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Curd Nerd Newsletter Edition #26
G'day Curd Nerds. Have you ever had issues with your curds setting? Do they sometimes take too long or not set at all? Is it sloppy and fractures when trying to cut it? Are you puzzled by the cause of these issues? Well, this week's newsletter is for you!

Troubleshooting the Main Issue with Curds Not Setting!

Pasteurization is a process by which milk is heated to a specific temperature for a set period to kill harmful bacteria that can lead to diseases like as listeriosis, typhoid fever, tuberculosis, diphtheria and brucellosis. Its initial intention was to extend the life of perishable foodstuffs like milk, wine and fruit juice.

Unfortunately, this does introduce some complications for the home cheese maker. Pasteurisation damages some of the milk's constituents and destroys the good lactic bacterium. We need to add new lactic bacteria in the form of starter cultures to get the desired final flavour in our cheese.

It will also cause calcium precipitation so it is helpful to add calcium chloride to the milk as soon as it is warmed to cheesemaking temperature for a more effective curd set.

Also, modern pasteurisation temperatures are quite high which does further damage to the milk. The higher the pasteurisation temperature of the milk, the harder it is to get a good curd set.

So, to that end, I sourced four types of cow's milk from the local supermarket that had been heat-processed differently to check whether they were viable for home cheese making. Watch this week's video for the results. One of them surprised me!

4 Sanitization Secrets Every Home Cheesemaker Should Know

Cheese-making at home is fun and a rewarding hobby, so why would you want to spoil things by being lax with hygiene? Have you ever asked yourself these three questions?
  1. Why is my cheese looking bad?
  2. Why does my cheese have an off smell?
  3. Why do I feel sick after eating my cheese?
Well if you have ever thought this, then chances are that you need to be more diligent with your sanitisation techniques before and during your cheese-making process.
Let me share four simple rules that I use to sanitize my cheesemaking equipment before every session.

  1. Wash your hands! – Often we touch the milk, curds, and whey during the cheesemaking process, so we must ensure that our hands are thoroughly clean. Soap and water are the easiest ways to remove bacteria from our hands. Just make sure you get under your nails, clean under any rings that you cannot remove, and wash the back of your hands as well and up to your elbows. You would be surprised to find that many people don’t remember this simple step.
  2. Boiling – Boiling is a great way to kill bacteria that may be lurking on some of your equipment. At the start of each session, I fill my cheese-making pot with roughly 1 litre (1 qt) of tap water and place in my large stirring spoon, whisk, curd knife, bamboo mats, dairy thermometer, curd cutter, and cheesecloth. Then I bring the water to a boil and keep boiling for 15 minutes, not a minutes less.
  3. Sanitizing – A weak bleach (sodium hypochlorite) solution is the preferred method of sanitization for things that cannot be boiled. Other plastic items and your colander can either be soaked in a Milton solution made up by the instructions on the bottle, or in a weak household bleach solution. Mix up 40 ml (2 Tablespoons) of liquid household bleach (4% to 6% available chlorine) to four litres (1 gal) of potable tap water and soak all your equipment for 5 minutes. Remove and rinse well with cold potable water. You can also wipe down any work surfaces and your sink with this solution to ensure a clean environment.
  4. White Vinegar (5% acetic acid) – Alternatively, for a more eco-friendly method, you can fill a trigger bottle with neat white vinegar to spray your work surfaces and sinks if you do not wish to use bleach. You can also spray your hands with vinegar before handling any curd or pressed cheese to avoid mould and yeast contamination. Just be aware that vinegar is not as effective at killing anti-biotic resistant bacteria as a bleach solution is. This is okay, because most antibiotic-resistant bacteria are found in hospitals, and not your kitchen!
So when you start your cheese-making session with a clean area, hands, and tools, you stand a better chance of producing superior cheese. The last thing you want to do is risk the health of your friends or family.

Following these 4 sanitization secrets will put you one step closer to that perfect cheese!

Next week - Dry Jack Update

Next week is the update and maintenance of the Dry Jack cheese I made a month ago. It is maturing well and should be a remarkable cheese.

Product of the Month - MM100

We now have a new strain of starter culture available for you to purchase. We have limited stock, so be quick! It is a moderate acidifier with some gas and high diacetyl production.

MM100 contains specific strains of;
  • Lactococcus lactis subsp. lactis
  • Lactococcus lactis subsp. cremoris
  • Lactococcus lactis subsp. lactis biovar. diacetylactis

Mesophilic Culture MM100


A manageable 50-litre packet of MM100 Mesophilic culture suitable for Continental cheese types (Gouda, Edam, Leerdam and Samsoe) as well as soft ripened, and fresh (unripened) cheeses (Brie, Camembert, Havarti, Blue and Chevre) cheeses.

Dosage; Use 1/4 tsp. per 4 litres (1 gallon). 1/2 tsp. per 10 L (2.5 gal)

Quantity; Approx 10g

Buy now
Mesophilic culture MM100
If you have any questions about home cheesemaking, the best place to get them answered is during my weekly live stream "Ask the Cheeseman". Ask your questions in the chat and I will be more than happy to attempt to answer them for you.

Thanks for reading and don't forget that if you have any questions about cheese making or want to book some consultation time with me, just reply to this email and I'll get back to you promptly.

Yours in Cheese,
Gavin Webber
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