Thursday, March 27, 2008

Chevre V: Sainte-Maure de Touraine

"The curdled milk is delicately put in the cylindrical mould with a ladle. Extreme caution should be taken to prevent the curds from being broken." (I never knew how careful a cheese maker must be.) -911 Chef Eric

Oh, what a name! I had trouble remembering it between the refrigerator and my office (mattress on bedroom floor). Sainte-Maure de Touraine comes from Touraine in the Loire/central area of France. There are many buches de chevre (goat cheese logs) out there, but this one is different. As the photo shows, something runs through the middle of this cheese. It has two purposes: to keep the cheese in its log form and to allow air into the middle of the cheese so that it matures more uniformly. The straw is made of rye and is sometimes written upon with a laser so that the consumer knows where the cheese originated. I bought this buche at the supermarket, so it didn't surprise me when I didn't find anything engraved on my rye straw. (if it's even rye!) The cheese is also coated with black ash, which is eventually covered with mold as it ages. Ours was of an average age; it hadn't begun to turn soft on the outside.

Poor Dave slaved away at this cheese because every time we ate it, he had to peel off the ashy mold. We ended up with some pretty lopsided cheese coins. We ate it on toasted baguette slices, either as an appetizer or on a salad, and both were delicious! We melted the cheese on the baguette, and we also spread cold cheese on toast; this kind of chevre is tasty however it's prepared! Sainte-Maure is pretty basic and subtle, so it would be good for someone who hasn't tried a slightly aged (2 or more weeks) chevre cheese before. Unfortunately, this buche de chevre is made from unpasteurized milk and isn't aged for the mandatory 60 days, so it isn't available in the US.

Stay tuned...I plan on explaining the difference between cheeses made from pasteurized milk and those made from unpasteurized milk. It will probably be more of a learning experience for me than for you. I will also cite my sources...

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