As we all know, one of the most important steps in cheese making is getting a good curd set up.
Without a good set up, most cheeses won’t ever become what they should be, and some won’t become anything much at all. Apart from pig or chook feed, or compost waste that is.
Using the suggested coagulation times in a cheese recipe is reasonably reliable for getting a set, but not overly precise in terms of getting the best set to achieve the ideal cheese profile.
Sure, you might end up with a Gouda after all your hard work, but does it have the texture and moisture that you know it should have? Do you have a cheese that could give the all those store bought wedges a run for their money.
If you’ve ever pressed a cheese and ended up with curd that has failed to knit together, you’ll know how disappointing this dilemma is. I certainly do!
The point of pressing your cheese is to not only expel the whey but it is also how the small curds are knitted together to form the smooth shape, texture and density of the cheese.
When the curds don’t knit properly you will get a range of results from creases, cracks and crevices throughout the cheese, or a complete catastrophe of curd that doesn’t form any kind of shape or mass and just falls apart.
So what causes a lack of knit with cheese curds? Read more
Here at Curd-Nerd I’ve mentioned Calcium Chloride a few times, mostly in relation to brine solutions, and you may have also seen it listed as an ingredient in the cheese recipe books you have.
What Is Calcium Chloride (CACI2)?
Calcium Chloride (CaCI2) is a salt solution, which is used in cheese making to restore the calcium balance of milk.
When Should You Use Calcium Chloride In Cheese Making
If you use store bought, homogenized and pasteurized milk for cheese making you will more than likely need to add Calcium Chloride to re-balance the calcium content of milk as the manufacturing processes of pasteurization, heating and rapidly cooling the milk, and homogenization decreases the amount of calcium in the milk and can affect the clotting properties.
So you’ve spent hours carefully making your cheese and now is the time to unwrap it and unveil it in all it’s glory.
But you find when you start to peel the cheese cloth away, the curd has stuck to it and no matter how cautiously you try to pull it away, the curd sticks and breaks away from the cheese mass. The cloths a mess, the cheese now has chunks out of it and you wonder what went wrong?