Goat Cheese Introduction
- Cheese is comprised of curds and whey. These are the same curds and whey you remember hearing about in the Little Miss Muffet nursery rhyme as a kid.
- Curds are the solids that are skimmed off to make the cheese.
- The whey is the remaining liquid. It contains milk sugar (up to 5%) albuminous protein and minerals. It can be used as a liquid substitute in bread making, as a soup stock. The whey is the same product you buy in the health food, nutrition and grocery stores as a dried protein product. You will pay a lot for it in a its dried, processed form, so make the most of your whey at home. It makes a delicious ricotta when made from the left over whey of mozzarella recipes, but there are other whey-based cheeses that can also be made.
- There are over 500 kinds of cheeses
- Milk can be curdled with animal rennet (an enzyme), vegetable rennet (which is usually kosher) or acids such as vinegar or lemon juice. If you have a recipe that calls for citric starter and you don't have any, you can substitute the juice of one lemon juice for one teaspoon of citric starter. Ball Fruit Fresh can also serve as a citric starter.
- Curdling requires heating the milk, but it is important to be very detailed oriented regarding the specific heat called for. ALWAYS use a thermometer.
- Soft cheeses are not typically pressed, but you can try it. Mozzarella is occasionally pressed to provide a specific presentation for an application.
- Hard cheeses are pressed and aged while stored on a clean, hard surface at a constant temperature of 55 degrees F and a relative humidity of 65% to 85%. For this reason, many home cheese makers will need a specific refrigerator in which to age your cheeses.
- The stage of lactation at which a doe's milk is produced has a significant effect on how the curd stretches. Milk produced within the first two months of lactation will make a curd that stretches well, but you must be careful not to use too much acid because the curd will stretch well, but never become solid. Later in the lactation cycle, the curd will not stretch as easily and more citric acid will be required.
- Be careful with using calcium chloride in recipes that do not call for it. Calcium chloride will prevent curds from stretching.
How to create the highest quality cheeses