Acidity Control (4)

You should use an acidometer and learn to understand the implications of the readings.
Once you do this then you will know how to steer your cheese in the right direction or at least, away from something that is obviously not what you want.
You can compensate for hic-cups, and make minor changes, if you understand what effect they are likely to have on the following stages.

Even if you don't understand technically you should soon begin to associate fluctuations in the log with fluctuations in your cheese.

Acidometers are very simple to use and will cost you around 60 pounds sterling
 
If you don't use an acidometer it will take many years of trial and error before you are confident that your cheese is good, and fairly consistently so. 

During this time you are assimilating masses of information and learning to interpret them through personal feelings of touch and smell and the look of things.
This learning is a great experience. Full of frustrations of course - and lots of pretty dismal cheese.
If you start with a little more information many of the frustrations are minimized, and the dismal cheese periods are reduced.

If you are making cheese for the right reasons you will eventually get there anyway but this will take you many years, and every hic-cup is a costly headache and a waste of good milk.

I have known many cheese-makers who did not, and do not, use an acidometer.
Some of these have long term experience and make cheeses that have earned their place in history.

When these same people had little experience and were making cheese of variable quality the market was tiny, or local. Most of you now are aiming at a wider market, which means that the majority of your cheese will be handled by people with little experience, and a greater consistency in the quality of your cheese-making is required. Sooner.


You should keep a fairly detailed log when learning, or developing a new cheese.
(If you don't have a record of what you did last month, and you have gone down the wrong road, you will get lost trying to get back).

Once you are happy with your cheese the log becomes a very brief record.
Ideally, you should learn the basics by working alongside an experienced cheese-maker. The more you can work with the more you will be influenced by the diversity of styles.

A log is a simple affair. It is a record of time, temperatures and acidities (and a few cryptic notes). Not complicated, and not a bother at all. Particularly if you are making just one variety and use a large diary as a log.
You must be able to easily compare today's make with the previous ones.

The layout of your log is up to you.
You need to record temperatures and acidities related to time.
You can buy printed log sheets for the standard British cheese varieties, but the layout of these is not suitable for the majority of Artisan makers. You can easily design one that suits you though.

Something on the lines of the one below can be used for any type of cheese.



You will need a clock. Preferably one that is easy to reset, as it is much easier to compare one make with another if you time each make from zero, or 12 o'clock.

Sample Log>

 

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