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Know your Milk!!!

September 18, 2010

Just a quick update – I am constantly reminded how important it is to make sure that you know the quality of your ingredients in order to turn out a consistent product.  After a crazy week, I didn’t have time to run to Whole Foods and grab the milk that I usually work with.  Instead, I grabbed a gallon of milk from one of my local grocery stores. This isn’t the way I like to go about making cheese, but I was pressed for time and thought that I would make an exception just this once.   I made sure that it wasn’t ultra-pasteurized so I figured I would be good to go.  Not the case…. Once you bring the milk up to temp (80°-86° depending on your style) and then add the culture and diluted rennet, a cheese like this will set in about 12 hours if left at room temp or about 72°.  After 18 hours, my curd still resembles that of a watery yogurt with no hope in sight.  As frustrating as it is, this is a wash…  I will either need to buy this milk again and make some adjustments (adding NaCl maybe?) or I will make a trip to Whole Foods.  Needless to say, it is going to be more than a couple of days before I post pics of the process.

Lesson Learned…Know you Milk!!!  It is the most important ingredient in making cheese so make sure that it counts!!!

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. Laurie Marinone permalink
    September 18, 2010 11:16 am

    Aaron, I recently learned from a cheesemaker I took a class from that most grocery store milk is ultra-pasteurized, even if it’s not marked so. She was attempting to make a cheese prior to our class and grabbed milk from Cumberland Farms, only to have a hopeless mess on her hands, much like yours. She fed it to her chickens and pigs. You have to hunt pretty hard to find local milk (not necessarily raw) at your local grocery story (if it doesn’t have to travel far, or if it’s from a small farm they likely use the more old-fashioned slower/lower temp pasteurization), buy raw milk from farmstands (if you can in your state), or shop Whole Foods.

  2. Jessica permalink
    September 18, 2010 11:31 am

    Hi Aaron! Did you by chance grab a carton of ultra-pasteurized milk? Its not cheese-friendly.
    -Jessica

    • September 18, 2010 12:11 pm

      Thanks for the comments! I definitely made sure that it was pasteurized as opposed to ultra, but I didn’t know that some places would mark this incorrectly. I took a chance not having time to grab milk from Whole Foods or from my raw milk club, and it came back to haunt me!

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