Now I am even more confused. I was hoping to blame it on the goat's milk, but you mention not having had any trouble with goat's milk? Because I just completed my store bought cow milk's cheese and was successful.
Now, the cow's milk is really terrible in this country (3% fat is the highest you get and it just isn't as nice as the goat's milk you can get. btw, cows milk cheese will remain pure white over here ...), but I simply wanted to test if I am able to make this cheese without tearing the outside.
I added some calcium (but I also do that with the raw goat's milk), I added the same cultures, the PH changes during ripening were the exact same over the same time frame (just about 0.05 change - very little, but supposedly there is little acidity build up during the initial phase of making this cheese), I heated to the exact same temperatures. Now, where I differed slightly is that I used more rennet because I assumed store bought milk will set slower and needs more rennet. And sure enough, even though I used more rennet, I had to give it an extra 20 minutes (total 50 minutes), because it was simply too soft. The recipe does ask for a very soft curd and that is what I ended up with (much softer as a matter of fact than my goat's milk cheese two days ago). Once I ended up stirring, the curd became quite a bit smaller than the goat's milk curd had. I scaled to the same temp and kept it there for the same amount of time, then pressed under whey with 15lbs, flipped and pressed again under whey with 15lbs (5 minutes each). I then dry pressed flipping and increasing the weight at equal rates, only that I maxed out my weight at 65lbs as the cheesecloth wasn't sticking (I was encouraged - with the goat's cheese I had maxed at 45lbs) - I kept it pressed for 12 hours and unmolded without the slightest problem!
I am still aging the torn cheese (as you can see in the photograph - and there are quite a few more in my cave), but I certainly am far more excited with the perfectly smooth surface of the cheese I made last night (there are only the tiny bumps where the cheese was forced through the draining holes in the mold. Also note, it hasn't been in the brine yet whereas the other one obviously has, hardening the rind a bit). Something to note though is that my yield was considerably less. My last goat's milk cheese with made with 7 liters of milk and yielded 890g out of the press, this one was made with 6 liters and yielded 655g out of the press - it obviously was pressed with more weight for a longer time, but I could tell when ladling the curds that there was less.
The conclusion? Maybe I need to make sure to cut the goat curds when they are softer and make sure to get them as small as possible in order to trap less moisture. The only other difference was that yesterday I had to move my press into a cooler room (72F) whereas the goat cheese I had left in the kitchen at 82F (the recipe recommends pressing under a higher temperature.
So, I am off in a couple of hours to get myself some more goat's milk and give it another shot - I am not going to give up, this ought to work! Anyone have any insights as to why I have such different results?