After the first attempt at making cream cheese with nothing but goat milk I realized something important. Its called “cream cheese” because, unlike most cheeses, it contains CREAM. If I had thought about it before, I had assumed the name was just because it was soft and creamy compared to a hard cheese or a crumbly cheese. Perhaps that is part of the reason, but it only has that creamy texture because it is, in fact, made with cream. The attempt to make cream cheese without cream gave me, more or less, chevre. No loss there, I’m always happy to have more chevre, but its not what I wanted. So I tried again.
I used the recipe from cheesemaking.com again and the same Buttermilk culture but this time I followed the recipe more closely and used the pint of cow cream that it calls for. The only changes I made were to use goat milk instead of cow milk and to decrease the rennet by one drop*.
At first I was uncertain about this batch because after draining it smelled a bit funky. Cheese always has a certain aroma at this stage but it doesn’t usually smell like spoiled milk. This time it did. I thought for sure that it was ruined but I decided to put it in a bowl and leave it in the refrigerator over night. The next morning I tried it and it tasted fine. I even gave some to an unsuspecting guest and she pronounced it tasty. In retrospect I think that one of the cheese cloths I used to drain the cheese may not have been perfectly clean. I soak my cheese cloths in hot water with bleach after using them and then wash them in the laundry machine with hot water, but its possible that this particular cloth didn’t soak long enough or in hot enough water. Once I removed the cheese from the vicinity of the cloth, most of the smell went away as well. Thankfully it doesn’t seem to have tainted the cheese itself. I will certainly be more careful about cleaning my cheesecloths in the future!
I used some of the cream cheese to make Cream Cheese Pound Cake which turned out really yummy. I also used fresh eggs from my mom’s chickens (mine aren’t laying yet) which gave the batter a wonderfully rich, yellow color.
I had a hard time getting the centers to cook fully without burning the edges but I’m not sure if this was because I used homemade cream cheese instead of commercial cream cheese or because of something else. I haven’t made pound cake in many years, so its entirely possible that the problem was with my baking skills rather than the ingredients used! Even with slightly burnt edges, the pound cakes turned out delicious, especially when served with the fresh black berries and blue berries my mom and godmother brought me from their own gardens!
*I have heard that when you use raw milk you should decrease the rennet slightly on account of the enzymes and things still alive in your milk. Most home cheese makers don’t have access to raw milk, so most recipes are written with the assumption that you are using pasteurized milk.