September is upon us and now is the time for new beginnings, the start of school, returning to work from vacation and in Cheesepalooza land it is time for a new Cheese Challenge. If you could not tell by the title it is Chèvre, or what people often just call Goat Cheese. I like Chèvre I will sometimes buy the smallest amount you can and eat it myself. I have had Chèvre on my list of cheeses to make for a long time, but as I have said before, I skipped the fresh cheeses so this again was first for me.
I research every cheese I make, I look at several different recipe/directions and then settle on one and make that. I decided that I would try to follow Mary’s directions to the letter, but I things went pear shape when I realized that I did not have the Chèvre starter, so back to my notes. The key ingredients of the C20G starter that Mary uses are Aroma B and Microbial Rennet, in proprietary proportions of course. So thanks to my research I found the basic proportions, so if you did not get your C20G then you might want to think about using these measurements. Everything else was to Mary’s directions in the book, which included temperatures and times.
¼ Teaspoon Aroma B powder – I used my favourite one Probat 222
1/16 Teaspoon of Rennet – Don’t have a 1/16-teaspoon? Then all you do is put 3 drops of rennet in 1/3 cup of distilled water. Now take 2 tablespoons of the solution and add that to your milk.
Having never made this before I was a bit apprehensive about the results but I realized I could email Addie and ask him for help if I needed it. I did have to contact him the next day as I had an interesting result. I started at about 7:30 at night so it would set/ripen over night as this is considered a Lactic Acid Coagulated Cheese. Meaning that the culture does most of the work and the rennet is just there to help a little.
So there was nothing spectacular about the heating of the milk or the addition of starter and the rennet. It all went to plan; I stuck a lid on the pot and put it into the oven over night. It should be noted that I made this on a day where the temperature was about 30C and my house has no air conditioning. So technically I was above the 25C, which was the maximum given in the book.
The next morning it was almost like Christmas, knowing that there was a little package of cheese joy waiting to be dealt with. I did not wait for breakfast, well given that I make breakfast they would all have to wait. I started use my skimmer (the curd was too delicate to use my scoop strainer) and started to layer it into my cheesecloth lined colander. I noticed that it seemed to have set in layers. I would scoop out some curd and then find a layer of whey and then a layer of curd and so on. I was concerned but continued on scooping out the curd into the colander. I emailed Addie immediately afterwards and asked about it. He said it should be fine and that the weather could have played a factor.
I knew that it would be hot that day so down to the basement to set up my draining system. This consisted of using a fishing pole, my storage centre and stepladder, and it drained for 11 hours.
The curd was not as dry as I wanted it to be, but I had to go out that night and I did not want it too dry so I took it back up stairs and into the bowl for forming it went. I did 3 preparations of the Chèvre and they are from left to right – With Purple Clover, Rolled in Montreal Steak Spice and the last two are plain.
I took the first three to the Cheesepalooza Meet and Greet at Valerie’s place. Leslie from Smoky Valley Goat Cheese was there and I asked her about the layering and she indicated that can happen and not to be concerned. It seemed to be a hit at the party and people made some nice comments.
MY TASTING NOTES
· Appearance: Soft and slightly creamy
· Aroma: It has a slightly lactic smell to it
· Overall Taste: Very lactic in taste with a hint of lemon.
· Sweet to Salty: Neither sweet nor salty
· Mild, Robust, or Pungent: It is mildly robust, as it gets older
· Mouth Feel: It has a smooth with some texture to it.
You are probably wondering what I did with the whey? Well of course I drank a big glass of it and the rest went to my Chilies and Tomatoes. All of the first three have been either eaten or given away. I reserved one of the plain logs for personal use, which included a lovely omelet with Chèvre in the centre.
- This was one of the simplest cheeses I have eve made and definitely it will be made again.
- Next time if it is hot I will put it in the basement during ripening.
- The clover turns bitter by week two so it should be consumed early.
- According to my research you can freeze Chèvre for up to 1 month. I think if I use my vacuum sealer it might last longer.
IAN’S CHEESEPALOOZA OF THE MONTH – Each month I will pick the blog post that struck a chord with me. I will be basing mine on participant’s effort, results good or bad and finally lessons learned from the experience (it can be personal or things to do for next time) also use of the ricotta/whey.
Have fun with this one, I have one more use for the my Chèvre that I hope to have done prior to the Edmonton Tasting in September.