Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Understanding cheese

I'm no expert on cheese, that's for sure, but I do know that you can't judge a cheese by tasting it or seeing it one time or at one age.  Above is a soft, moldy (penicillium candidum) goat cheese, which is one of my favorites.  I know it doesn't look very appetizing but if you like goat cheese with a little punch you may like it too.  This one is about a month old or older.

Today a friend of mine posted a picture on Facebook of a similar cheese and said it wasn't as pretty as mine but it was much softer.  I think he's in Austria now but I thought he was eating a French cheese.  Maybe I'm wrong about that.  He was in Italy a few days ago so I'm uncertain where this cheese was.  I thought about his remark and realized he was comparing one or 2 cheeses he's had of mine when they were young.  If he would have tasted them a few weeks later they would have been soft and gooey and maybe not that attractive and for sure have a stronger bite.  

I've been making cheeses for 6 or 7 years now and I still feel like such a novice.  I get just as excited and surprised when a cheese is delicious as I was when I first began.  I'm definitely much more consistent in making good cheeses (at least edible ones) these days.  My pigs used to be the recipients of many a bad cheese.  One thing I'm still trying to figure out, but getting better at, is how cow's milk and goat's milk behave differently.  I'm far from understanding how to treat milk (either cow or goat) at different stages of lactation and how much cheese the milk will yield.  I suppose it would help if I kept detailed notes (or any notes, for that matter).  Maybe in a blog 7 years from now I'll be bragging about my cheeses and how I've finally figured it out.  In the meantime I'll keep stirring and cutting curds and hoping for delicious outcomes.

A friend was visiting yesterday and took these pictures.  My favorite is of me and Raisa.  How can a cheese made from this girl's milk be anything but sweet.
My goats are giving me very little milk these days because I haven't separated them from their kids and the kids are big and hungry.  I know I need to do it soon but I hate making that transition.  Lots of tiny udders lately.  I'm not going to get much cheese from these girls as long as kids are on them.


  1. I've tasted your cheeses, and they are phenomenal! (although I have to say, the one in the photo does look a bit icky!)

  2. Karen, I must say that when I first saw the picture, I thought it was a piece of apple pie that had been exposed to the elements too long. But, you can't judge a book (or a cheese for that matter) by its cover. I'm sure it tasted great.