Cheesemaking Lab Data: Group D

Group D: Astrid Walter, Brendan Glenn, Lucy Neuman, Wendy Erickson

Starting time: 2:57 PM

Starting values:

  • 3.86kg milk
  • 1/4 cup vinegar, 2 cups water
  • 1 tab rennet, 1/4 cup water

Time 0: Milk added to cast-iron pot, mixed slowly with vinegar-water mixture, stirred. Strong wind

3 minutes: Fuel log added to fire (mixed hardwood burning in raised metal firepit). Pot placed on standing iron grate over fire. Rennet dissolved in 1/4 cup water

5 minutes: Milk is solid white in color, temperature measured at 70 degrees. Fuel log added to fire

8 minutes: Milk is 80 degrees, oil visibly swirling on surface. Ash and splinters are blown into the pot by the wind

9 minutes: Milk is at 91-94 degrees, heating rapidly. Pot is removed from grate onto ground (wet soil). Rennet/water mixture added, stirred

11 minutes: Milk/rennet mixture at 95 degrees. Wind strong

15 minutes: Milk/rennet mixture at 94 degrees, visibly off-white

20 minutes: Mixture remains at 94 degrees

23 minutes: Mixture at 93 degrees

27 minutes: Mixture at 92 degrees; ivory-to-cream-colored

29 minutes: Mixture at 91 degrees. Clean break test; curd feels soft, silky, “jello-y,” not grainy. Curd cut crosswise and flat parallel to their surface with steel knife, and stirred gently with wooden spoon. Lid placed on pot. Process completed by 34 minutes

Cutting the curd with a knife. Credit: Wendy Erickson

37 minutes: 2 fuel logs added to fire. Whey yellow in color. Wind strong

41 minutes: Curds/whey mixture at 90 degrees

44 minutes: Mixture at 90 degrees

46 minutes: Curds strained from whey through cheesecloth and a plastic colander into a cylindrical plastic tub about 7” wide and 1′ tall. Curds are white in color, small. Whey yellow, translucent. Sieve appears clogged by curds, whey not straining through

52 minutes: About half of curd-whey mixture remaining in pot placed back on fire, removed from fire, strained through cheesecloth and colander. Cheesecloth scraped with spoon in order to dislodge curds

57 minutes: Cheesecloth bagged up and squeezed in effort to force whey out

Attempting to strain the whey from the curds. Credit: Helen Murphy

62 minutes: Process abandoned. Wind strong

66 minutes: Remaining whey poured into jugs and weighed

Final values:

  • 2.54kg whey
  • remainder of unstrained curds/whey mixture was disposed of before weighing

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