Thermophilic starter cultures are used mostly by the pasta filata and cooked curd cheeses. HEre is a simple recipe to produce an easy thermophilic culture at home.
- Start with 2 cups of FRESH milk. Heat it to 185°F (85°C) on the cook top or in a microwave. Be careful not to heat too high otherwise the cream will separate.
- Let the 2 Cups of milk cool to at least 125°F (52°C).
- Add one table spoon of FRESH yogurt either homemade or store bought “live and active culture” type. Probiotic yogurt can also be used
- Mix the yogurt into the milk thoroughly with a fork or a whisk.
- Keep the mixture at 110°F (44°C) for 8-10 hours until a firm yogurt has set. This can be done by using a double boiler on a low setting or by placing the inoculated milk into a small CLEAN mason jar placed in a warm water bath. The bath can be kept warm by placing it on an electric range top at the lowest possible setting (so that ‘ON’ light is just on). Monitor the temperature closely the first few times you do this and you will become a better judge of the temperature settings of your range top. This way with future cultures you can set the process up and not worry about it for 8-10 hours.
- Pour this culture into a full sized CLEAN ice cube tray and put into your FREEZER. As with all steps of cheese making, cleanliness is next to godliness.
- Once frozen, remove the cubes and put into a CLEAN sealed container or plastic freezer bags. It is a good idea to label the container to distinguish it from your mesophilic culture.
- The resulting ice cubes are each 1 oz of thermophilic starter.
- Add these cubes (thawed) to your recipes as required. The cubes will keep for about one month.
To make more starter culture simply thaw one cube and use it as the fresh yogurt used in step 3.
Another way of cultivating thermophilic cultures is to use cultured unsalted European butter. If you can find in the shops, you can use it just like above instead of yogurt or combination with yogurt.
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