Ripening the Milk
This term is a little confusing because it is also used to describe the ripening or aging of cheese. Here, ripening, refers to the practice of giving the culture time to begin acid production before the rennet is added. This is done for two reasons:
- To ensure the culture is active before the milk is renneted. It is impossible to inoculate after the milk is set. Normally, 45 - 60 min is sufficient to decrease pH by 0.01 units or increase TA by 0.005 - 0.01%
- Development of acidity aids the coagulation process, especially the secondary stage.
In some varieties such as brine brick and Swiss, low amounts of culture are used and renneting proceeds with little or no prior ripening.