Goat Blue Cheeses!
...And How to Store Blue Cheese
Reading Time: 5 minutes
Most people don’t think of blue and goat being in the same cheese sentence. Cow milk blues are indeed far more common. But I find there is something extra special about pairing the complexity of goat milk’s flavor with the richness of a good blue mold. The two blue cheeses here are among my favorites.
The first recipe is so very simple but it is also different from many other blue cheeses. Most of the time, we think of blue “veins” inside that wedge of blue cheese. These occur from piercing the cheese to allow oxygen into the center which the blue mold needs to grow. But with this blue log, which I call “Blue Caprine,” the blue is limited to the outside of the log making for a very dramatic contrast with the creamy white interior. This is basically a cross between blue cheese and chévre.
- HEAT: Heat one gallon of pasteurized goat milk to 72 degrees F.
- CULTURE & RIPEN: Sprinkle 1/8 tsp Mesophilic culture on the surface of the milk. Then add just a pinch of Penicillium roqueforti. Let sit for a minute or two to rehydrate and then stir in. Cover and let “ripen” for two hours.
- COAGULATE: Dilute two drops of liquid rennet in 1/4 cup non-chlorinated water and then stir gently into ripened milk. Cover pot and let sit at room temp for 12-20 hours (longer = stronger flavor).
- SCOOP: Gently ladle the curds into fine butter muslin. Tie opposite corners of the cloth together to form a bag and hang to drip for about 12-20 hours (longer = dryer texture).
- SALT: Remove the cheese from the cheesecloth and place in a bowl. Sprinkle up to 1/4 tsp of non-iodized salt on it and work the salt into the cheese with a fork.
- SHAPE: Form the curd into several logs using clean hands. I usually do 4 or 5 smaller logs but you can make one or two larger logs if you prefer.
- AGE: Place these logs in an aging container (a container with an inverted lid and a sanitized plastic needlepoint sheet works well) and age with the lid on the container in a 50-55 degree aging space. (Tip: a dorm-sized refrigerator set to its warmer temperature setting will do the trick!) Rotate the wheels every few days so that all sides get plenty of air. Age for two to four weeks. The logs will start getting blue on the outside within the first week or so, will be bright blue by the end of the second week, and then will start to turn more gray and black.
- WRAP: Once the blue starts to fade, wrap the log in foil and age for another week or two. Taste it along the way to see how the flavor is developing and eat when it is just the way you like it!
The second cheese is also a crossover recipe. It combines a Camembert-style “bloomy rind” cheese with a blue Gorgonzola-type of cheese and is commonly known as Cambozola. Of course, if you buy Cambozola in a cheese shop, it’s most likely going to have been made from cow milk. So, I call this goat milk version “Caprizola!” This cheese will have a white bloomy rind and a white interior, with some blue spots inside from the addition of blue mold powder added directly to the curds in the center of the cheese. You will need to pierce it to help those blue spores grow, making it more like many other blue cheeses you have probably had. But rather than actual veins, this blue will just have flecks due to the creaminess of the interior.
- HEAT: Heat one gallon of pasteurized goat milk plus one cup of heavy cream (goat or cow) to 70 degrees F.
- CULTURE & RIPEN: Sprinkle 1/8 tsp Mesophilic culture on the surface of the milk. Then add 1/16 tsp Penicillium candidum. Stir cultures into the milk while continuing to heat to 86 degrees F. Cover and let “ripen” for 15 minutes.
- COAGULATE: Dilute 1/8 tsp of liquid rennet in 1/4 cup non-chlorinated water and then stir gently into ripened milk. Cover pot and let sit at room temp for one hour.
- CUT: Cut the curd into ½ inch cubes. Let rest for five minutes.
- STIR: Gently stir curds for 10 minutes.
- SCOOP: Scoop curds into a cloth-lined colander and let drain 10 minutes.
- FILL FORM(S) #1: Fill one or more cheese molds or baskets with half of the curds. Let stand 15 minutes.
- ADD BLUE MOLD SPORES: Sprinkle 1/16 tsp of Penicillium roqueforti on top of the curds.
- FILL FORM(S)#2: Fill the forms with the rest of the curds.
- DRAIN: Allow the curds to drain until firm enough to flip (one to two hours).
- FLIP: Flip the cheese in its form (or if in a basket, take it out, flip it and return it to the basket). Allow to continue draining for eight to 10 hours or overnight.
- SALT: Remove the cheese from the forms and sprinkle all sides with ½ tsp salt for smaller wheels or up to 1 tsp for larger wheels.
- AGE: Place these wheels in an aging container and age with the lid on the container in a 50-55 degree aging space. Flip the wheels every day, removing any excess whey.
- PIERCE: After about four days, pierce the top and sides of each wheel with a sanitized skewer or knitting needle. Return to container and continue flipping daily until completely covered in a white, bloomy rind (approximately 10-12 days).
- WRAP: Once completely covered in a bloomy rind, wrap with two-ply mold-ripened cheese wrap and continue aging two to four weeks longer.
Now, when it comes to storing blue cheeses, the most common wrap is foil. One reason for this is that the foil blocks the ultraviolet light that can have an adverse effect on the flavor of blue cheeses. The foil also keeps oxygen out of your cheese so that the blue doesn’t take over. You can achieve this limited oxygen exposure with plastic wrap, too, but the plastic won’t keep the ultraviolet light at bay, so foil is the preferred wrap for blues. For the Caprizola, since the exterior is more like a Camembert, I like to wrap it in two-ply cheese paper made specifically for mold-ripened cheeses.
I hope you’ll try these two recipes as you find yourself with an excess of delicious goat milk this season!
Kate Johnson is the owner and lead instructor of The Art of Cheese, a cheesemaking school featuring in-person and virtual classes teaching all kinds of cheeses (www.theartofcheese.com). Kate also raises Registered Nubian Dairy Goats at Briar Gate Farm in Longmont, Colorado (www.briargatefarm.com).
Originally published in the May/June 2021 issue of Goat Journal and regularly vetted for accuracy.