The cheeses I made using different milks have been maturing for 14 days, so its time to crack them open for a tasting session!
Cheese made from different milks
From top left to right: Ellie’s Dairy raw goat milk, Ivy House Jersey mixed with Ellie’s Dairy raw goat milk, Ivy House Jersey milk, Taste the Difference Jersey milk, Sainsbury’s Basic whole milk.
The first thing to note is that there is a fair bit of natural blue mould growth this time around. I used the mild white mould geotrichum candidum rather than the aggressive penicillium camembertii as I wanted the flavour to develop naturally and aggressive moulds can overtake the flavour. However, being less aggressive, geotrichum candidum can also act as a blank canvas for other moulds to grow on.
Since I had no idea what moulds would develop (good / bad), I decided to take on this tasting on my own, rather than sharing around any potential illness – all in the name of cheese science!
Ellie’s Dairy Raw Goat
Ellie's Dairy raw goat
First up, the Ellie’s Dairy raw goat milk cheese – note the mottled rind, which is remarkably thin, rather than the thick, leathery coat of the previous cheeses I’ve made.
Ellie's Dairy raw goat cheese cut open
Cutting it open shows a beautiful white curd, with the rind under a millimetre thick. In the firm paste, the flavour is huge – smooth and goaty, with just a hint of butteryness. The natural blue mould adds a little aftertaste which is quite interesting.
Ellie’s Dairy Raw Goat & Ivy House pasteurised Jersey mix
Jersey & goat curd mixed
Next up, an experiment in itself – when the St Helen’s farm goat milk failed to coagulate at all, I decided to mix up a couple of the curds – Jersey and goat. These are two completely different types of milk, so I didn’t really know what would happen. Jersey is full of fat, and a bright yellow colour, whereas goat curd is less fatty, and sheer white. Note that this cheese shows both natural blue and non-natural fluffy white mould, due to cross-contamination between another batch in the same fridge.
Jersey / goat mixed curd cheese
How cool does that look?! The Jersey curd was showing a yellow, broken down line right the way through the cheese. Interestingly, the Jersey curd had reduced a lot in depth – when I ladelled them they were pretty much equal, but after maturing, it seems the white paste of the goat milk dominates.
Cutting into the cheese it’s obvious that something’s not quite right with it. The skin is very slippery, and almost seems detached from the the paste inside. Scooping up the slice as best I could, with a dribble of Jersey seeping out, I bit into it. The flavour wasn’t altogether unpleasant, it just wasn’t very nice. The pastes were so different, with the fatty Jersey wrapping round the goat flavour and making it a bit acrid.
Ivy House Farm pasteurised Jersey
Ivy House Farm cheese
Ivy House Farm Jersey cheese next. The skin was a little bit loose from the inner paste, with a slight yellow breakdown below the rind.
Ivy House Farm cheese
The paste itself was quite firm, with a buttery, mild flavour, followed by a pleasant aftertaste. The fatty breakdown below the rind softened it even further, making it very easy to bite through. This cheese showed least amount of natural blue mould, and ended up sitting in my (actual) fridge for a fair few days after the tasting, being consumed alongside other shop-bought cheeses.
Taste the Difference pasteurised Jersey
Taste the Difference cheese
Next up, the Taste the Difference Jersey milk, which showed a fair amount of blue mould, and surprisingly little white. There were fairly large areas completely uncovered by natural or inoculated mould, which is a little strange.
Taste the Difference cheese
Unfortunately there’s not much to say about this cheese in terms of tasting. It was literally so uninspiring I actually wrote down in my notes: “nothing”.
Sainsbury's Basic cheese
Cheese made from Sainsbury’s basic milk was the one I was most excited about trying. The others – raw goat milk, good quality pasteurised cow milk – I expected to perform well, but I had no idea what would happen with this one. The curd was weak from coagulation, but through some careful flipping and gentle handling, it prevailed with only the tiniest loss of curd, and a tiny blob of disconcertingly black mould, which I decided against eating.
Sainsbury's whole milk cheese
Seriously. What on earth is that?! It’s a complete mix of textures and pastes – liquid on the right hand side, yet firm and pasty on the left. I sampled a few different areas of the cheese to see if it made a difference to the flavour, but unfortunately it didn’t. I was really hoping that I might be able to write that the cheese was outstanding, or at least reasonable, but the reality is it was rank. The paste was bitter, the aftertaste made me wince, not to mention the fact it smelt strangely of chlorine.
Homemade cheese tasting plate
Laid out in true cheese tasting fashion, the above plate shows clockwise from top: Ellie’s Dairy raw goat, Jersey / goat mixed curd, Ivy House Farm Jersey, Taste the Difference Jersey, Sainsbury’s Basic.
In summary I think the conclusion is clear – better quality milk gives better quality cheese. Not exactly groundbreaking stuff, but at least now you know: don’t make cheese from bad milk, the results won’t be pretty!