Thursday, October 28, 2010

Chevre experiment

When I teach cheesemaking classes, I always say that you have to use pasteurized milk for chevre, and someone usually asks why, and I always have to say that I don't know. Well, I know now! We still have an abundance of milk, and we have so much cheese already in storage that I decided to try chevre with raw milk yesterday.

When I took it out of the mold today, I immediately knew there was a problem, because it looked like this.

It should be much smoother. I'm not saying it should be smooth as glass, but there shouldn't be hundreds of tiny holes. It also felt wrong. It felt spongy, rather than firm. So, I pulled it apart, and I saw this.

The inside should look smooth like cream cheese. We've seen tiny bubbles in cheddar before, and it means that the starter culture has failed. I imagine that's what happened here. Whatever bacteria is in the culture wasn't strong enough to overcome the natural bacteria in the milk. It doesn't necessarily smell bad, so it's going to the pigs.

For the record, I am using the chevre direct set culture from New England Cheesemaking. I suspect that if I were making chevre with a mesophilic culture and rennet, it would probably work. But that's an experiment for another day.


Alaska Shetland Shepherd said...

Hi Deborah! When I've seen this in my chevre, it's from milk left out too long before starting the cheesemaking process. I have found that as soon as I'm done milking, I need to take the warm strained milk in immediately to the kitchen, add the french culture (I always use imported culture and rennet), once blended add the rennet, and cover to let rest for 24 hours. When the milk has been left to sit for a few hours before starting the process, I get 'rotten cheese' like you show in the photos and I give it to the dogs as a treat. I've always made chevre from raw goats milk and it turns out beautifully. It freezes exceptionally well too. I've been making it for years that way!

Alaska Shetland Shepherd said...

I'll add a PS -
for what it's worth, I've had guests who've tasted my chevre and complimented it heavily. One was a friend from France that always brings back fresh Chevre (made from raw milk) from France when she goes home to visit. She said that mine is equal to or better than the best she's been able to buy over there. Even tho they passed a law that cheesemakers there must use pasteurized milk, many still sell raw milk cheeses which are still cherished most by those there who love real cheese! I considered it a huge compliment that she loved my chevre!

LindaG said...

Thanks for sharing this with us. :)

Amy said...

Thanks for sharing that information. The pasteurization process probably denatures the proteins a bit as well so that the bacteria can do its work. That's what I think happens with yogurt as well. But I'm already a believer in pasteurizing after having done much research on the subject.

Deborah @ Antiquity Oaks said...

Alaska Shetland Shepherd, I've found that some cultures that work with pasteurized milk just don't work with raw milk. I had this problem with yogurt until someone recommended a different culture, and it works fine with raw milk. What culture do you use, and from what company? It sounds like you've found a winner!

Twwly said...

I make chevre with meso, never pasteurize for home use, never looks like that! I order from Glengarry in Ontario, but have used cultures from the Hoegger Supply catalogue as well, with great results.

Darcy Carmichael said...

I have only ever made chevre from raw milk and I have been making it for at least 3 years. I use kefir for my starter.


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