There are a lot of cultures to choose from, aren’t there? It’s actually somewhat intimidating.
Fortunately, cheese is very forgiving and you have a lot of wiggle room in the culture department. Even if you use the “wrong” culture, you will end up with cheese.
When you’re a beginner cheese maker, it is important to use the exact culture recommended in your recipe. But, when you have some experience, you can try different cultures and combinations of cultures.
If you are making any of the cheeses listed below, you might consider trying Aroma B culture. There is a LOT to be said for it. It is versatile, inexpensive, non-GMO, BSE/TSE free and it is Kosher and Halal Certified. One packet is enough to culture 53 gallons (200 liters) of milk.
These cheeses are frequently made with Aroma B Culture:
Note: In the list below, you will notice that some cheeses are used with another Mesophilic culture. Aroma B is a mixed-strain culture which produces a medium amount of acidity. Therefore, for some cheeses, it is combined with a single-strain Mesophilic, such as Mesophilic Type 2 or a combination of acid producers like C101 Mesophilic Culture, or MA11 Mesophilic Culture.
Baby Swiss (in conjunction with Mesophilic)
Blue (in conjunction with Mesophilic)
Brie (in conjunction with Mesophilic)
Caerphilly (in conjunction with Mesophilic)
Camembert (in conjunction with Mesophilic)
Havarti (in conjunction with Mesophilic)
St. Paulin (in conjunction with Mesophilic)
What is Aroma B Culture?
Basically, it’s a Mesophilic culture which is meant to be added directly to your milk (without making a mother culture). It is made in Canada by Biena. It works well with cow, goat, buffalo and sheep milk.
There are 4 different kinds of bacteria in Aroma B:
Lactococcus lactis subsp. lactis
Lactococcus lactis subsp. cremoris
Lactococcus lactis subsp. lactis biovar. diacetylactis
Leuconostoc mesenteroides subsp. cremoris
Our Fresh Starter (for incubating only), Sour Cream and Buttermilk cultures are also very similar. If you are using Flora Danica or Aroma B in conjunction with another Mesophilic culture, you can try using one of these instead. They all have the same basic ingredients with slight variations and proportions.
How does Aroma B Culture work?
As always with a starter culture, the different bacteria work to change the acidity of the milk. The first two ingredients listed above are called homofermentors because when they convert lactose to lactic acid, they produce only lactic acid.
The second two bacteria are called heterofermentors because they produce more than just lactic acid (namely, carbon dioxide, diacetyl, acetic and propionic acids, ketones, aldehydes, alcohols, esters and fatty acids). They convert some of the lactose to lactic acid like the first two (about half as much), but they also ferment the citrates in the milk, thus producing CO2 and the aromatic substances.
How much Aroma B Culture should I use?
Most of the time, your recipe will tell you exactly how much culture to add to your milk. However, when you are experimenting with adding Aroma B to to your main Mesophilic culture, start with a 1 to 3 ratio. You can change that as you go, but, in general, 1 part Aroma B with 2 parts Mesophilic will start you off. (Needless to say, the total amount of culture will remain the same as the amount called for in your recipe.)
When used alone, these are the amounts suggested by the manufacturer:
1/8 tsp. per 1 gallon (3.7 liters)
1/4 tsp. per 2-5 gallons (7.5-18.9 liters)
1/2 tsp. per 5-10 gallons (18.9-38 liters)
How do I use Aroma B Culture?
Sometimes you will see directions that say “Allow powder to come to room temperature prior to use.” That applies to commercial cheese makers who are using the entire package at once.
We prefer to add the culture directly to milk when it is called for in the recipe. Sprinkle your culture on the milk surface and allow to re-hydrate for 1-2 minutes. While you are waiting, immediately seal your bag of culture. (Your goal is to have as little exposure to the air and especially to the humidity as possible.) When your minute or two is up, mix thoroughly to evenly distribute culture.
How do I store Aroma B Culture?
It is always best to store your cultures in the freezer. If you have a hand-held vacuum pump, you can use it to protect your culture. If stored properly, it will last up to a year in the freezer.
When using Aroma B to make Creme Fraiche, Fromage Blanc, Fromagina, or chevre, be sure to add a small amount of rennet, since Aroma B does not have rennet added like our small culture packs for those same cheeses.