Home Cheese Making Hack – DIY 30% Solution Calcium Chloride

Have you ever run short your cheese making supplies?  Forgot to order Calcium Chloride or not have it arrive in time for your next batch of cheese?  Here is a hack that can get you through until you order more or if you like you may never order it again.

Here are the ingredients you need.
Here are the ingredients you need.

But how do you turn these into your solution?  That will come next, but first here is my Disclaimer:

This method works for me and may not work for your needs, please read through the directions first before attempting.  If you do use this method then do so at your own risk.

Sounds ominous but just covering all my bases.  Now the formula.

This is my way of making the solution and is based on weight not volume.

This is the basic calculation for creating the solution.
This is the basic calculation for creating the solution.

Now the Calcium Chloride will dissolve in the water and the solution will not weigh 100 grams.  Now that we have the formula, we can go ahead with making the solution.  First off we need Food-Grade Calcium Chloride.  In Canada we have a product called “Pickle Crisp” by Bernardin.

Bernardin's Pickle Crisp
Bernardin’s Pickle Crisp
It is Food-Grade Calcium Chloride, used in preserving pickles.  But it can be used in cheese making too,
It is Food-Grade Calcium Chloride, used in preserving pickles. But it can be used in cheese making too,
Now having done the math, I can weigh out the crystals for the 30% Solution.
Now having done the math, I can weigh out the crystals for the 30% Solution.

Once you have weighed the crystals and weighed out the water, you want it to be non-chlorinated, then you can combine the two.  The math for my solution is this:

The mason jar I am using holds 425 grams of water.  So I need 127.5 grams of crystals to 297.5 grams of water.
The mason jar I am using holds 425 grams of water. So I need 127.5 grams of crystals to 297.5 grams of water.

WARNING – Mixing Calcium Chloride and water is an exothermic reaction and it gives off a bit of heat, it is key that if you are doing this at home you use a glass jar.  If you pour the water into the crystals then be careful to pour a bit at a time, or it will fizz up.  Wear some form of eye protection just in case.

You can pour the crystals into the water, but it will fizz up as well.  Stir until the crystals are mixed.

fizzy solution
You can see that the solution is still a bit fizzy.
cloudy mixture
The mix is cloudy for now. The Calcium Chloride is still reacting with the water and the jar is quite warm almost hot to the touch.

Once the solution has cooled down you can put the lid on and store in the refrigerator.  The solution will turn clear with a bit of “powder” at the bottom of the jar.  You can filter it out if you like or just shake the jar and mix it back in prior to use.  I know I haven’t made friends with the cheese making supply companies listed on the site, but I thought I would share it any way.

Until next time…Logo

 

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31 Comments Add yours

  1. Joe Hildreth says:

    So, if using this solution, how much would you add to 2 gallons of milk?

    1. ihtreuer says:

      It would depend on your recipe. You would use it the same way you would use some from a supplier. i.e. 1/4 tsp diluted in 1/4 cup non chlorinated water.

      1. Joe Hildreth says:

        Thank you. My locally available whole milk does not set a curd well. I have the pickle crisp and thought I would give it a try. Now, can I used this with my mozarella recipe? I think I read somewhere that you are not supposed to with mozarella because it affects the stretch of the cheese. But like I said above, my locally available milk does not set a good firm curd. Or should I use more rennet?

        1. ihtreuer says:

          I’ve never used it with mozzarella, I use 2 % milk because the homogenized stuff won’t work for me

          1. Joe Hildreth says:

            Well, I think I will give it a try and see what happens. At best it will be great and at worst a total failure. But I am willing to give it a try nonetheless. I will post back here and let you know how it goes for me. I will try a 1/4 teaspoon disolved in a 1/4 cup of non-chlorinated water for a 1 gallon batch. 🙂

    2. Darrin Gould says:

      Most Cheese’s only require about 1/2 to 1 Teaspoon in a 1/4 Cup of Distilled Water for a 2 Gallons or more.

  2. Cece says:

    I’m sorry, so you would use a 1/4 cup of this 30% solution in a gallon of milk?

    1. ihtreuer says:

      Hi Cece,

      The solution is always diluted when added to the milk. So for a gallon you would use 1/4 teaspoon of the 30% solution diluted in 1/4 cup of non-chlorinated water.

      I hope this helps

      1. Cece says:

        That helps so much! Thanks for clearing it up for me. I am giving this a try tonight.

      2. Cece says:

        Made paneer cheese, was pretty easy and tasted good. The solution worked amazingly. Even using my dodgy scale for the measurements.

        1. ihtreuer says:

          I am glad it worked out for you.

  3. Jodi says:

    I happened to have used the last of my purchased calcium chloride to make a brining solution this morning. I intended to start an additional batch of Colby cheese. So I investigated online about creating my own. Thank you so much for this information. I certainly appreciate it. I am always looking for ways to be more self-reliant. And it just so happens I have “pickle crisp” on hand. Thanks again!

    1. ihtreuer says:

      Thats great! I am glad this helps. I

  4. Matt says:

    I’m scoping the internet to look for places selling calcium chloride (CaCl2) and I found your blog about making your own 30% calcium chloride solution thinking this must be the standard solution used. I’m looking over the math you have posted and has me confuse thinking you messed up on your math causing you to become confuse about diluting things to the right concentration. Water is H2O, I’m defining it here so you won’t be lost.

    It tells me for the mason jar you have holding 425 grams of water which is 425mL by the density of water (1 g/mL) you put 127.5 g of CaCl2 with 297.50 mL of water. The concentration of solution made would be 42.8% or 42.8 g/mL. That is 127.5 g CaCl2/297.50 mL H2O. A little high than standard, but not sure what happen when you made cheese with it. Did you dissolve your 127.5 g of CaCl2 in 297.5 mL or 425 mL of water? This matters. You should have taken your 127.5 g of CaCl2 and dissolve it in 425 mL of water. The subtraction of 425 g H2O – 127.5 g CaCl2 to find the amount of water to use was unnecessary.

    By scientific rules, concentrations can be express as a percentage as either weight/weight percent (w/w%), weight/volume percent (w/v%), or volume/volume percent (v/v%). I find it easier to say 30% as 30 g/100 mL or 30 grams of solid stuff dissolve in 100 mL of liquid. You are working with w/v%.

    A tiny side note. I’m not trying to be an overtly smart person, but as a student pursuing a degree in chemistry at California State University Long Beach. I’ve had to solve a bunch of concentration problems. Your math had me thinking for a few minutes and checking other websites to determine if it was right or wrong. I would not have to explain everything above, but I can’t tell if you know the basics of solutions from a chemistry perspective.

    1. ihtreuer says:

      Matt,

      Thanks for you comments and insight as to the formula. I was working off a formula given to me by a far more experienced cheesemaker, and took it as being correct as he uses it in his commercial cheese business. I appreciate you letting me know the initial formula is wrong I will fix it.

      I haven’t taken Chemistry since first year university, 20 odd years ago, so my skills are beyond rusty when it comes to solutions and concentrations. I have been using the solution that I made to make cheese without any issues.

      I am currently in negotiations to take over an existing cheese business and they have proper scales so I should be able to make it properly. So correct me if I am wrong, but the 30 g CaCl2 to 70 ml water is wrong and he correct formula would be 30 g CaCl2 to 100 ml water?

      Ian

      1. Matt says:

        I have to say yes, the 30 g CaCl2 to 70 mL water is wrong and 30 g CaCl2 to 100 mL water is correct for final concentration. In practice, if you keep the 30 g CaCl2 to 70mL when making a batch of solution, just add enough water till you get the right concentration in this case 30mL of water.

        Just remember there are plenty of online sources about making a solution so you can verify what I have said is to be true.

        Given the small back story of where you got the formula. This totally puts into perspective everything for me. I’m assuming the expert cheesemaker you got the formula from maybe dilutes his solution to 30%. I may be wrong. Given you say you have no problems using the same solution you used the first time. I guess it can not hurt to have a little extra as long it doesn’t affect the final texture and taste of the product. I’ll have to experiment between a 42% and 30% CaCl solution when I make cheese curds for poutine because California barely has this wonderful dish.

        I wish you luck.

  5. Greg Owen says:

    Here’s 100ml of h2o in a standard mason jar and the rough amount one would need to make 30 grams in the jar of the pickle crisp lid.

    [img]http://i.imgur.com/Vhxnm79.jpg[/img]

    1. ihtreuer says:

      When it come to making the solution it pays to make it in 1 litre batches then you just use 1 litre water with 300 grams of pickle crisp, but yes 100 ml you would use 30 grams. I have been a little preoccupied lately I need to update this post to refectory the updated measurements

      1. Darrin Gould says:

        So basically…a container of Pickle Crisp 155g…into 500ml/1/2 Litre of water would be pretty close.
        I noticed one Cheese Making Supplier selling Calcium Chloride in a 33% Solution. So I added 1 Jar of Pickle Crisp 155g to 500ml of Water and the final measurement was just a little below 600ml on the Cup…so I topped it to 600ml to account for the extra 5 grams in the jar of Pickle Crisp. Does this make sense?

  6. Inass says:

    Hi
    I did read how the calculation was done and unfortunately it was not accurate,
    It suppose to be 30gm of cacl2 in 100ml of water.
    Solution percentage means how many grams of solvents are diluted in 100ml of water ( solute).
    If it is weight/ weight it would be the way you did it.
    Hope I am not wrong, I would prefere you consult some one else
    Inass felfel
    Pharmacist

  7. ashleymae says:

    does this mean you can make a solution then just store it in the chiller and just use it when u need it? it’s not like rennet, once diluted, u need to use it within 30 minutes?

    1. ihtreuer says:

      Yes you can store it in your cold room/fridge. I had mine for almost a year and it was still effective.

      1. ashleymae says:

        thanks a lot!:)

    2. Darrin says:

      It shouldn’t be a problem as long as the container/jar you’re keeping it in is reasonably airtight. I keep mine in a sealed Mason Jar and it works quite well. This stuff shouldn’t go bad at all, all you may need to worry about is “evaporative loss” over time…which would concentrate the formulation even more. But this should be a problem if you have a tightly sealed Jar!

    3. Darrin says:

      Apologies on the last comment…I meant to say “it shouldn’t be a problem”

  8. Andréanne says:

    Hi!

    Here is a Percent (%) Solutions Calculator (http://www.physiologyweb.com/calculators/percent_solutions_calculator.html).

    As an example, for a final 100g of solution, you put 30g of CaCl2 in a container on the scale and add water (H2O) until you have 100g of solution (CaCl2+H2O).

    Hope this helps!

    Thank you very much for the easy and cheaper solution to ordering Calcium Chloride to suppliers!

    1. golpanman says:

      Which would be 70g of water, which is what ihtreuer said on his original post.

  9. It would seem that if you want a 30% solution by weight you would add 30 grams Calcium Chloride to 70grams of water. What say you? The would actually be 30% by weight.

    1. ihtreuer says:

      I should be updating this post soon, to fix the math. Thanks for the comment.

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