Monday, July 11, 2011

Tips to Start With

Before I get into anything else, I want to share three important tips I learned.

1)  Sterilize, sterilize, sterilize!  They are not kidding when the recipes say that everything that touches the milk or cheese, especially at the very beginning of the process, must be sterilized.  I have yet to introduce "bad" bacteria, but pictures on the web of what can happen will convince anyone that this is important.

2)  Some say you can use store bought milk, which is both pasteurized and homogenized.  I have found that the absolute best milk for cheese is pasteurized, but NOT homogenized.  It gives a cleaner "break" when cutting the curds, and the curds set up better.  Calcium chloride added to store bought milk is supposed to overcome this.  I found that it helps, but it is no substitute for using non-homogenized milk.  So pay extra and get it!

3)  Holding the milk at temperature for the time indicated is important, even for juustoa.  Also, holding the curd at temperature for the time indicated before cutting the curd is important.

The trick to making my first successful juustoa was discovering that I needed to hold the milk at 90F for an hour, and then after the addition of the rennet, holding the curd at 90F for almost an hour before cutting the curd did the trick.  It worked even better when I used non-homogenized milk.  None of my juustoa recipes said to do this.  I learned this by reading about making other cheeses.   I applied these steps to juustoa and voila!  Get a good thermometer, use it, and be patient!

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