How to Prepare starter culture Mesophilic
- Sterilize a clean half-gallon canning jar and its cover (or two one-quart canning jars with covers) by placing them in boiling water for five minutes.
- Cool them and fill the jar with fresh skim milk, leaving 1/2 inch of head space. Cover the jar tightly with its sterilized lid.
- Put the jar in your canner (or a big, deep pot) with the water level at least 1/4 inch over the top of the jar lid.
- Put the pot on the burner and bring the water to a boil. Note when the water begins to boil, and let it continue at a slow boil for thirty minutes.
- Take the jar out of the water, and let it cool to 72°, away from drafts. (To check temperature,
- To prepare starter culture, sterilize milk in hot water.
use the room temperature, and avoid contaminating the milk with your thermometer.)
- Inoculate the milk by adding the contents of the freeze-dried starter culture packet to the milk (still at 72°). Add the powder quickly, to minimize exposure to the air. Re-cover and swirl the jar every five minutes or so, to mix and dissolve the powdered culture thoroughly. (If you're making your second batch, you'll be adding two ounces of fresh or frozen starter to the sterilized milk.)
- Put the jar where the milk temperature can be kept at 72° for fifteen to twenty-four hours during its ripening period. Sixteen hours usually
- Pour culture into sterilized milk cooled io 72° F.
does the trick, but if the milk hasn't coagulated by then, you can leave it another eight hours, or a little more.
- The culture will have the consistency of a good yogurt. It will separate cleanly from the sides of thejar, and its surface will be shiny. Taste it. It should be slightly acid and also a bit sweet.
- Chill it immediately. You can keep it in the refrigerator for up to three days before using it. Unless you plan to make a large amount of cheese right away; however, the best thing to do is to freeze it for storage.
- To freeze starter culture, sterilize four plastic ice cube trays. Fill the trays with the starter culture
- To store culture, freeze it in sterilized ice cube tray.
and freeze it solid in the coldest part of your freezer. Transfer the cubes to airtight plastic bags and put them back in the freezer. They'll keep their strength for up to one month. Each cube of starter culture is a convenient one ounce, which can be thawed at any time and used to make a cheese, or another batch of starter culture.
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