Some dear friends of mine, fellow goat owners and all around lovely people of course, have a great mystery just begging for help from all you folks. Last year they made copious amounts of lovely chevre. This year they can't get a decent curd....it all ends up looking like yogurt or runnier. They have tested their rennet and it passes the test. They have changed their milking machine washing regime and even just tried making chevre from hand-milked milk. They have tried pasteurized and raw. In fact, I'll let Joe speak for himself so you have all the clues of this mystery. We've talked this over and been totally stumped.....especially since when they gave me a gallon of milk I made a nice little batch of Brie with it and it formed curd just fine! Their cultures have come from different batches, different shipments...well, I'll let them explain.
"We have yet to be able to make a successful batch of chevre this year. I cant imagine how such a simple cheese can fail. On multiple tries, all we get is a loose, milky -whey curd. This is being made with one gallon of goats milk. We have tried it both pasteurizing at 145 degrees for 30 mns to going only to 85 when we add the culture. We have tried three different chevre/M101 cultures all with the same results. We have switched pots, as we were using and aluminum pot; again no change. We have used animal and vegetable rennet with same results. We tested out rennet as outlined on the webpage and it tested fine. We have tried to add culture and then wait 6-10 hours before adding rennet. It looks like the culture is working as the milk smells more acidic with coagulation/curd formation. I haven't pH tested the milk after culture, but the fresh milk is a pH of 6.6.
we have varied out renent amounts from
1. 1 drop into 1/3 cup chlorine free cold water and then 1 tsp of that,
2. 3 drops into 1/4 cup of water and then add the whole amount to the milk
3. 2 drops of rennent directly into the milk
again. all fails
It seems the curd forms but just never forms a firm, cutable curd. It looks like yougurt. I have attached a photo
I was wondering if I should go to the extreme and add 1/4 tsp of rennent and see if that works.. I could then just keep backing off the amount
Any suggestions? Thanks again for your time and consideration
Joe and Stan McCoy