It is now easier to obtain fresh goats’ milk, certainly in the West Country. So I occasionally follow the instructions of my cheese-making friends in France and produce a home-made picodon.
Slowly bring the goats’ milk to just above blood heat (45°C, 120°F). Remove from the heat and stir in the rennet. Set aside at room temperature until curds have formed.
Pour into a ceramic or plastic cheese drainer and leave in a cold place for 24 hours or overnight to allow the whey, petit lait, to drain away and the curds to set.
For freshly drained goats’ cheese or fromage en faisselle, turn out the cheese and serve with salt or cream. Alternatively turn the cheese out on to a draining board or a straw pallet or a layer of dry hay (which will perfume the cheese beautifully) and store in a cold, dry place for 1–8 weeks. Turn the cheese every day. The cheese will shrink as it ages but the flavour matures and improves.
Some cheese-makers wrap a two- or three-day-old cheese in chestnut leaves or roll the cheese in finely powdered charcoal, or chopped dry herbs, or roughly crushed black peppercorns. These are good ideas for early summer cheeses but later in the year the palate requires the deeper, satisfying flavour of a matured goat cheese.
© 1987 Geraldene Holt. All rights reserved.