Mixed-milk cheeses are under appreciated in the United States. Mixing milks is an area of true artistry that allows the cheese makers to use two or more complementary types of milk in one cheese. Typically goat and cow milk are blended, though sheep’s milk can be an accent. The cheese-maker is able to work with the various flavors and attributes of each milk and highlight them in one piece of cheese.
Mixing milk from varying species can open up a whole unknown world to the cheese maker. If you are fortunate enough to have access to cow milk, goat’s milk, and/or sheep’s milk, then you can make unique varieties of cheese. You may ask why someone would want to do combination types of milk. There are several reasons:
1. A limited milk supply. If you have animals at the end of their lactation cycles, milk may be in short supply.
2. Goat milk can add value to cow-milk cheese. If you are making a cow-milk cheese and add goat’s milk, you have immediately raised the bar. Mixed-milk cheeses are specialty products.
3. The variety of cheese that can be made immediately expands when using more than one variety of milk.
There are many cheeses that can be made with the mixed milks: cheddar, colby, gouda, even some fresh-cheese varieties. The following recipe has been adapted to use a blend of goat and cow milk. Of thumb, use fewer goat’s milk and more cow milk.
- 1 gallon pasteurized milk (3 quarts cow and 1 quart goat)
- ¼ teaspoon Mesophilic DVI MA culture
- ¼ teaspoon liquid rennet diluted in ½ cup non-chlorinated water
- 1 tablespoon noniodized salt
- Warm the milk to 86°F (30°C). Add the culture and stir in for 1 minute. Allow the milk to ripen for one hour. Add the rennet solution and stir in thoroughly. Allow the milk to set for 1 hour until a clean break is achieved.
- When a clean break has been achieved, cut the curd into ¼-inch (6.5-mm) cubes. Allow the curds to rest for 5 minutes.
- Slowly raise the temperature of the milk to 100°F (37.7°C). It should take as long as 30 minutes to reach this temperature. During this time, gently stir the curds every few minutes so they don’t mat together. Cook the curds at 100°F (37.7°C) for another 30 minutes. Stir the curds infrequently, just enough to keep them from matting.
- Remove the curds from heat and, using a slotted spoon, transfer them into a cheesecloth-lined colander. Work the salt into the curds. (Stop here and go to the next recipe if you want to make cheese curds.) Add the salt quickly and then transfer the curds into a mold. Press the cheese with about 20 pounds (9 kg) of pressure for 45 minutes.
- Remove the cheese from the press and flip it in the mold. Press the cheese with about 40 pounds (18 kg) of pressure for 3 hours.
- Remove the cheese from the press and flip it. Press the cheese with about 50 pounds (22.7 kg) of pressure for 24 hours.
- Remove the cheese from the press. Place the cheese on a cheese board and dry at room temperature for 3 to 5 days until the cheese is dry to the touch.
- Wax the cheese and age it for 3 to 24 months. The longer the cheese is aged, the sharper the flavor it will develop. Be sure to flip the cheese every few days.
- If you would like to make a raw-milk cheese, do not pasteurize the milk and then age the cheese for 60 days or more. Raw milk is not to be used in the production of fresh curds.