Goats in the Morning

August 2009 – my first full week at the goat farm in Provence

Yes I can, when necessary, be a morning person. And how lovely it can be.

Amongst the many benefits beyond beautiful misty landscapes are a chance to chat quietly with Paul Pierre and Isabelle about the many variations and ways of personalizing a person’s goat cheese making. For instance, they use rather little rennit compared to the standard practice. And, they don’t necessarily chill the milk first before putting in the rennit and the whey. They leave it 72 hours rather than just 24 in their 20C/70F room, and the texture of their curdle is quite a bit softer than that of other colleagues.

There are also variations possible depending on how long the cheese is left on the racks in the 20C/70F room, before being put in the dehumidifier. And, it can stay longer in the dehumidifier, if a drier, firmer cheese is preferred. Likewise, the cave d’affinage can be set at 11C or at 14C, depending on the preference of the cheese maker.

Working with live enzymes: the art of fermenting. Temperature, humidity, and so much more play a part. Each cheese maker finds the method that pleases he or she. Trial and error, reading and learning, watching and following, and then off on your own path.

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