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In my previous post Milk Type Experiments – The Milk, I detailed six different milks I would use in an experiment to see which milk produces the best quality cheese.

I decided to stick to my standard white moulded camembert style cheese for this experiment, although I am feeling a hankering to branch out into rind washing soon after tasting some excellent Kernel Brewery washed Golden Cenarth on Thursday, courtesy of Mootown cheese!

Milk in vats

Milk in vats

I decanted each milk into an individual vat, each holding 2 litres of milk.  From top left, to bottom right: Ellie’s Dairy raw goat milk; St Helen’s Farm pasteurised goat milk; Hook & Son raw cow milk; Ivy House Farm pasteurised cow milk; Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference pasteurised cow milk; Sainsbury’s basic milk.

There is an immediate colour difference between the milks, with the creamy Ivy House Farm Jersey milk showing a striking yellow colour, whereas the others show just white.  The goat milk is a substantially more “clean” white than the Fresian-Holstein and Sainsbury’s milks.

Starting temperature & pH

Starting temperature & pH

Taking the pH of each of the milks, I noticed something quite strange.  Usually I would expect milks to be lightly acidic, however both Sainsbury’s milks had an almost neutral pH, both at 7.3.  I’m not sure why this is, but potentially the milks might contain some kind of acidity regulator to prevent it going off too quickly, giving it a longer shelf life.

Rennet syringes

Rennet syringes

After adding a small pinch of DVI starter and geotrichum candidum (now a new culture, the previous strain having been taken over by fluffy penicillum camembertii), and allowing to rest for 30 minutes, I added 0.04% rennet diluted in three times it’s volume of cold, clean water.

Renneting temperature & pH

Renneting temperature & pH

When the rennet was added, the pH of each of the milks were quite consistent, with even the previously neutral milk five and six from Sainsbury’s showing quite a large change towards acidity.

I anticipated from previous experiments into how much rennet to use that the set would occur in 90 minutes.  Identifying a clean break is something I’m still learning – usually I just stick my (clean) finger in, and check how it feels.  If it has some resistance, breaking cleanly as you move your finger upwards it has set successfully.

Ellie's raw goat milk set

Ellie's raw goat milk set

As expected, milk number one, Ellie’s raw goat milk gave a nice clean break (apologies for the shaky photo!).

St Helens pasteurised goat milk set

St Helen's pasteurised goat milk set

On the contrary, milk number two, St Helen’s pasteurised “lightly homogenized” was a complete disaster.  The milk had coagulated, but had hardly any structure.

Hook & Son raw milk set

Hook & Son raw milk set

Milk number three, the Hook & Son raw cow milk gave a good clean break.

Ivy House Farm set

Ivy House Farm set

Underneath a thin layer of yellow Jersey fat, milk number four, Ivy House Farm pasteurised milk gave an excellent set, probably the best of the bunch.

Taste the Difference Jersey milk set

Taste the Difference Jersey milk set

Milk number five, Taste the Difference Jersey milk gave a very good set.

Sainsbury's Basic whole milk set

Sainsbury's Basic whole milk set

Unsurprisingly, the homogenized milk number six, Sainsbury’s Basic whole milk gave a weak curd, but was still usable, unlike the St Helen’s “lightly homogenized” goat milk.

It was at this stage that I unfortunately dropped my pH meter.  As it was making it’s way safely towards the soft carpeted floor, I decided to try and catch it, which caused it to fly off in another direction, hitting the wall causing the display to start acting weirdly, which unfortunately means there were no further pH readings.  It’s actually ended up being quite a good excuse to buy a new pH meter, with higher resolution … not that I broke it on purpose of course!

Curds ladelled out

Curds ladelled out

The curds were ladelled out into moulds without cutting.  There were two batches of six, side by side, representing each of the milks.  Since milk number two, St Helen’s goat milk didn’t have enough structure to stay within the moulds, I decided to use some of the leftover curd from other batches to make a mixture of curd, including one with a mixture of Ellie’s raw goat milk and Ivy House Farm milk, which I thought might be interesting due to the different colours of the curd.

Curd draining

Curd draining

The curd was left to drain overnight in 18C @ 75% humidity.  I was quite concerned that milk number six, Sainsbury’s Basic might not make it through the night, since there was significant leakage due to the weak curd.  The picture above shows the Sainsbury’s Basic on the left, compared with Ivy House Farm (middle) and Taste the Difference (right).

At this point the cheeses were ready to salt, at a rate of 2.8% based on my previous experiments on how much salt to use.

Jersey / goat curd cross

Jersey / goat curd cross

I won’t go through how each of the drained curds looked, other than a the two notables.  The mix of Ivy House Farm Jersey and Ellie’s Dairy raw goat milk looked immense!  I’m really excited to see how it turns out, and whether the yellow and white line persists through to the final cheese.

Contaminated curd

Contaminated curd

Unfortunately milk number three, Hook & Son raw cow milk didn’t make it in either of the two batches.  The curd was very bubbly and weak, which I’ve encountered in the past with contaminated milk.  I’m not sure exactly what caused this, as all milks were treated in the same way, but unfortunately it means the raw cow milk cheeses could play no further part in the experiment.

Curd yield of different milks

Curd yield of different milks

Curd yield seemed higher amongst the cow milks which was quite surprising, since I’d always read that goat milk had a higher solid content and would give a better yield.  Note that milk number two batch one is the Jersey / goat cross, and batch two is milk number five, Taste the Difference Jersey milk – this was due to the real milk number two, St Helen’s goat, not forming a usable curd.

Salted cheese

Salted cheese

Once salted, the cheeses were left to dry for a couple of days, flipping twice a day. Milk number six, Sainsbury’s Basic had to be flipped quite carefully, as the curd remained quite weak throughout the drying process.  They were then placed in my homemade cheese cave for a couple of weeks for the moulds to grow.

Cheese tasting will be some time this week when i’ll post the results!

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