Can you believe it’s September already? Neither can we! The summer just flew by for us here at Haltwhistle and we’ve already begun to think about what cheese will be best over the winter. We will be moving away from soft and fresh cheeses and moving toward stronger and harder cheeses that pair best with heavier winter meals and red wines. A great example is our Tomme de Vallée and Belmont. Both are firm goats’ milk cheeses, the Tomme being washed with a ripening culture blend and the Belmont being washed in white wine while ageing.
In August Cory and I had the opportunity to play around with making some lactic cheeses for our cheese club. Lactic cheeses rely primarily on bacterial culture and acidity to coagulate the milk instead of rennet, like most cheeses do. Because of this, lactic cheeses can take up to 24 hours to coagulate before they are ready to go into molds while other cheeses are fully coagulated about an hour after the rennet is added. Once a lactic cheese has coagulated, the very soft, milky curd is carefully ladled out into molds to drain for several days before it will start to resemble a wheel of cheese. The most famous lactic cheese is chèvre, the classic goat cheese that everyone knows and loves. Many of us in North America believe that chèvre is the goat cheese – the one and only. This is why we often surprise people at markets with our array of goat cheeses in all shapes, forms, and firmnesses. Even though chèvre is the most commonly seen and industrially produced goat cheese, any cheese made with cow or sheep’s milk (or yak, camel, horse, etc!) can also be made with goats’ milk. Which is why we make goats’ milk gouda, cheddar, feta, tomme, and Swiss style cheeses, to name just a few.
Speaking of goats’ milk cheeses, we are only a week or two away from starting to release our aged raw-milk goat’s cheeses at market! See you there!