This isn't the cheese that my mom and I had intended to make. We set out to follow Cheesepalooza's second challenge but thanks to a teeny tiny mistake we didn't end up with a traditional chevre. Our resulting cheese had consistency of cream cheese with a super smooth texture and a delicious tang.
If only all my mistakes were this delicious.
Our day of cheese began exactly by the book. The first step for cheese making is washing and sterilizing all your equipment to ensure that the only bacteria introduced to your cheese is the bacteria that you intentionally put there. So our pans and scoops and strainers were all washed and then rinsed out with a diluted bleach solution. Bye bye bacteria!
The we loaded up our pots with goat's milk and started to bring it to temperature. It was supposed to take around 20 minutes to get the milk to about 86 but our milk hit the mark after only 9 short minutes.
We fretted about the quick temperature change ruining our cheese but there was nothing to do but move forward.
The next part was easy: let the milk sit at around 72 degrees for 12 hours. After 12 hours we were excited to lift the lid because there was supposed to be a solid mass of curds floating surrounded by whey.
But instead there was very very soft curds that had a bit of whey separated from them.. but nothing like the book had described. We tried draining some of the curds but they just broke down and headed straight for the drain.
We weighed our options and decided to let the milk sit over night and see if the curds were better formed in the morning.
The next day the curds were still very soft so we doubled up our cheese cloth and carefully poured them into a strainer. They were so delicate that we couldn't hang the cheese cloth without breaking the curds and turning them into liquid.
So the curds just sat there in the strainer draining..
and draining. For two days. I changed the cheese cloth a couple of times and after a day was able to hang it properly. The cheese finally thickened up to a consistency of a soft cream cheese. We decided that it wasn't going to get any drier and at this point it had been at room temperature for days longer than the recipe had called for.
But there ended up being a much more simple explanation for why our cheese didn't form the proper curds: we had used the wrong starter.
We had added Mesophile II instead of the C20G that we were supposed to have used.
We decided to make the cheese again correctly but in the mean time the creamy, tangy chevre was eaten and enjoyed extremely quickly.
I have to admit that in the past I've always been concerned about keeping dairy products in the fridge and stored properly. It felt strange just leaving this sack of dairy product hanging at room temperature for days on end. But once I spread it on some toast with a drizzle of honey I knew that we had done the right thing by waiting it out and not tossing the curds when they weren't working as planned.
We did go on to make a successful batch of traditional chevre that I'll be posting about later. I just felt that even though this batch was technically a failure it was too tasty and we put too much time into it (much more time than the successful batch) for it to just be a side note. It deserved an entire post to itself: an ode to the cheese that we'll probably never make again on purpose.
- Appearance: very white and creamy
- Nose (aroma): tangy goat cheese scent
- Overall Taste: More flavor than a mild goat cheese. Flavor is smoother at the beginning with a tang at the end.
- Sweet to Salty: Salty
- Mild (mellow) to Robust to Pungent (stinky): Mild
- Mouth Feel: (gritty, sandy, chewy, greasy, gummy, etc.): Very soft and creamy like a cross between mascarpone and cream cheese
For the challenges we are working from Artisian Cheese Making at Home (go out and grab a copy if you are interested in making cheese, there is a lot of great information in there along with the recipes).