My first attempt to making Crottin turned out quite delicious but not exactly how it’s supposed to be. It was much flatter and much creamier.
As a refresher, this is what I’m aiming for:
(photo courtesy of Wikipedia)
The width is supposed to be more or less the same as the height, the rind is bloomy but not thick, the paste is solid (but not hard) and it dries/hardens as it ages.
This time I achieved a much better shape. To get that, you just pack the molds with more curd. “Pack” is actually not the right word since you have to let the curds drain a bit before you add more curd. The draining happens solely thanks to holes in the molds and the natural weight of the curd.
You can tell that the bloom is fairly thick though. There’s lots of fuzz happening, which tends to get wrinkly after a while. That’s great in some cases, but it’s not what we’re going for here.
When you cut it, a nice fairly firm paste is discovered wrapped in a fairly thick rind, with.. with… with… ash! Yep, I played with ash. It’s that darker, grayer layer in between the paste and the white rind. It’s purely for aesthetic purposes and I have to say… I like it! I know, I know, I should only be tweaking one thing at a time to figure out what works and what doesn’t. But man, adding ash was fun!
Anyways, you can also notice that there’s a thin layer of cream forming right under the rind… quite nice, but again, not exactly it.
I criticize, I analyze, but to the taste, this cheese is de-li-cious. It’s light and slightly goaty, a little chalky to the texture (but good chalky) with a subtle sweet finish. No acidity, no bitterness.
So all in all, this second attempt is MUCH better than the first one. It still has some cosmetic tweaks to be made. I think I’m most guilty of inoculating the milk with way too much mold bacteria which makes the rind bloom too much and creates that cream layer… I think.
Guess what? I’ll try it again. I love this hobby!