When you shop online for culture packs, you’ll find products that let you set dozens of gallons of milk. Many home cheesemakers only want to use a few gallons instead. How can you maximize your investment when there is so much product available?
Cheesemakers must administer the proper measurement of cultures to the milk quantity used to create a viable product. Since you can’t rip open a package to use the whole thing, these methods can help you to save money when you’re not ready to make cheese at commercial quantities.
Please note that these are general guidelines. Several factors can influence how much culture you need, including fluid temperature, age, cheese type, and equipment.
How to Measure Cultures for Use
A simple measuring spoon helps you to inoculate the milk you plan to use for making cheese.
As a generic rule, about a 1/2-teaspoon of culture prepares about 20L of milk for use. Some cheesemakers may get up to 40L of usage from this measurement, depending on the culture type or the recipe they follow.
If you have raw milk to use at home, it helps to reduce the culture by at least 25%. You may need to cut it by half to have a workable product.
How to Weigh Cultures for Use
Having an accurate gram scale at home is useful when you purchase large culture packs for your cheesemaking activities.
Most large culture packs come in specific units that go up to 50 for some brands. The recommended measurement for preparing cultures with this option is one unit for 50 liters.
Since you receive a significant amount of culture in the pack, you’ll first need to determine the total amount you received. Once you have the weight on your scale, divide that figure by the number of units in the package.
That will help you to determine the utilization rate for the culture. Then you compare that to what the cheese recipe calls for in whole milk.
Do I Need to Use Cultures for Cheesemaking?
If your cheese recipe calls for cultures, it must be included. There are no exceptions to this rule. When you skip that ingredient, the cheese may not turn out at all.
When you don’t want to manage the hassle of a large culture pack, you could turn to liquid buttermilk as a way to get what you need. It works about half of the time – more if you can secure it from a local farm. Yogurt is another option, although not knowing what the mix is can put you at a disadvantage.
You also don’t know what the storage and temperature conditions were for the culture, sending you toward unpredictable results.
Several culture types are available for purchase today so that you can make your favorite cheese at home. Some varieties are possible through a few different choices, so always reference what the package says to ensure you’re using the correct product.