Author Topic: Puzzled by Chevre fail  (Read 1058 times)

Offline Bonesjmc

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Puzzled by Chevre fail
« on: May 05, 2014, 10:34:41 AM »
Hello Forum. Can you please help me? We have been having fails with our chevre recently. Two recently freshend goats (mid April) one Saanen and one Nubian. We cant seem to get a decent firm curd. After sitting with culture and rennet for 18-24 hrs the it still looks like yogurt to sour cream. There just isn't a separation of curds and whey. We have added calcium. Bought fresh rennet and fresh culture with no change. Bacterial counts in milk are low. Sometimes we pasteurize at 145 for 30 min, other times we have only brought the milk up to 85 degrees with same results.  I haven't check pH, but the milk taste sweet like you would expect a pH 6-7 to taste.  Although the milking equipment is thoroughly cleaned and rinsed, I'm wondering if some cleaning products might be involved.. but I think that would be a long shot.

Has anyone had similar problems? Any ideas what to try next?


Offline Back 2 The Frotture

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Re: Puzzled by Chevre fail
« Reply #1 on: May 09, 2014, 02:59:21 PM »
Have you changed your animal's food ration recently?  When the goats start to pasture the milk's composition changes...  Do you use a milking parlor or by hand?  Effectuating a methodic research would be useful.  Is the problem only with the chevre or with other cheeses as well?

Offline Tiarella

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Re: Puzzled by Chevre fail
« Reply #2 on: May 09, 2014, 10:12:43 PM »
This topic has been restarted by me over there........because my friend who posted it wasn't getting very many ideas and I think you'll see your questions are answered.,12734.0.html

Offline TimT

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Re: Puzzled by Chevre fail
« Reply #3 on: May 10, 2014, 03:37:05 AM »
I haven't focused on goat's milk cheeses really (the odd chevre here and fetta there) so it's not my area of expertise. But I do recall some relevant notes in Ricki Carroll's book Home Cheesemaking. Carroll talks in the introduction about various milks and notes that goat's milk will form a softer curd than cow milk and the curds must be treated gently; in the chapter on goat's milk cheeses she reiterates this. (The one time we made a goat's milk culture backs this up; the yoghurt was far closer to milk than our other cultures). And when she talks about a stretched curd goat's milk cheese (goat's milk provolone) we learn that

The stage of lactation at which goat's milk is produced has a significant effect on whether the curd stretches as it is supposed to. Milk produced early.... makes a curd that stretches beautifully; later.... the curd will stop stretching. Therefore, varying amounts of citric acid are added....

So, generalising here, but: when goat's milk curdles it will usually tend to form a much softer curd than when a cow's milk curdles. And: the quality of the milk will vary greatly depending on where the goat is in its lactation cycle. 

Indeed, just checking through my notebook I find that the quality of my chevres has varied a good bit; my latest chevre is great. Previous ones I find notes like 'bit soft' and 'hasn't shrunk away from sides of pot' - possibly because of the dud culture I was using then, though also possibly because goat's milk is a bit more responsive to these changes than cow's milk.

So, solutions: to help the curd harden up a bit, get a bit tougher, maybe add more rennet, as they say above, and/or more culture, and/or a different culture. You could also try giving it a longer time to age and fully separate from the whey. Often the cheese culture appreciates this anyway! And, as others say, maybe it depends on what your goats are eating too - or maybe they're just in a later stage of lactation. Keep on trying and I'm sure you'll get a workable solution!

Offline Bear and Bunny cheese

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Re: Puzzled by Chevre fail
« Reply #4 on: May 10, 2014, 08:56:35 AM »
Is there any chance you used the same spoon to measure your rennet as your Calcium Chloride?  Any residue from the CaCl will damage rennet.