The Curd firmness nemesis


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  • #5713 Reply

    Hello to all !! Excited to be here to learn and share experiences.
    I embarked into the home cheese making “boat” a couple of months ago and although I have now 12 cheeses aging every time I make cheese I always face the same issue, CURD Firmness.

    I get the curds to firm up alright but as soon as I start stirring them they break apart .. at the end of a 15′ stir I may have one or two pieces that resemble the initial curd shape…the rest is more like crumbles
    I have tried 7 different milk brands (most verified to be pasteurized at low temperature), even RAW MILK (with better success albeit NOT always even though the same process is used), I have used two different batches of rennet (liquid – single strength and used EXACTLY as per the instructions, calcium chloride, process (sanitation, clear break, cutting, resting, healing, times and temperatures ALL verified to be correct), I have followed MANY different recipes using many cultures, and the list goes on and on…

    I have to sort out the “best milk” and I think at least I get the curds to initially firm up quite alright but they have NO resistance to stirring (no matter how gentle). Some of the cheeses require over 45′ of stirring …at the end it looks like cottage cheese rather than curds.
    From what I gather, the initial shape should be kept throughout the stirring process whole the size of the curd shrinks but I find that to be simply impossible in my case.

    I find it dissapointing to have started a hobby with so much enthusiasm (and invested a fair amount of $$) only to end up with elusive results (at best). I cure my own meats, make charcuterie, salumi and cook.. in other words, I’m not new to the kitchen yet, cheesemaking although alluring seems superbly finicky.

    Does anybody have proven results on how to fix this issue? As stated I have checked, double checked and triple checked the entire process and ingredients, I have participated in forums where people even said “I could never find the “right” milk so I switched hobbies..”
    Is there only ONE milk in the world to make cheese with?

    I have read is not a matter of just adding more and more and more rennet as this also has its consequences.. I have been told by the cheesemaking supplies vendor that 60′ should be the maximum wait for coagulation unless the recipe calls for something more specific and waiting beyond that would bring a different set of problems.

    I try to keep the stir to a minimum yet respect the time allowed for it (i.e if the recipe calls for 25′ of stirring, I probably stir some during the 25′ but I do not stir all the time !!!

    I’m not ready to give up but find it more and more difficult to enjoy the process when I know is not going according to “plan” even if I do everything right.

    I hope some can shed some new light into this ever present problem….

    Thank you all !!!!!!

    #5716 Reply

    I would only use non homogenised milk and ensure it is fresh ( within a few days)
    Then no calcium chloride is needed. Your pic is very typical to a correct result . The curds Do not remain the same shape as when cut but shouldn’t break apart. They should be even in size.yours is not

    Improve the cutting to ensure even size curds and stir extremely slow at first. Leave for 5 min after cutting.
    I’m sure your curd result will still result in a lovely cheese but the sharpness and firmness may change
    Good luck

    #5719 Reply
    Tom Moran

    Ale, I don’t think your curds are so bad. They look like my curds from store bought milk and that will give you a weak curd. Small and weak curd does not predict a bad cheese. What I have found is that very good cheese can be made from milk that has a weak curd (raw or pasteurize) it just needs time to develop taste. I have found that really good farm milk will develop taste and texture quick and that processed milk will develop a milder taste but still great taste, latter than farm milk. Also, not all raw milk will give you big and solid curds. It doesn’t always happen that way. Give your cheese some time.

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