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I tried to make goat cheese following the recipe below, I did not use any buttermilk although a comment indicated that could be done. I kept the milk at the desired temperature for 10-15 minutes with no curdling occuring, took off the stove then added the reccomeneded amount of lemon juice and still no curdling occured.

http://guiltykitchen.com/2010/12/06/back-to-basics-culinary-fundamentals-goat-cheese/

My solution was to put the milk back on the heat until it started to curdle, and then take off the heat and add more lemon juice which produced curds, and then I was able to continue following the recipe. The result was a crumbly cheese that wasn't very spreadable. I used milk from a local farm, it did not have any indication of how pasturized it was.

What did I do wrong? Should I have left the milk on the heat at a stable temperature until is started to curdle?

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3 Answers 3

up vote 2 down vote accepted

Classic Chevre uses a bacterial culture as well as rennet to coagulate the cheese, but that is not the only way to make a goat's cheese. The recipe you linked to doesn't have a long incubation time, so I doubt there's any intention that the buttermilk is inoculating the cheese and there's no rennet. So I think the "bacteria" idea is a red herring.

A very simple goat's cheese can be made with goat's milk and lemon juice. I have had great success with it. It does make a fairly soft cheese, though how soft depends on how long its left to drain.

The recipe I use has 1/3 cup (US) lemon juice to 1 quart milk. I'm in the UK so this works out as 2 lemons per litre. The result is quite "lemony" and you might want to use another acid source (white wine vinegar for instance) but if you keep trying you can home in on what you like.

Simple acid cheeses like reasonably high temperatures. My recipe uses 180 - 185F (which may be hotter than you have used) before adding the lemon juice.

The other thing is, its generally much easier to just let the milk sit after acidification so the curd can develop. 10 minutes is usually enough, but you can always leave it 20 or 30 minutes if the curd is slow to set. The guilty kitchen recipe goes straight to ladling out the curds. That is something you do for a ricotta or high acid cheese (which may sort of be what they are aiming for - I don't cook with buttermilk myself so don't have the experience) but I'd want to let things set a bit first with a simple goat's cheese.

So: warm slowly to 180-185F, add lemon, sit, strain through cheesecloth to the texture you like.

Crumbly may be an indication that its not setting long enough?

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It does sound like it was more of an acid issue, the buttermilk would be more acidic but the culture probably didn't add much. When I had made paneer I certainly used alot more acid but figured there might be reason for the lack of acid in that recipe. If I can get my hands on more raw milk again I'll check out your recipe! –  Manako Jan 31 '13 at 16:29

I'd say the buttermilk was a necessary ingredient that you shouldn't have left out. Milk usually needs to be inoculated with some kind of culture before your rennet (or lemon juice in this case) will successfully curdle it. Buttermilk is cultured (which means it has an active colony of beneficial bacteria), and would work well to inoculate your goat milk.

Leaving that out made the milk much more difficult to curdle, and left you with a less stable curd.

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This makes sense. Buttermilk is more acidic than regular milk. Adding lemon juice makes the mixture even more acidic, causing it to curdle. Leaving the buttermilk out means the mixture is less acidic and so you get less curdling. –  Wayne Johnston Jan 4 '11 at 4:01

I assume by goat cheese you mean chevre. Leave the log at room temperature for a while like you would a stick of butter that needs to be softened. To have soft creamy goat cheese for croutons for a salad, let the cheese come to room temp, put in either the Kitchen Aid mixer or a food processor, add a couple of tablespoons of heavy cream, fresh cracked pepper, process and fines herbs which are tarragon, parsley, and chervil.

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I meant homemade goat cheese, this stuff had a very hard curd and was not about to melt. –  Manako Jan 3 '11 at 19:59

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