for 3 years.
  • It is not necessary to prepare a culture in order to make cheese. The freeze dried cultures can also be used as a direct set culture at the recommended rate of the recipe. You can prepare cheese by adding the powder into your cheese pot or vat for direct inoculation.
  • The above procedure can be used to prepare mesophilic and aroma cultures only.

information from Glengarry Cheesemaking Co. 

Friday, October 1, 2010

October's Cheesy Challenge - Greek Island Mizithra

Greek Island Mizithra
adapted from 200 Easy Homemade Cheese Recipes

3 quarts whole milk
1 tbsp pickling (canning) or kosher salt
½ tsp liquid rennet

Sterilize all equipment.
In a large stainless steel pot, heat milk gently to 90°F, stirring gently to prevent scorching.
Remove from heat and stir in salt

Dilute rennet in ¼ cup cool water. Add to milk and, using an up-and-down motion, draw rennet down into milk until well blended. Cover and set aside at room temperature for 30 minutes to an hour, or until a firm curd has formed.

Using a whisk, gently break up curd, stirring until curd pieces are approximately ½ inch in size. Let stand for 2-3 minutes. Using skimmer, stir gently for 5 minutes.

Gently pour curd into a cloth-lined colander and let drain for 1 hour. Scrape cheese into center of cloth. Gather the four corners of the cloth together and tie to create a bag. Hang the bag and let drain over a bowl or the sink for another 5 hours at room temperature. Place a colander in a bowl; place bag in the colander and let drain in the refirgerator for another 12 hours. Twist the cloth tighter from time to time to aid draining.

Remove cheese from cloth and place in a bowl. Store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

There you have it! October's cheesy challenge. Here is a link to the book if you wish, you can use the recipe we provided or one of your choosing. There are many variations of Mizithra.

Link up to the October linky when you have some great cheese to share!

Want to suggest recipes for Forging Fromage? Just let us know! 
email us at forgingfromage at live dot com

How are your colby and cheddar doing? Mine are still hanging out, suffering benign neglect in my beer fridge. The colby should be ready soon!

Link up your October forges HERE!

Hey Everybody!! This is the place to link up anything you forge during the month of October! Can't wait to see what everybody comes up with!!

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