Monday, August 20, 2012

Contemplating Flavor for our Goats Milk Cheddar

Zach and I made our second cheese the other night using the milk from our Alpine goat Esther. The first cheese we made was a simple goat cheese made by heating the milk to 180 degrees and separating the curd with apple cider vinegar, then you drain the whey and salt the cheese. Very simple, (I wrote a post, Making Goat Cheese a couple of years back. It was before we got our dairy goats, but it still has some valuable info). The results were...ok. Esther's milk does not have a "goat-y" flavor at all, which we were glad about in drinking milk, butter, cream etc, but a little disappointed in cheese making. I like goat cheese because of that zing or tang. I've bought goats milk from the grocery store and made goat cheese and it has a much goat-y-er (is that a word?) flavor. Her milk is very cow's milk tasting, sweet and buttery. For those of you who have never tasted goat's milk or goat's cheese, the best way I can describe the flavor I'm after is a sort of zing that reminds me of the after taste in a good plain Greek yogurt, or maybe sour cream. It kinda gets you on the back of the tongue with a touch of dryness almost like in a dry wine.

There are many factors that affect the flavor of milk and cheese. One being the breed of goat. Esther is an Alpine, which as far as I've learned, her milk is supposed to have a lower butterfat content and a mild to medium goat flavor. Nubians have a high butterfat and the milk is supposed to be the sweetest and most cow like, but they don't produce as much as an Alpine and don't milk as long. Nubians are the Jersey cows of the goat world. Our plan with Esther was to use her milk for cheese making, and the Nubian milk for butter and drinking milk. Another factor is the health of the goat, what is in the goat's feed, the quality of hay and grain.

Beyond the goat, the next factor in milk flavor is how the milk is handled. The longer it takes to cool the milk the more goat flavor you will taste. Since we're new at this, we've been chilling the milk as fast as possible for sanitary reasons. I chill the milking pail and milk her right into the cold vessel. Then the milk is strained into a chilled glass jar, placed in the freezer for an hour, and then transferred to the fridge. If I loosened up on the chill factor, it might give us more of a goat flavor, but until I learn more about bacteria, souring and safety, I'm sticking to the cold.

We've been doing some research about the cultures and additives you can use in the cheese making process to bring out certain flavors. One of these additives is lipase. Lipase is a natural enzyme used to make cheese more flavorful. In the recipe we used found in the Ricky Carrol book Home Cheese Making, the goat's milk cheddar doesn't call for lipase. We decided to make the first cheese according to her recipe, in hope that in aging the cheese, it might acquire a more tangy flavor. We almost have another 2 gallons collected from the weekend milking, so we plan on making another batch, this time adding lipase. After we age the cheese for three months, we'll do a taste test and see which one we like best.

I'm going to be sharing our cheese making process in my next post.  

No comments:

Post a Comment

Post a Comment