Fresh and soft cheeses
Q. My first batch of Chevre was sweet and creamy. I made another batch, and it was much tangier and lumpy. Could it be because it sat longer during the draining process?
A. A longer drain time will result in more acid development, which in turn will lead to a drier, less creamy final cheese.
Q. I know the directions state 1 gallon to 1 packet. Is this literal, or is there a range that can be used? Like up to 2 or 4 gallons. I ask because i have seen other cultures sold where their directions will state a specific amount is good for 2-4 gallons but the actual culture amount does not change.
A. There is always a specific amount of culture to use. It usually depends on the specific cheese and milk being used..
The info on those other packs you mention is a very general guide and not targeted to a specific cheese. Our packet is designed for that specific amount of goat milk
Using more or less milk will result in under or over ripening.
Q. With my first batch of curd cheese, the finished curds are not firm and rubbery and there is no squeak.
A. Once made, Cheese Curds only squeak for a short time. When you put them in the fridge, they no longer seem squeaky after a few days. That's why they're best eaten fresh. If they aren't squeaky when eaten fresh, you may have left too much moisture in the final cheese.
The curds barely formed. I was worried, but as I had added all the acid, I decided to let it sit and be patient. Total flop. It remained the consistency of runny yogurt and never solidified.
Should I have added more acid because it was farm-fresh milk? If so, like double? Ricotta has also been frustrating to me. I find it difficult to achieve curd formation. The whey is extremely milky and the yield of cheese very low.
A. It's the high temperature and acid addition that make these cheeses.
Once the milk reaches the high temperature and the acid is added and stirred in, allow it to set still for a few minutes and watch for small flakes to form. You will likely need more acid with this milk due to the high solids of the Jersey milk, so mix double the acid. Use half of this to start, then wait a couple minutes to see if flakes form. If not, add a bit more acid and repeat. Keep repeating small additions until you see a result of flakes forming. If it works, note the % of acid solution used and use that for future batches.
On a side note, you mention using your "surplus" milk and if that is more than 2-3 days old or already developing its own acidity, it may be past the point of making ricotta or paneer.