Author Topic: Is it me, or...?  (Read 271 times)

Offline chevre au lait

  • Medium Cheese
  • ***
  • Location: British Columbia
  • Posts: 37
  • Cheeses: 3
  • Default personal text
Is it me, or...?
« on: October 11, 2014, 06:36:01 PM »
So, I'm at a crossroads in my cheesemaking:  to continue or not.  If I'm doing something wrong, I'd like to pinpoint it now; if I'm doing things right, I'll just go back to drinking my goat milk and buying cheese at the store.

I have made Faisselle, Pouligny-St-Pierre, Crottin, and Brie, all from goat milk, from a healthy goat up to date on her minerals, who gives me sweet, rich, delicious milk.  When I take said delicious milk and turn it into a cheese project (other than the Faisselle, which had less flavour than tofu), I get something that normally, if I smell something like it in my fridge, I serve it--overhand--into the compost heap. 

For the Pouligny-St-Pierre and Crottins I particularly minded sanitation, and followed the instructions to the best of my ability.  What I got was very strong cheese, which I've had to eat with salami or hot pepper jelly to mask the smell and taste.  The Crottin, which I just tried now, burned my throat on the way down.  I haven't tried the Brie yet (it won't be ready for a couple of days), but it doesn't smell like any Brie I've gotten from the store (which is cows' milk, admittedly). 

When people serve chevre, I go back for seconds and thirds.  I survived an Esrom sandwich which my mother packed for a school lunch, years ago.  I like Blue Stilton and Roquefort.  But I am facing a severe challenge with this cheese I've made--a lifetime supply of meal-dominating STRONG CHEESE, which begs to be partnered with a heaping platter of chopped liver, durian, and a topping of Chinese fermented fish sauce, to make my meal from hell.

In 200 Easy Cheeses, P-St-P is promised to have "a beautiful melting paste and faint fruity goatiness".  The Crottin is to be enjoyed with a glass of sweet white wine.  The Brie is supposed to be "more delicate" than cows' milk Brie.  Not!  What might be wrong?

Theory:  This all goes back to when I made the Valençay recipe, but neglected to observe that I'd accidentally added aroma culture.  After removing the cheeses from the cave/picnic cooler, I scrubbed that cooler down to within an inch of its plastic life, with hot sudsy.  Somehow, a cell of aroma culture remained, found the fresh, innocent, appetizingly yogurty-tart P-St-P that I'd placed in the cave, and started multiplying its stinking self on it, and in it.  Does this seem plausible?  I wish I could attach a smell-o-gram to get your expert opinions.  Have you any other theories?  I intend to make a cheese cave for ripening non-aroma culture cheeses, but before going to the effort, I would like to know if it is doomed from the start, or if it's likely to solve the problem.

I thank you in advance for your sage advice!


Guests, join the CheeseForum.org community to remove this ad.


Offline JeffHamm

  • Old Cheese
  • *****
  • Location: Auckland, New Zealand
  • Posts: 2,677
  • Cheeses: 160
  • As goes the cheesemaker, so goes the cheese
Re: Is it me, or...?
« Reply #1 on: October 11, 2014, 06:59:39 PM »
Hi,

I've never made cheese with fresh goat's milk.  I tried making a semi-lactic with store bought, but it is Ultra High Heat pasurised, and the taste was very "goaty".  Anyway, using aroma culture wouldn't be the problem.  The culture doesn't stick around, although some of the moulds and b.linens that grow on a cheese will.  Your washing routine would have dealt to that though, so that isn't your problem.

It's hard to know what might be the issue without seeing your make notes, which need to be very detailed to help narrow things down.  With raw milk, that you get yourself, you could track things like "time of milking w o'clock, cooled milk to 4C by x o'clock, started making cheese by y o'clock, etc).  What was the temperature you heated your milk to, what culture and how much did you add, how much rennet?  stirring and heating schedules, when did it go into the mould?  How long did you drain it for?  At what ambient temperature?  Aging conditions?  and so forth.

It could be your goat has some sort of natural flora that produces quite strong flavours perhaps (as I say, I'm not experienced with fresh goat's milk so I'm just speculating wildly here).  You could try low heat pasteurizing your milk (bring to 145 F for 30 minutes then cool rapidly), to kill off any natural flora, for one batch.  Then, follow your make procedure as you normally do.  You might even want to pasturise at a higher temp to ensure you kill off the natural thermo cultures, in case that's the issue.  I realise that this isn't what you want from your raw milk source, but this is just as an experiment for one batch to see if it might be something in the milk itself.

If that produces the same strong flavours, then at least it is not something your goat produces and people can offer other suggestions as to what else to try. 

For starters though, how long are you waiting between milking and making cheese? 

There will be a solution, but it will be in the details.
The wise do not always start out on the right path, but they do know when to change course.

Offline chevre au lait

  • Medium Cheese
  • ***
  • Location: British Columbia
  • Posts: 37
  • Cheeses: 3
  • Default personal text
Re: Is it me, or...?
« Reply #2 on: October 11, 2014, 11:33:10 PM »
Hello Jeff,

To answer your last questions first, I've had to collect milk over a few days--my milking goat's down to a cup a day, so four days--to make a 1 liter test batch of cheese.  Mornings are fridge temperature, here, so the milk is cooling as soon as it squirts into the jar.  The milk goes from the barn to the fridge.  For drinking/cereal/tea purposes, her milk is good for at least a week.  I only have the one girl in milk right now, and I can't compare her cheese with anyone else's for at least six months.  I now have a liter of milk again, so will try your suggestion of at low heat pasteurizing, to discover whether funky cultures are arriving with the milk.

To give a brief answer regarding the make notes, I was taking pains to follow the Pouligny St. Pierre recipe as written, divided by eight; I write directly in the book when I've done something different, and have no such notations in this case.  I finish milking by 9am; I was making cheese around 9pm, and did the subsequent steps--ladling, salting, placing in cooler--at 5pm.  Ambient temperature in the house was 14-19 degrees celsius.  The curds smelled really good going into the moulds--sour in a fresh, appetizing way, like yogurt.  Aging conditions were, according to the thermometer, 10 degrees as asked for; the hygrometer that I stuck in the cave once (as it belongs elsewhere) read a little low, but it was decidedly damp in there, as moisture in the air condensed when it hit the ice packs, and made puddles.  The P-St-P seems shrunken and partly runny within its rind, whereas the Crottin, though it looks shrunken, has a smooth paste within its rind.  The Brie is not shrunken looking at all.

Good to know that aroma culture doesn't stick around.

Thank you for your thoughts.  I will let you know, in a few weeks, how the pasteurized make goes.

Offline JeffHamm

  • Old Cheese
  • *****
  • Location: Auckland, New Zealand
  • Posts: 2,677
  • Cheeses: 160
  • As goes the cheesemaker, so goes the cheese
Re: Is it me, or...?
« Reply #3 on: October 12, 2014, 02:13:53 AM »
Hi,

I think you'll get some feedback from others with their own goats which will be of help (and based upon actual knowledge rather than upon a willingness to speculate on anything and everything!), but I'm wondering if taking 4 days to get your 1 litres might be an issue.  You could try making a tiny semi-lactic with one days milking in a single serve yogurt cup (wash it, poke holes all over with a large needle or hole punch if you've got one) without pasturising the milk.  Then, you could compare the pasurised make and the "all in one day" make.  From what you've mentioned, those are the only two things I can think off quickly that might be worth a test.  But, as I say, others with more actual live goat experience will have more insight that I.  Good luck, and keep us posted.  It will be well worth it once you crack the code.

The wise do not always start out on the right path, but they do know when to change course.

Offline chevre au lait

  • Medium Cheese
  • ***
  • Location: British Columbia
  • Posts: 37
  • Cheeses: 3
  • Default personal text
Re: Is it me, or...?
« Reply #4 on: October 12, 2014, 10:31:48 AM »
That sounds like a good plan (and yes, I already have DIY mini-moulds  ;) ).  Please forgive my ignorance, but what is a semi-lactic cheese?  I don't see a section for it in the forum list, and googling brought me right back to your own posts on Cheese Forum, making cheeses involving rennet, starter, moulds, but no CaCl.  Can you please define semi-lactic for me?  Thanks!


Guests, join the CheeseForum.org community to remove this ad.


Offline JeffHamm

  • Old Cheese
  • *****
  • Location: Auckland, New Zealand
  • Posts: 2,677
  • Cheeses: 160
  • As goes the cheesemaker, so goes the cheese
Re: Is it me, or...?
« Reply #5 on: October 12, 2014, 02:23:40 PM »
Basically, warm your milk to 27-30 C, add some starter (like buttermilk), and put 1 drop of rennet in a tablespoon of distilled water and add that and stirr.  Let it sit for 24 hours in a warm place (I place it in the hot water cupboard).  You should have a blob of curd separated from the whey.  Pour off the whey as well as you can, doing this very carefully as the curd is very fragile.  Then, take very thin slices and put in a well draining mould and drain for a couple days (it might take a couple days, but with such a small make probably done in one).  I usually make these using 2 litres of creamline milk, so you could cut back on the rennet (i.e. just put 1/2 your tablespoon of water in the milk to get 1/2 a drop).  A full lactic cheese doesn't add any rennet and it is the culture that acidifies the milk enough to separate the curds and whey.  Semi-lactics add this small amount of rennet to assist the separation.  Anyway, these are good with a bit of white mould, or you can add blue mould, or just eat them fresh. 

The wise do not always start out on the right path, but they do know when to change course.

Offline chevre au lait

  • Medium Cheese
  • ***
  • Location: British Columbia
  • Posts: 37
  • Cheeses: 3
  • Default personal text
Re: Is it me, or...?
« Reply #6 on: October 12, 2014, 03:32:41 PM »
Ah, thank you--a little rennet is the "semi" part of semi-lactic. I've just started a mini batch of Pouligny St. Pierre with a liter of milk that I pasteurized this morning, to compare with the first, unpasteurized, batch (which said to say hi), to see if there are weird cultures already in the milk.  Now that I know what you're speaking of, I'll make a micro batch of unpasteurized semi-lactic after tomorrow's milking, which will help ascertain whether it's the longer collection period which is causing the problem.  I will repost when I have some results!  Thanks!

Offline qdog1955

  • Medium Cheese
  • ***
  • Location: York, Pa. USA
  • Posts: 53
  • Cheeses: 2
  • Default personal text
Re: Is it me, or...?
« Reply #7 on: October 13, 2014, 04:27:25 AM »
  Another one of those dumb questions-----In this post and others of yours---you mention the "hot water cupboard"----I am making the assumption that this is an enclosed space where some type of hot water heater is kept. Is that correct?----and that residual heat keeps that space warmer than the rest of your home?
  Yes, we actually do speak the same language---but I have found, over the years, that in U.S.A., Britain, Australia, New Zealand and other English speaking countries---the same word can have completely different meanings.
 
Qdog

Offline awakephd

  • Mature Cheese
  • ****
  • Location: North Carolina
  • Posts: 135
  • Cheeses: 26
  • Default personal text
Re: Is it me, or...?
« Reply #8 on: October 13, 2014, 11:30:31 AM »
Another warm place to consider -- my refrigerator has cabinets around it and over it, but there is some room between the top of the refrigerator and the bottom of the upper cabinet. That area stays nicely warm, due to heat shed by the refrigerator.

Offline JeffHamm

  • Old Cheese
  • *****
  • Location: Auckland, New Zealand
  • Posts: 2,677
  • Cheeses: 160
  • As goes the cheesemaker, so goes the cheese
Re: Is it me, or...?
« Reply #9 on: October 13, 2014, 12:00:32 PM »
Hi QDog,

Yes, the hot water cupboard is just a closet where the hot water cylinder is found.  Good place to put clothes if they are not quite dry and it starts to rain (if you hang them outside), or warm boots in colder climates.  I use that because the closet stays nice and evenly warm, but any warm space (as awakephd mentions) would be good.
The wise do not always start out on the right path, but they do know when to change course.


Guests, join the CheeseForum.org community to remove this ad.


Offline chevre au lait

  • Medium Cheese
  • ***
  • Location: British Columbia
  • Posts: 37
  • Cheeses: 3
  • Default personal text
Re: Is it me, or...?
« Reply #10 on: October 13, 2014, 12:39:14 PM »
Oh yes, qdog, it's the subtle differences that trip one up when traveling...I've been in restaurants in the US and innocently asked for a napkin, to wipe my fingers on, of course!  I gather that "serviette" is the only proper word for that item.  And in England, someone at the next table asked for the pepper, so I passed him the shaker with the single hole on top, rather than the five holes.  "That would be the salt, now, wouldn't it", he said archly.  I'd only ever seen the reverse!

So nowadays, with energy efficient appliances, hot water tanks are cold to the touch, and fridges no longer shed enough heat to keep a cat happily napping on top of one.  My friend constructed a warming-box for me, for rising bread dough in, due to the lack of anything that makes heat as a by-product.  I wonder if that would be suitable for cheese, or if lingering bread yeast would interfere...I would have thought that bread yeast liked bread dough, but the cheese book warns about cross-contamination by microbes from other fermentation projects.  I will try it, because with my luck so far, what's the worst that can happen?  Bread-flavoured cheese?

Offline JeffHamm

  • Old Cheese
  • *****
  • Location: Auckland, New Zealand
  • Posts: 2,677
  • Cheeses: 160
  • As goes the cheesemaker, so goes the cheese
Re: Is it me, or...?
« Reply #11 on: October 13, 2014, 03:24:53 PM »
Yes, the tank itself is insulated enough that it doesn't shed heat, but the pipes that come out of it, they get warm enough to keep the closet warmer. 

In Nova Scotia we have taps and faucets, chesterfields are sofas which are couches, we had bureaus for our clothes, serviettes and napkins were the same thing, we drank pop, while sodas were pop and icecream, salt was the single holed shaker though (it runs faster, so the multi holed one gave too much I guess) but those were only home ones as in a restaurant they were all the same multi-holed variety, and I'm sure there are others.

The wise do not always start out on the right path, but they do know when to change course.

Offline chevre au lait

  • Medium Cheese
  • ***
  • Location: British Columbia
  • Posts: 37
  • Cheeses: 3
  • Default personal text
Re: Is it me, or...?
« Reply #12 on: October 14, 2014, 12:12:46 PM »
Update on the semi-lactic cheese:  it's basically solidified milk.  Tastes like generic milk.  Pretty much the same as the Faisselle, which when I put it on toast, tasted like toast with something cold on top of it.  So, same-day cheese, albeit unpasteurized, doesn't have any off flavours.  The P St P has a pleasant, sour tang, as well as an undernote that I can't quite identify...sort of sooty, smoky...I remember sitting near someone on a bus, who had a similar smell about them, when I was a child.  I'm wondering if hoarding the milk for several days is where I'm going wrong....

Offline JeffHamm

  • Old Cheese
  • *****
  • Location: Auckland, New Zealand
  • Posts: 2,677
  • Cheeses: 160
  • As goes the cheesemaker, so goes the cheese
Re: Is it me, or...?
« Reply #13 on: October 14, 2014, 02:37:19 PM »
Hmm,  could be the mutli-day milk.  Try another semi-lactic, but this time add a bit of white mould to it (PC, from a brie or cam) and age it out until the mould covers it.  Try it then and see how it tastes.  Since it starts off fine, let's see if anything happens during the aging process.  Then, it could be storage conditions or it could still be native flora that needs more time to produce the off flavours.  Either way, we're starting to get somewhere.  :)
The wise do not always start out on the right path, but they do know when to change course.