Because of the distinctive and unique odor associated with goat milk, many people are put off by dairy products made from goat milk. But if you’ve never tried goat cheese, you’re missing out!
So, what does goat cheese taste like? Goat cheese has a distinctive tangy and tart flavor that is slightly bitter. It is smooth and creamy, but not as sweet as cheese made from cow’s milk. It is often described as earthy and gamey, with a slight lemony taste and a subtle nuttiness.
We absolutely love goat cheese and want to convince you to try it! So, we’re taking a closer look at this popular dairy product and trying to explain what it tastes like.
What Is Goat Cheese?
One of the world’s oldest cheeses, goat cheese is made from goat milk. It dates back at least 10,000 years.
However, goat milk cheeses rank among the best in the world and can often be far superior to cow milk cheeses, despite their undeserved reputation for being unpleasant.
Because goat’s milk contains less casein than cow’s milk, goat cheese is generally softer than cow’s milk cheese. When acid or rennet is added to milk, casein causes it to curdle.
Additionally, goat milk contains more fat than cow’s milk, giving it a tangy taste. It is particularly high in medium-chain fatty acids, which contribute to goat cheese’s distinctive taste.
An example of this is capric acid, which promotes good intestinal bacteria and is often sold as a health food.
Especially when it’s young, goat cheese is white in color, but it takes on a slightly yellow hue as it ages.
Although goat cheese contains as much lactose as cow’s milk, some lactose intolerant people can digest it better than cow’s milk products due to its smaller fat molecules.
Another unusual characteristic of goat cheese is that when heated, it becomes runny instead of melting.
There are times when goat cheese is referred to by its French name, chèvre.
How Is Goat Cheese Made?
Raw or pasteurized goat milk is used to make goat cheese.
Warm milk is added with culture, which begins the fermentation process, followed by rennet or acid, which triggers the formation of curds.
A mold is used to shape the solid curds once the liquid whey has been drained off.
After draining for around a day, the molds are sprinkled with salt to add flavor and control growth of microorganisms.
When goat cheese is eaten immediately after draining, it is called fresh goat cheese. This cheese has a high moisture content and is soft and spreadable.
As the cheese ripens, more moisture will be lost and the cheese will become harder. The longer the cheese ripens, the more moisture will be lost.
During ripening, some goat cheeses are dusted with ash, which alters the rind and flavor. Others are wrapped in grape leaves or coated with herbs.
In this video, you’ll learn everything about the process from milking the goats to serving the cheese:
Are There Different Types Of Goat Cheese?
From young fresh goat cheese with a creamy texture to hard and tangy mature goat’s cheeses, goat cheese comes in many varieties and forms.
Most cheeses made with cow’s milk or sheep’s milk can also be made with goat’s milk.
There are many goats’ milk cheeses available in specialty cheese stores, including Brie, Camembert, Gouda, and even full-flavored blue cheeses.
One of the most famous types of goat cheese is the fresh Chevre goat cheese log, which is a young goat cheese that is usually white in color.
What Does Goat Cheese Taste Like?
As with many foods, goat cheese is difficult to describe. It can best be described as a combination of goat cheese and cow’s milk cheese.
Cow’s milk cheese does not have a particularly distinctive flavor. Instead, the taste is derived from cultures and additives used during manufacturing.
When making cheddar cheese, a culture is used to develop the cheddar flavor.
In goat milk cheeses, there is a distinctive taste to the milk, which is carried through to the flavor of the cheese. The taste is tangy, tart, and sometimes described as earthy.
Occasionally you’ll hear people say that goat cheese tastes just like goats smell! If you’ve ever been close enough to a goat to smell it, you’ll know that goats aren’t particularly pleasant to smell.
There is no doubt that goat cheese has a distinctive smell, which might explain why people think it has a barnyard flavor.
Yet it is these attributes that make goat cheese so delightful and flavorsome.
As a result of the fatty acids in goat’s milk, goat’s milk has an unusual flavor and smell that some people describe as gamey.
This flavor can become overwhelming if it carries over into the cheese, but there are ways to moderate it.
Fresh milk is the key to goat cheese’s perfect flavor.
Taking fresh goat milk straight from the animal will have almost no goaty flavor at all, tasting almost identical to cow milk.
In some cases, the milk is deliberately left to age because cheesemakers prefer to carry this flavor over from milk to cheese.
A milk producer’s goal for taste will determine how long milk is left before processing.
In addition to hormone levels in female goats, when male and female goats are kept together, the flavor of goat milk can be affected by the strength of the flavor.
All cheese connoisseurs agree that goat milk cheese has a distinct earthiness, hints of lemon and a slight nuttiness that lingers on the tongue.
Cheese made from goat milk tends to be less sweet and almost bitter than cheese made from cow milk.
What Is The Texture Of Goat Cheese Like?
In comparison with cow milk cheese, goat cheese has some very different properties. It is very smooth and soft, almost spreadable.
When you cut into a young goat cheese log, you will find that it is quite chalky and crumbly. However, when the goat cheese ripens, it becomes creamy.
It begins on the outside, near the rind, and gradually moves inward.
In other words, a week-old goat cheese log has a smooth outer ring and a chalky, crumbly center, which is ideal to eat at this stage.
During the maturation process, goat cheese loses moisture and becomes firm. If the cheese is intended to mature for some time, it will be left for some time.
A mature goat cheese does not become as hard as a mature cow cheese, but instead becomes crumbly.
A very mature goat cheese will develop crunchy crystals, similar to the crunchy crystals you may have encountered in a very mature good quality cheddar.
A goat cheese’s flavor changes as it ages, becoming nuttier as it matures.
Does Goat Cheese Have A Strong Flavor?
There is no doubt that goat cheese has a strong flavor, and you will be hard pressed to find a goat cheese that is mild and subtle. That’s why it goes so well on mild foods like toast.
Its strong taste, however, makes goat cheese popular in many different dishes due to its distinctive taste.
You can easily transform the flavor of goat cheese by combining it with different ingredients. It melts easily into sauces when heated, making it ideal for pastas and risottos.
In addition to spreading goat cheese on toast, bagels, and sandwiches, it can also be crumbled over salads and pairs well with many foods.
The bitterness of the cheese can be offset by sweeter salad ingredients such as beets and crushed walnuts.
As one of the best cheeses out there, we hope we have persuaded you to try goat cheese!
Next time you go cheese shopping, put a fresh Chevre log in your basket and spread it on some bagels when you get home. You won’t be disappointed.