by The Beverage People
This cheese is a decadent french-style soft goat cheese that comes with its own mythology explaining its unique pyramidical shape.
According to the legend, this Loire Valley cheese used to be made as a pointed pyramid. However, after Napoleon’s military failures in Egypt, he returned to France and became infuriated upon the sight of this pyramid shaped cheese. It reminded him of the Egyptian temples. With his sword he lopped off the top of the cheese before him and Valencay has ever since been made as a pyramid with a flattened top to appease Napoleon’s temper
Making Valencay is both simple and tricky. If you have made Fresh Chevre, you will find that the preparation of the curd is almost the same in simplicity. The key is the aging process, which will take 3 to 4 weeks under controlled temperature and humidity conditions. The result is an extraordinarily complex and delicious mixture of goaty tanginess and soft brie like texture and flavor with a salty, ashed rind that gives a little bite to the palate!
Keeps up to four weeks.
Yields 3-4 cakes.
3 qts. Of Trader Joe’s Summerhill Goat Milk or Redwood Hill Goat Milk or Fresh Goat Milk (do not use ultra-pasteurized milk)
Either 1 pint of half and half OR 1 cup heavy cream
1/8 tsp. MA4001 "Farmhouse" culture
1/16 tsp. Penicillium Candidum
1/32 tsp. Geotrichum Candidum
1/4 tsp. liquid Calcium Chloride stirred into 1 Tablespoon of water
1/4 tsp. liquid Rennet stirred into 1 Tablespoon of water
Stainless Steel Pot, 4 qts. or larger
Dial Top Thermometer
Perforated ladle or slotted spoon
3 or 4 Pyramid shaped perforated molds
Ripening box with inset for draining
Hygrometer (to measure humidity)
Optional but recommended: Sous Vide Immersion Heater/Circulator provides an ideal heat source. Click for discussion.
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* An alternate method of applying salt and edible ash is to mix in a salt shaker, one Tablespoon of Kosher salt and one teaspoon of edible ash. Mix well. Then apply as in #6 and let drain for 24 hours.