Frozen vs Fresh Chevre Comparison

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABoth batches of chevre, both made with fresh raw milk but one with proportionally more rennet, were ready to eat today so I did a side by side comparison. The difference is amazing. You can see some of the textural differences in the photo above but its actually much more dramatic in person.The batch with less rennet (proportionally) than the recipe called for turned out great. It can smoothly be spread on bread or a cracker or pressed into a log. Herbs and spices can easily be mixed in with a fork. It is a bit too soft to be crumbled onto a salad like feta, but since I mostly eat it spread on crackers or veggies I prefer it on the soft side!


The over ripened batch with too much rennet is very firm- almost the texture of a grocery store cheddar. I put a portion of it in a mold when it was draining and this small round sliced smoothly and was actually quite nice in a caprese salad. The unmolded curds are very strange, though. They are somewhat like the squeaky cheese curds you can sometimes find sold as “Cheese Curds” but the flavor is a bit sour and the texture isn’t very palatable. It does not spread at all but thankfully it does melt and is nice melted on a piece of toast or crumbled on top of hot stew. It would also probably work well in a melted dip. Because of the sourness of the flavor, it is best mixed with other flavors that balance it out.

The over ripened batch will not go to waste, but I’m very relieved to have discovered why my chevre was turning out so firm as of late so that I can go back to my soft, spreadable chevre!


Related Posts: Frozen vs Fresh Chevre, Fresh Chevre Update


Fresh Chevre

Chevre with a proper amount of ripening

Chevre with a proper amount of ripening

After yesterday’s disappointing batch of chevre I was eager to get another batch started and have a success this time.

Chevre Experiment #1 : 1 gallon of fresh, unfrozen milk milked within the last 3-4 days with one packet of rennet/culture mix PLUS an additional 4 cups of frozen milk

Results: I had a much more appropriate amount of ripening with this batch. My curds and whey still separated nicely. I started seeing effects within an hour of adding the culture and after about 8 hours it looked about done, to me.


In this photo you should be able to see how the overly ripened batch formed a very clear separation between the curds (solid) and whey (clear liquid). The curds have dropped down about half an inch below the surface of the whey. The new batch doesn’t have as definite a separation. The curds are still nicely formed but haven’t sunk completely- there are just pools of whey forming on the surface and around edges. I like a soft, spreadable chevre rather than something crumbly like feta, though I have seen both types sold as “chevre”. Therefore, I prefer for my curds to not be too firm. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The difference is easier to see once I start cutting and scooping out the curds as well as when the curds have just been poured into the cheesecloth lined strainer to drain.



I’ll have to wait a few more hours for it to finish draining and refrigerate a bit before the two finished cheeses are ready to be compared side by side.

Butter Bummer

What is the simplest of cultured milk products to make? So simple that my mom teaches her preschoolers how to make it? Butter. You take cream and shake it around in a jar (or a blender) and “ta-da”, butter! How do you mess that up?


Mmmmm. Cream.

What I Did:

I used one pint of local, low temp pasteurized, non homogeonized cow cream left over from making cream cheese. I mixed in half a packet of buttermilk culture and let it ripen for about 12 hours, using this recipe. Then I took the ripened cream in a glass jar, at room temperature, and started shaking. And shaking. I got a lovely thick cream but…that’s it. So I shook some more. And then I put it in the blender. Still nothing but thick cream. I thought- maybe its gotten too warm with all that shaking, so I put it in the fridge. It got fairly firm- kind of like a margarine spread- but it hadn’t actually released any of its buttermilk. So I blended some more, and shook some more. And then got Chris to try shaking it in case I wasn’t shaking it well enough. I even tried straining it through cheesecloth but either nothing came out or I squeezed it and butter started leaking through the holes (i.e., still no separation).

Butter...sort of?

Butter…sort of?

What went wrong?

After doing some internet searching I discovered a couple of important things

1) if you use ripened cream rather than fresh or refrigerated cream, it takes LESS shaking and can happen pretty quickly, especially if the cream is warm to begin with

2) it is possible to mix the buttermilk and butter back together after it “breaks” (separates) and when that happens more shaking just makes it worse

3) while you can use the mixture of butter and buttermilk as a spread, it can’t be used in place of butter in baking (different balance of fats and liquids) and it will spoil much more quickly than real butter

Lesson Learned

Next time, I’ll start off with less shaking and check it more frequently to make sure I catch the “break”.

What Now?

Right now I’m working the butter with a wooden spoon and have been able to remove some of the buttermilk. I’m going to try adding a bit of salt and keep working it to see if I can get more of the buttermilk out. If I can get it a bit firmer with less of the buttermilk flavor I think it’ll still be useful as a spread, even if it won’t work for baking. I am planning on freezing it in small amounts so hopefully that will let me avoid the problem of spoilage.

Thankfully I didn’t actually “need” butter and didn’t have any plans for using it. I had a pint of cream left over after making cream cheese and didn’t want it to go to waste, so I was mostly just looking for a way to use it. I’ve heard that cream doesn’t freeze very well but butter does, so I figured it would be quick and easy to just turn it into butter and freeze it for later.

Has anyone else failed at making butter? Where did you go wrong?


Goat Milk Cream Cheese Experiment

cream cheese

Cream Cheese is normally made from, well, cream. Hence the name. But its really hard to separate out the cream from goat milk. It doesn’t separate the way cow milk does. You can skim a little bit off the top of a jar after letting it sit in the fridge, but not an inch or more like you can with raw cow milk. But I want to make cream cheese pound cake using home made cream cheese. So I decided to experiment and see what happened if I used a cream cheese recipe but used whole goat milk instead of cow milk + cow cream.

I used the recipe for cream cheese using buttermilk culture and rennet but with one gallon of whole, raw goat milk rather than 1 gallon of cow milk + 1 pint of cream. I probably should have added an extra pint (at least) of goat milk to make up for the missing cream, oops. Because I used less cream, my milk ripened more quickly than the recipe indicated. I let it sit over night and so I didn’t get around to checking it until it had been ripening for about 10 hours and the curds had all sunk below the whey so I went ahead and strained off the whey and proceeded to follow the instructions for draining. I let it drain for about 7 or 8 hours and by that time it was pretty firm and I decided I didn’t want it to get any dryer so I removed it from the cheese cloth and put it in the fridge.
My first thoughts on tasting it are that it just tastes like normal chevre. I’ll let it sit in the fridge over night and tomorrow I’ll taste it side by side with the chevre I made a couple of days ago and see if I notice any difference. I haven’t decided yet if I’m going to try to make pound cake with this “cream cheese” or not. I may try a batch of cream cheese using goat milk for the milk portion but adding a pint of cow cream. It would be interesting to compare the results. I don’t have access to raw cow milk/cream but I can get locally raised low-heat pasteurized, non homogenized cow milk and cream which should still work fine for cheese making.