1. First, begin by bringing the milk to room temperature (74F).
When the milk is at room temperature, you can add the culture and geotrichum. The powder can become very cakey and sink in clumps so to prevent this, sprinkle the culture over the surface of the milk and then let it sit for a couple of minutes. This allows the powder to re-hydrate before you stir it in.
2. If you are using the C20G Chevre culture, you won’t need to add rennet because powdered rennet is already added to the packet to form a good curd.
However, if you are using MA011 culture, you will need around 4-8 drops of single strength liquid rennet. The amount depends on your milk and how it coagulates. If the curd still appears weak after 24 hours, add a bit more rennet next time. Adding too much will make it difficult for your curd to drain.
You can now let the milk sit for 18-24 hours while the culture works and produces the lactic acid that coagulates the curd.
The curd will have separated from the sides of the vat and there will be an inch layer of whey on top to show that the curd is ready.
3. You can now transfer the curd to the colander. Line a colander with sanitized butter muslin in preparation for pre-draining the curd. You can use a ladle to transfer the curds to drain in a cheesecloth for 6-18 hours at 68-72F. Be sure to ladle in small scoops directly into the forms.
4. When the curds are briefly drained and gathered, you can hang them in cloth to promote draining. You can open the cloth and the curd mass mixed lightly to promote even drainage about half way through the drainage.
5. Now the pre-drained curd is now ready to be transferred to the crottin molds. They will be heaped on the top at first but will settle to about 1/2 to 1/3 the mold height when fully drained. This may take another 12 hours to complete.
6. After around 2 hours after you have filled the molds, sprinkle a quarter teaspoon of kosher salt on the top of each curd in its form.
You can remove and turn the cheese back into the mold, the next morning. Then add another quarter teaspoon of kosher salt on the top of each curd in its form.
7. The cheeses will now be ready to be removed from the molds in the late afternoon. You should place them on drying mats to allow air to circulate on all sides. The drying room temperature should be at about 60-65F and 65-75% moisture with a small fan to circulate the air.
The drying time may be around 1-2 days during which you could notice a different surface as the salt migrates into the cheese and some ambient yeast begin to form on the surface. The cheese will be ready for the aging cave when you notice it take on a matte appearance and all the free moisture is gone from the surface.
8. At this time, the cheese will be ready for whatever aging you intend to do, but try to make sure you give them the 2-3 weeks to develop some character.
The aging space should be 48-52F and 90% relative humidity with gentle air flow over the cheeses. Be sure to turn the cheeses every day until they are covered with white mold. You will notice the mold beginning to develop within ten days from drying the cheeses.
Many folks have trouble keeping a high enough moisture, so they keep the cheeses in covered plastic containers in a refrigerator or cold room so that there will be enough humidity. The top can be set ajar to let in air if there is condensation but if too much, should be wiped out daily. You will find that the cheeses can age for several weeks. It is a good idea to turn the cheeses and rub the mold down periodically to prevent the rind from getting too thick.
At about 10-12 days, the surface should be taking on a nice white appearance that will eventually lead to that nice rippled surface so characteristic of this cheese.
At this point, the cheese can be held in a cooler space at 38-44F.