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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18 comments

    1. 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. 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. 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. 🙂

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

  1. 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!

  2. 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. 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. 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.

  3. 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. 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

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