Gail asked My cheddar cheese looked just fine while I was making it. But later, when it came out of the Ultimate Cheese Press, it looked like a sponge with lots of holes throughout. Why did this happen? And is this cheese safe to eat?
Example of early cheese blowing
Jerri’s answer This is called early cheese blowing. There are two reasons why it can happen.
One possible cause is coliform bacteria contamination. These pathogens can infect milk when sanitary conditions get compromised during milking or milk processing. You don’t want to risk getting sick, so THROW OUT THE CHEESE!
The second possibility is yeast contamination, which is most likely to happen when you’re baking fresh breads and making cheese in the kitchen at the same time. Again, I recommend you THROW OUT THE CHEESE!
The latter situation is easier to remedy. If you’re baking yeast breads while making cheese, add your lactic culture to the milk when it’s still cold, just prior to the first heating to start making cheese. This way, the lactic cheese culture will grow faster during the initial heating of the milk. If any yeast does get into the milk, it won’t be able to grow and ruin your cheese.
A customer asked Help! My mozzarella cheese won’t stretch!
Jerri’s answer Acidity is the key for the stretch in mozzarella. Not enough or too much acid will result in hard curd floating or disintegrating in the water. The pH of your slab needs to be between 5.0 and 5.2 for it to stretch well when kneaded in hot water.
And the ripening of your slab is very dependent upon the weather. It can over-ripen in hot weather, or under-ripen in colder weather. One trick to standardize your mozzarella making year round is to ripen your slabs in the refrigerator for 16 hours.
Would you like to try making mozzarella the old fashioned way at home? Our REAL Italian Mozzarella Kit makes cheese with authentic Old World flavor. The mesophilic and thermophilic cheese cultures we use to make our mozzarella are imported directly from Italy.
A customer asked: I followed the recipe perfectly, but my cheddar cheese came out dry, and it has a brittle texture. What did I do wrong?
Cheese Culture Sampler Kit
Jerri’s answer: There are three possibilities:
- You might have inadvertently added too much starter culture. Excess starter culture can lower the pH below the desired level. This higher acidity can dry out your cheese. Remember, always use the correct dose of starter culture. Don’t think that if a little is good, then more is better. This is not true for cheesemaking!
- The cooking time directions weren’t followed properly. If the recipe says to raise the temperature 1 degree every 5 to 7 minutes, don’t try to speed up the process so you can finish sooner. Always follow your recipe exactly as written.
- Stirring too vigorously during the early stages of cheesemaking (before the curds are properly formed) causes too much whey to be released. This results in a curd that’s drier than normal. So, take your time, be gentle, listen to calming music… Do whatever it takes to allow yourself to relax and enjoy the cheesemaking process. And always follow the recipe directions exactly.