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RADA DIARIES: Making goat cheese - Part 2

Published:Thursday | May 17, 2012 | 12:00 AM
Chef Damien Heaney of St Kitts shows off his goat cheese ravioli at the Scotia Private Client Group Jamaica Open Polo tournament at Caymanas Estate on Sunday, April 29, 2012. - Rudolph Brown/Photographer

The number one rule is sanitation. All utensils used in milking must be clean. Use a sanitising solution such as chlorine (bleach) or iodine-based, and rinse equipment properly with clean water. All milk collected should be processed immediately or refrigerated as quickly as possible until ready.

Of note, the variety of bacteria present in the raw milk - compared to that which is pasteurised - will give your cheese its unique taste. Remember that pasteurisation will be requested if the quality of the milk is uncertain.

When making goat cheese, the manufacturer must use glass, stainless steel or enamel-lined utensils - no aluminium, cast iron or zinc implements are to be employed. Also, utensils that come in direct contact with milk must be thoroughly cleaned and sterilised, that is, these must be boiled for 10 minutes. If there is the use of a cheese cloth or another draining bag, these must be rinsed in cool water and washed as soon as possible after each use. These can also be soaked in hot water and baking soda to ensure a sweet-smelling device.

There is always emphasis on cleanliness in all the stages of cheese production. The counter where cheese is being made MUST be cleaned before and after usage. Once these practices have been adhered to, you need to have the following items ready to make goat cheese efficiently:

Stainless steel, enamel or plastic pail

Colander lined with a clean dishcloth or antibacterial multi-use cloths (J Cloths) for filtering the milk

Refrigerator or cold water bath

Economical stainless steel pot of 6-8 or 12-15 litres

Dairy thermometer (20-75C or 68-170F)

Graduated measuring cups and 1-4 litres cups, preferably Pyrex;

Measuring spoons less than/equal to one tablespoon

Stainless steel ladle, slotted spoons, whisk and one long knife

Cheese muslin pieces and muslin draining bags or other thin mesh fabric

Moulds of different sizes and shape for soft cheese

Plastic mats - for drying and ripening

Plastic storage boxes

Tea towels and dishcloths used exclusively for cheese making

Glass jars (if you prepare your own mother culture)

Chlorine bleach for clean up and sanitation of work surface

Baking soda and vinegar to be used as a cleanser for moulds and cheese pots

Coarse salt and vinegar solution kept handy in a plastic container to wipe undesirable moulds off cheeses

Antibacterial dish detergent for sanitation of all cheese making equipment and hands

Lactic starter (mother culture) and coagulants:

- Mesophilic Aromatic B

- Rennet - liquid calf rennet

- Calcium chloride 33 per cent (when using homogenised, pasteurised or frozen milk, to help restabilise milk structure and hasten curd set - can also be used when firm curd is hard to obtain due to changes in animal diet and stage of lactation. Rate of use: same as calf rennet)

And, goat milk!

Here are the essential steps to making goat cheese:

Clean the equipment thoroughly.

Filter and measure the milk.

Cheese can be made at room temperature, e.g., 24 -28C, or heat to 32C.

Add mother culture and let dissolve for two to four minutes before stirring and work well into the milk, using 20 top/bottom strokes.

Add rennet.

Cover the pot and allow the milk to set until firm curd forms. It will take 14-16 hours.

Pour the entire curd mass into a draining bag and let drip for 8-12 hours.

Remove the cream cheese from the bag, add salt (and herb) to taste.

Information supplied by the Communications and Public Relations Department of the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) . For further information contact RADA via 1-888-ASK-RADA or 1-888-275-7232. Visit the RADA website at