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!