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I recently got myself an iSi Creative Whip and have been having a lot of fun playing around with it. Tonight I tried one of iSi's recipes, which uses the following ingredients:

  • 250 g goat cheese
  • 125 g sour cream
  • 125 mL cream
  • 1-2 tbsp olive oil

Preparation is basically to purée the goat cheese, sour cream, and oil, mix in the cream, strain it through a sieve, load it into the whipper, then charge and cool it.

At the denouement, I was greeted with a brief but ominous fizzle followed by an even briefer splatter of yogurt-like liquid, very much like the explosion of snot one witnesses after somebody sneezes a little too hard. After clearing the cheese blobs from my shirt and hair, I proceeded to scrape the remains (which was in fact the majority of what went in there to begin with) with a rubber spatula and spread it on some crisp toast; it was delicious in spite of not even being remotely close to an espuma.

I'm well aware, as the manual makes sure to mention about half a dozen times, that the whipper will fail to perform any actual whipping if the fluid inside is too thick or viscous. I was quite skeptical myself, before charging it in the first place, but until now I haven't really tested the limits of this thing, and I figured, if I was able to strain it through the sieve (with much mashing, I might add) then it would be whippable.

So I already know, superficially, why this failed, but that only leads me to a deeper why which I have been unable to answer myself: Why did this happen with one of iSi's own recipes, found in the very recipe book that is included in the same box as the whipper itself? I have to assume that iSi knows what they're doing and it was me that screwed up; but how? What did I do wrong and how could I have fixed it?

Some possible avenues of investigation:

  • There are a great many different types of goat cheese available; I used the standard soft/unripened type, but there are also goat cheese "spreads" that are probably less rich. Perhaps the recipe was actually referring to one of these?

  • I used ordinary (14%) sour cream; perhaps the fat content was too high and the recipe intended for light or even fat-free sour cream?

  • I had a lot of trouble actually puréeing the mixture; using a blender, I found that the mixture didn't really move around much, so I had to keep scraping it back into the center so that it would hit the blade. The recipe actually says to use a blender or food processor but I assumed that a blender would be better. Should I have used a food processor instead, or maybe even a stick blender? Would any of this have actually made any difference, given that the consistency of the final mixture was very smooth (albeit thick)?

Are any of these likely to be the root cause? Is there anything else I might be overlooking?

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2 Answers

up vote 2 down vote accepted

Goat Cheese is dry compared to many other cheeses. We make a goat cheese pizza but have to moisten the shredded goat cheese with goat milk into a kind of slurry. Very low in lactose and tastes good but it doesnt even melt much because it is so dry. Probably lower in fat too I would guess. If your espuma is too dry try adding more goat milk to the mixture until it just moves in the blender.

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Right, I think this gets at the nut of the problem: a recipe involving goat cheese and sour cream inherently has variables that the OP mentions. You'll necessarily have to use your own judgement to thin it to the correct consistency for situations where that is a critical element of success. –  Michael at Herbivoracious Nov 28 '10 at 15:52
    
So, @Michael and AGuyNamedBob, you think it's the recipe itself that's the problem? Are there goat cheeses you can get that aren't dry? (The one I buy is not even shreddable, it has a similar consistency to blue cheese or brie.) You might be right, but I'm surprised that iSi would publish a recipe with such an obvious error. –  Aaronut Nov 28 '10 at 15:59
    
@aaronut Well, I think two things: (1) there certainly is a range of textures of goat cheese and (2) recipes get published with errors all the time. There was a recipe in Art Culinaire last year for sous vide eggs where the temperature was wrong by 30 degrees F! It is a much bigger deal with these more technical recipes than your more normal "saute til browned" kinds of things. –  Michael at Herbivoracious Nov 28 '10 at 16:17
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I finally got around to trying this again and it actually worked. I actually needed to add quite a bit of milk (I think around half a cup), and I doubled the oil. Of course that landed me with about 30% more liquid than the whipper is capable of handling at a time, so the actual quantities would have to be adjusted too. –  Aaronut Dec 5 '10 at 1:03
    
I should point out that dryness really isn't the problem - the soft unripened goat cheese is really quite moist compared to most cheese (although dryer than something like brie). But it's just way too thick and rich by itself to purée without the help of some liquid. –  Aaronut Dec 5 '10 at 1:04
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I've done a goat cheese recipe. I used heavy cream 40% (light cream is not recommended), a little bit of milk and the goat cheese. I would stay away from oil which can make it fail too. It was perfect.Good luck!

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This question is not about making goat cheese, it's about making an espuma out of goat cheese. Could you explain how this answers the question? –  Aaronut Oct 2 '11 at 16:20
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