Hi ilkerkovak, welcome, good question!
From my book French Cheeses
, it says:
- Story is that Valençay was originally totally 4 sided pyramidal shaped, but that Napoleon upon return from his disastrous (for him)campaign in Egypt, stopped at castle of Valencay and as the cheese reminded him of of the Egyptian pyramids, in rage chopped off the top with his sword.
- Method is drained curd is cast in mold, then removed, covered with salted charcoal ashes, and ripened for 3 weeks in well ventilated room at 80% humidity, after which covered in covered in natural mold.
- Production is farmstead, artisan or industrial,
- AOC granted in 1998.
- Classified as uncooked and unpressed cheese made from raw whole goats milk.
- 2.4 in square at base, 1.4 in square at top, 7.1-8.8 ounces per cheese, minimum 45% fat,minimum 3.2 ounce dry matter.
Wikipedia has similar info
as mostly from this book.
That book also says for goat milk cheese:
- Coagulation is is usually caused by lactic fermentation.
- A ferment, also called starter culture is mixed in to the milk, after which the milk is left overnight and turns sour.
- In morning it is heated to 64-68F, a very small amount of rennet is added and the milk rests another 24 hours.
- Uncut curds are ladled into the molds which allow whey to run out the base and sides.
- Cheese is cured dry in a cool well ventilated room at 52F and 80% humidity, which is relatively dry compared to cellars at 90-100% humidity.
- Drying process of rind and pate must be balanced, otherwise the rind will wrinkle and the whey left in the pate will stick to it from the inside.
- Blue mold will appear naturally on rind, a covering of powdered oak charcoal helps to create an environment conducive to its development.
Note, picture shows cheesemaker also patting charcoal on bottom of flat topped pyramid shaped cheese.
Last summer in 2009 my family and I visited France where I took several pictures
of an open air cheese market in Versailles outside Paris. Several had flat top pyramid shaped cheeses covered in ash, one was labelled Valencay, I've cropped and attached the picture below, see cheeses at bottom of picture.
So in summary, in looks like an ash coated lactic acid coagulated raw goat's milk Chevre, there are lots more info on these types of cheeses here
FYI, these pyramid molds are quite common, I've also bought some
but have yet to use
Hope helps, have fun!