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I have been making goat cheese the easy way for years: I heat a gallon of goat milk to 190 degrees, add 1/2 cup of white vinegar, stir it up and strain it through a cheese cloth. Then, after seasoning, I press it in my cheese press and then chill. This has always been a no fail recipe but lately I have had a couple batches that did not form curds. Instead, the milk separated (whey and solid) but the solid was just a creamy mass, thicker than pudding but with no discernable curds. I pressed it for a half hour but still, it is a squishy, yicky mess and it has a bitter after taste to boot.

Has anyone had a similar experience or some idea what might have gone wrong?

Miriam
 

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Big Bird
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I have absolutely know idea what I'm talking about with this as I have no experience with cheese making at all, but something has changed. Are you using the same brand vinegar? Is the acidity the same? What about seasonings? Have you changed those? Any differences with the milk apart from trying to make cheese?
 

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DayBird said:
I have absolutely know idea what I'm talking about with this as I have no experience with cheese making at all, but something has changed.
LOL! But you're right, something has changed---the milk! Beginners usually aren't aware of it, but milk varies widely over the duration of a lactation, even in one doe. And when you have several, it can be very confusing.

What I bet the original poster is dealing with is late lactation milk. Either that or milk from a doe with subclinical mastitis. Either way, the somatic cell count is up in the milk, and it's fouling up curd formation.

There's no real way to change it (except freshen the doe), but you can change the type of cheese you're making to allow for the differences. Using late lactation milk, with its high butterfat, makes for an exceptionally nice chevre, and it bypasses the somatic cell problem totally. It's different than vinegar cheese, but not harder to make, and it's very versatile. You can make all sorts of things with it---cheesecake, lasagne, chip dip, or just eat it plain.
 

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I agree, its mastitis in the doe, or very late lactation. Test your does to find the culprit, and remove her from the rotation while you treat, or dry of does who have been milking a long time...
 

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shelbynteg said:
I agree, its mastitis in the doe, or very late lactation. Test your does to find the culprit, and remove her from the rotation while you treat, or dry of does who have been milking a long time...
Thank you all for your suggestions. That could very well be the problem. I only have two does and they are in late lactation. I have decided to dry them both off and have brought the Billy over to see them. I have plenty of frozen milk to get by on until they freshen.

I guess I will use this cheese in cooking. I found out that it has a bit of an "off" flavor too. That seemed to suggest the mastitis idea but the milk shows no signs of mastitis, ie: stringyness or blood.----(IDEA!) Could be that I left some of the milk raw and pasturized part of it. Normally I pasturize all of it but I thought that the raw milk might help the culture.

At any rate, I don't want to milk when I have "Billy" in with them.
 

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MiriamD said:
I found out that it has a bit of an "off" flavor too. That seemed to suggest the mastitis idea but the milk shows no signs of mastitis, ie: stringyness or blood.----
Take it from experience, you don't necessarily have to "see" signs of mastitis for there to actually BE mastitis.. I would have her milk cultured just to be on the safe side so if it is, you can nip it in the bud and safe your self a whole lot of greif, headaches, $$ etc.. etc..

I use my milk raw all the tim e to make cheese and it always turns out good.. I don't think mixing the two, raw and pasturized would have an effect, but I did notice my cheese funked up right before my doe ended up with a nasty case of mastitis..
 

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MiriamD said:
That seemed to suggest the mastitis idea but the milk shows no signs of mastitis, ie: stringyness or blood.
Lumps and flakes in the milk, or blood, are all symptoms of acute mastitis; subacute is before that stage, when maybe you see an udder getting lopsided, or the cheese curd is acting odd. Nothing glaring.

If you're going to dry her up anyway, be sure to dry treat her so she won't freshen with mastitis next year.

MiriamD said:
----(IDEA!) Could be that I left some of the milk raw and pasturized part of it. Normally I pasturize all of it but I thought that the raw milk might help the culture.
When you make vinegar cheese, you're already bringing all the milk up to far above pasteurizaton temperatures in the process.
 

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I am milking 2 Alpines. A while back I noticed that their milk was tasting "funny". One of my does had a bit of a discharge also so I started her on penicillin injections for 5 days. After that the milk tasted fine. I don't know if that penicillin could have cleared up some sort of mastitis or not, but the milk did taste fine again. The milk had no signs of mastitis at all. Nothing but the "funny" taste that they didn't have when I first bought them. I agree that if you are going to dry them up I would dry treat both of them since you don't know which one of them it is. I also had a batch of cheese that wouldn't form curd. I thought it was me goofing something up until I read that a light case of mastitis could cause this also.
 

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We are able to buy raw goat milk from a wonderful dairy in SC.
When I got a pound of their goat cheese I noticed it was pasteurized.

Is there something different about cheese that would require this? Or, is it a need to sell it in local grocery stores that forces the whole batch to be done that way?
 
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