Cheese and bacteria!

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Bobfrance
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Cheese and bacteria!

Post by Bobfrance »

Have been reading up on making cheese a la 15th Century hit on problem which someone may be able to help.

The bacteria in milk is required to make cheese (other than cottage cheese or panir as Indians call it)
The bacteria are removed by pasteurisation unless you can get milk straight from the farm.
(Apparently you are advised not to get farm milk as there are bad, as well as good, bacteria hence need for pasteurisation)
Some oft eh commentators suggest you get bacteria suitable for the cheese you are making e.g. blue cheese, edam, camembert all of which are different
You then allow the bacteria to multiply and then add the rennet to produce the curds and whey.

Et voila le fromage!

My question surrounds the need for the types of bacteria and where they can be sourced if they are necessary?

Bob

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Kate Tiler
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Post by Kate Tiler »

As far as I understand it - having made simple 'cottage cheese' style cheeses from unpasturised milk in the cottage at Kentwell, farm bought unpasturised milk is the only way to get the good bacteria in your cheese! The problem arises when the milk is pasturised & zaps alls the good, cheese making bacteria, leaving it basically sterile. If you leave this pasturised milk out to curdle, what you will get are the very strong 'bad' bacteria instead of the 'good' bacteria which make cheese, because there is just an open door to them & you are much more likely to pick up these airborne than the rarer cheese strains.

I don't know if it is possible to start a cheese culture in the same way as you do with yoghurt? Drop a lump of cheddar in or stilton?! Or have a lump of stilton breathing heavily over your cheese cloths in the hope of catching something from it?

Cheese making is rather like very sophisticated germ warfare isn't it?!

Miel & TJ have made proper cheese & I'm sure Annis the poet is in the dairy at Kentwell so you'll get some sensible answers soon :)
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Bobfrance
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Thanks

Post by Bobfrance »

Have obtained some Rennet tablets which I will try and see what it makes without the bacteria culture

Thanks for the information
Bob

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Post by Louisa Gidney »

Commercial cheese starter can be bought in small quantities. Try googling for small holders supplies or Morlands goats cheese. Most dairy goat keepers make cheese. Katy Thear has a good book on the subject.

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Post by Mark GRaves »

Moorlands (http://www.cheesemaking.co.uk/) does various starter cultures mail order.

m.
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Post by Mark GRaves »

Moorlands (http://www.cheesemaking.co.uk/) does various starter cultures mail order.

m.
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Bobfrance
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Thanks

Post by Bobfrance »

I will try them

I may have found a supply of un pasteurised milk which will help but this is only useful for hard chessemaking which is difficult to do.
The hard cheese takes over three months and the bacteria are not a problem them.

Best wishes
Bob

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Post by Annis »

Kate pretty much said it all. Make sure you do keep the milk in a cold place ie the fridge!! Make sure you flavour the cheese!! Garlic and Chives is the best.

Hard cheese is fun to make, apparently various ways but i know the basics and it was resonable hard ish (or a hard soft cheese?!) after about four days methinks but it tasted revolting because there wasnt any mould/herbs. Hopefully, Ill try/force to get some made at the beginning of Kentwell main event and then have a look at the end. (as im there for all weekends)

Annis - master cheese maker! lol
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Post by Annis »

Something about bacteria (?)

We disinfect all vessels we use in the morning and give em a wash out at the end of the day.
We leave the cheese hanging in muslin on a wooden rail for three/four days so i suppose bacteria might attack it (?) well, some has turned lime green at times : p and then it is flavoured with unwashed herbs and fashioned probably with not exactly spottlessly clean hands (wiped upon a filthy apron after dunked in water with angleica) and so bacteria/germs probably get everywhere.

Havent a clue if that helps, i just like talking about cheese (and butter)

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Post by m300572 »

Annis, Oh Grande Fromage ( :lol:)

In your cheesemaking travels, do you have any idea when people started making hard cheese using the cheese presses which have a stone block the size of a tank trap as a weight - I found a couple of the blocks at the farm next to Arbor Lowe the other day and one of my colleagues asked me about dates. I assume they are 19/early 20 century but perhaps you or some of your cheesy chums (I mean this in the nicest possible sense) know in more detail.

Ta

Peter

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Post by craig1459 »

sara1459 wants to make cheese and butter in our LH camp. Some butter was made at the weekend but just in a bowl. No doubt my credit card details will soon be winging their way to Lord High Everything Else for a churn :lol:
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Post by Annis »

m300572 wrote:the cheese presses which have a stone block the size of a tank trap as a weight
Hmmm....unsure,I'm not a cheese equipment genious, but ill have a try, do you have a picture? Our presses at Kentwell are pretty basic. Clay thing with holes and the bottom edge are like the tops of castles (?) goes in and out sort of thing. and then we just stuck a stone from the garden on top.
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Post by sally »

strained yogurt cheese is a good one to do on site, the yogurtmaking process is bacteria based, just like cheesemaking, so you just tip plain yogurt into a scalded cloth and hang it up to drip overnight. Give it a stir in the morning and add herbs, effectively philadelphia type cheese. Its not as complicated of course as seperating curds and whey with rennet before starting, but it does give a useable cheese that looks great in the camp kitchen (hang the cloth in the cool, but if its where the smoke from teh fire reaches even better for the flavour)

You can 'unpasteurise' mik using a splash of cultured buttermilk from the healthfood shop apparently. Some of my cheesemaking books recommend that, though I havent tried it myself.

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Post by Annis »

hmph! too easy! lol
Probably a good one to do at home, but for a dairy!
Then again, is yoghurt authentic? if it isnt, can we wrap it in hessian?!

Annis x
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Post by m300572 »

HI Annis,

sorry, don't have a picture - the set up is basically two stout wooden uprights with a crossbar at the top. Centre of crossbar is a screw 'press' (more to lift the weight rather than to press as far as I can make out). Between the uprights is the large stone block - the blocks are about .75m cube, with a groove down the sides (allowing them to move up and down beteeen the uprights but not to fall out from between). The soft cheese is placed in wooden cylinders below the weight and pressure applied - I assume there is some form of plunger, a wooden disc or the like which fits in the top of the wooden cylinders over the soft cheese to press the whey out. There are a couple of either original or reconstructed ones outside farms (and a cheese factory near Garstang) in Lancashire and I have seen a few of the blocks in farmyards around the area - and the two at Arbor low which is near Bakewell in Derbyshire.

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Post by Annis »

I had a look on google and found a few there, you might be right, they could be victorian when i supposed more cheese was consumed (?!) as apparently gentry Tudors werent big consumers of dairy products. and victorians were probably less patient and more demanding of their cheese.
I could have a look at home tonight cos we have a few ye olde farm books etc etc.

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Post by m300572 »

apparently gentry Tudors werent big consumers of dairy products.
Presumably the peasantry ate cheese though.

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Post by Annis »

Yes they were. But we only make for Gentry and scoff the small amount of cheese left over. :D

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Post by Kate Tiler »

from what I can remember of my Kentwell 'all you ever wanted to know about Tudor cheese' induction, cheese was made mainly to preserve the milk produced in the spring by cattle, to eat in times when the herd weren't lactating. Salted it keeps better, the drier it is the better it keeps too.

It would have been eaten in the main by old folk & babies, rather than grownups. There were also implications for the treatment of the humours too - if you were phlemey & moist humoured you wouldn't have been advised to eat cheese.

But this is all tudorese heresay, I have no docs to prove this - I'm sure that Stuart Peachey has produced a book about it somewhere though!

this document has more on medicine, humours & cheese:

http://mh.bmjjournals.com/cgi/content/full/29/1/16

and there are some great Tudor food engravings here, though not cheese related!

http://io.uwinnipeg.ca/~morton/shakespe ... ngland.htm

sorry - edited to add the link :)
Last edited by Kate Tiler on Thu Apr 27, 2006 4:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by m300572 »

if you were phlemey & moist humoured you wouldn't have been advised to eat cheese.
Bleeeugh - that's me off cheese until the steroids start working then!!!!

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Post by Annis »

[/quote]Bleeeugh - that's me off cheese until the steroids start working then!!!![/quote]

Hee hee!

Annis x
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Post by Cat »

We've done a pretty good goat's milk soft cheese in the way that Sally reccommended. Needs to be full-fat milk, and to be quite fresh when you use it. The time we used it on the turn, it tasted cack. The good stuff was eaten with the honey-fermented blackberries mentioned elsewhere.
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Post by m300572 »

Hee hee!
Glad you find it amusing young woman - you don't have to share an office/home with me!! :shock: :lol: :lol:

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Post by Kate Tiler »

I've just been re-reading my collection of Foxfire books - all fascinating stuff based on a series of interviews with old-time appalacian mountain people, with their recipes, descriptions & memories of everything from how to build your own still, to killing & curing a hog.

I came across 3 descriptions with B&W pictures, of cheese making, including quite an interesting one that involves heating that produces a ready to eat cheese, which I thought would be suitable for campfire style cheese making.

The descriptions in the foxfire books are very evocative & make me want to rush out & live in the woods...

If anyone wants me to copy it, PM me.
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Post by Jenn »

According to my book - The Forgotten Arts and crafts by John Seymour he says that "the curds were packed inside a metal or wooden container with holes at the side or bottom, called a chessir. Weights were used to exert pressure on the cheese and these were operated by a lever. the cheese had to be pressed or at least a day ...spring and screw thread presses replaced lever presses in the late 19th cent"
The great advantage with hard cheese is that it keeps which is why they made it - it is however reasonably labour intensive and unlike making soft cheese there is more skill involve/careful observation of hygene etc so making it more expensive and it it came from abroad even more so - after all what did Pepys bury when he thought the fire was approaching - not his silver etc but his Parmesan

BigM

Post by BigM »

Dear Bob

What you need is a good starter culture if you want to do it without rennet.

Contrary to popular belief Pasteurization does not kill all the bacteria in milk. Often, the lactic acid bacteria (that you need for the cheese) will survive but in lower numbers. If you leave an unopened pint for a while you will get curds and whey and the bottle will 'blow'. This is caused by the lactic acid ((rennet (an 'artificial' rennin- acid taken from calf stomachs) does the same job)). So pasteurised milk will work.

Unpasteurised milk will have a larger bacterial load but may also contain harmful bacteria like coliforms, E.coli, Listeria etc, so quality, source, handling and the desired product are key to successful and safe use (Brie de maux is full of coliforms but this is considered normal).

As acids, even vinegar or lemon juice can be used to coagulate milk for cheese making.

Lactic starters are commercially available and allow the use of pasteurised milk without the hit-or-miss of hoping you have the right balance of surviving bacteria in your milk (sometimes other survivors can overwhealm the lactic acid bacteria and spoil your cheese making) Adding starter lets you start quickly and efficiently.

Starters are cheap. See the site below:

http://www.ascott-shop.com/item2586.htm

Lactic acid bacteria are very useful and allow us to make sour-dough bread and salami, among other things. It is interesting how dependent our ancestors were on microorganisms and how they managed to select the right ones by good husbandry and technique without even knowing they existed.

Mark

BigM

Post by BigM »

PS. just to clarify

Use either rennet or bacteria. They both do the same job (coagulation by acid) but the bacteria take longer.

M

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Post by DomT »

John Seymour

There were a lot of books pushed out on various crafts, 'the good life', etc etc under his name. All showed illustrations of the 'perfect' croft or small holding and encouraged lots of hard work and doing things the right way etc.

Visted the actual small holding and found it rough as rats and a bunch of girls doing all the work while someone lazed around drinking homebrew. Half the gleaming ideas from the books seemed to have been pure paper exercises. Still his reasearch was excellent and if you do as he said not as he did I'm sure you'll get good results.
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Post by PotBoy »

I just use buttermilk which can be bought from the supermarket. It's cheaper and easier to use than rennet which can go off fairly quickly. I have also found that it works much quicker.
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Sucess

Post by Bobfrance »

Well the first attempt has produced someithng like mozzarella cheese and tasted very good.

. The culture was taken from some un-pasteurised camembert (the remainder of which I enjoyed with some red wine and freshly baked bread!) and then some rennet.

Thanks for all the advice and helpfull information.

Bob

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