Ash-covered : After moulding, goat's cheeses are sometimes dusted with a fine powder of charcoal, usually from oak. These are known as ash-covered goat's cheeses.
Casein: Insoluble milk proteins which form suspended masses in milk and thus create emulsions.
Coagulation: The transformation of milk into curd is the first step in cheese production. The milk is brought to a temperature of 18-19°C and a lactic fermenting agent, or 'starter culture', which has always been used in cheese and yoghurt production, is added. Rennet is then added to allow the gentle coagulation of the milk over 1-2 days.
Coagulation of the milk: This is when rennet is added to the milk to allow its gradual coagulation into curd.
Curd: Curd comes from the latin word 'coagulare', meaning to thicken, to clot. Milk coagulates when it is acidified by the development of micro-organisms, and also by the addition of rennet (the first step in cheese production). Curd is the set coagulum resulting from the coagulation of the milk. Usually drained on a cloth, curd is made up of caseins (large molecules of milk protein) and fat. The liquid, or whey, is removed during this draining process.
'Lactic' curd: Rennet is added (around 1 drop per litre of milk) as well as a lactic fermenting agent, or 'starter culture', to ensure slow coagulation of the milk.
'Mixed' curd: By using 3 times more rennet than the 'lactic' method, the milk coagulates more rapidly.
Flat or long cylinder, pyramid, log or bar-shaped, this stage determines the final shape of the cheese. Curd is ladled in a mechanical fashion, often into little perforated moulds, called faisselles.
Dairy cheese: Cheese made from milk from several farms (in a dairy).
Stands for 'Date Limite d'Utilisation Optimale' - a French 'best before' date for dairy products (guaranteeing nutritional quality and product taste).
Stage during which the remaining whey is removed from the curd. This can take between 24 and 48 hours, depending on the size of the cheese. This stage is followed by drying the cheese in a fresh and very dry environment. Both stages play an important role in the quality of the cheese’s conservation.
Dry content: Solid matter of the cheese which remains after complete dehydration: proteins, lipids, salts and minerals. It is on this basis that fat content is calculated at present, which is usually around 45 % for goat's cheeses.
Drying: The stage of production where lactic cheeses are left for one to three days in a well-ventilated room to allow the water to evaporate.
Egouttage : Etape durant laquelle le caillé est débarrassé de son petit lait ; cette phase peut durer entre 24 et 48 heures, selon la taille du fromage. Cette étape est suivie du « ressuyage » du fromage, qui s’effectue dans un lieu frais et sec. Ces deux étapes sont déterminantes pour garantir un bon affinage.
Emprésurage : Action consistant à ajouter de la présure au lait pour le faire cailler.
Faisselles : Moulds which give a shape to the curd with holes to allow the whey to drain out. These come in dozens of different shapes and sizes.
Farm cheese: This denomination is governed by a decree dating from 30 December 1998. Farm cheese is made on the farm by the farmer using only the milk from the farm's own herd.
Fat content: The fat content on the packaging of French cheeses is calculated as a percentage of the dry weight of the cheese, and not as a percentage of the weight of the cheese as it is ready to eat, which is quite different. In 2004 this was changed so that now the fact content is given as a percentage of the cheese as it is when it is ready to eat.
Feed (for the goats): Goat feed is composed of forage, usually produced on the farm (grass, hay, corn, alfalfa, etc.), as well as grains and proteins (barley, wheat, peas or beans). The farmer adds natural, vegatable-based supplements of a high quality to this basic diet in order to meet all the nutritional requirements of the animals. Goats pick at their food and only eat the best parts - this is why it is important to be vigilant about variety in their feed.
Fresh cheese (or fromage frais): This is coagulated milk, just drained - the base of all cheeses.
Hâloir: Also known as a cheese drying room. This is where cheeses are laid out during their maturation period.
Lactation : A female goat must have kids to produce milk. The birth of kids (usually one or two) takes place once a year, after a five-month gestation period. For around 10 months after giving birth, a goat, milked twice daily, will produce two or three litres of milk a day. This equates to around 700 litres of milk a year. Ten months after giving birth, the goat is rested until she gives birth to her next kid. The main period for goat's milk production is March to July, with a peak in April/May. From September to December, milk is less abundant. However, quality goat's cheeses are available all year round.
Lactic fermenting agent: Also known as 'starter culture'. Bacteria which encourage the coagulation of milk by fermenting the lactose in the milk into lactic acid.
Lactose: A glucide which plays an essential role in lactic fermentation.
Maturation: Also known as ripening. Although some goat's cheeses, once drained, are consumed fresh, others require some time to mature. To do this, they are placed on racks in the 'hâloir' - a cold room (10-11°C) which is well ventilated, with humidity of 80%. The cheeses are then regularly turned by hand. The curd slowly develops a rind, which, depending on what bacteria have been used, develop a fine layer of surface mould, which may be white, yellow or brown.
The temperature of the air inside the hâloir influences the taste of the cheeses. The cheese maker monitors their maturation by touch, sight, smell and taste. Maturation can last from several days to several weeks.
Mature: A cheese which has been ripened or matured.
Maturity: This is distinguished by the colour and the aspect of the cheese rind. The younger the cheese, the finer and whiter it is. The texture of the cheese, starting as creamy and liquidy, becomes more dry and compacted.
Milk quality: As with all fresh products, the quality of goat's cheeses is the result of the continuous effort of people working in the sector. Milk is produced according to strict hygiene rules, with tests carried out at all stages, from animal feed to milking and milk collection. The milk must be kept at constant strict temperatures from the farm to the dairy where it is being processed. At any stage of cheese production, it is possible to trace where the milk used to make it came from.
Whether the milk is treated in a traditional manner, in small farm facilities, or collected to be processed by a dairy or cheese dairy, everything is tested, supervised and checked, in order to guarantee quality and consistent taste, as well as flawless hygiene.
Milking: Goat milking is carried out with the help of a milking machine. The milk is gathered by milking beakers and then dispatched, via stainless steel tubes, directly into a tank, where it is rapidly refrigerated at 3-4°C, so it is ready to be collected by the dairy. In farm production, milk is processed straight after milking.
Moulds: During maturation, moulds, such as penicillin, start to develop on the surface of part-dry cheeses. They use the proteins and fats in the cheese, and help it to form a rind, a flavour and a smell.
PDO (Product of Designated Origin):
The French PDO (product of designated origin) stamp guarantees a product’s origin to the consumer. It is applied to some French wines and foods which are made using traditional agricultural methods, and makes these products - famous for their consistent quality - ambassadors of their region's agricultural know-how. The PDO label guarantees that a product has been made in a strictly designated geographical area, using milk from a herd in the same area. The product specifications define how the animals must be raised and fed, as well as the stages and methods used in the production of the cheese. The maturation period must be at least 10 days.
All of the conditions in the product specifications must respect 'local, fair, ongoing production'.
Pressed cheese: Cheese where the curd was pressed at the moulding stage to eliminate as much whey as possible.
Proteins: Large molecules composed of amino acids. They are hydrolysed by intestinal enzymes to release these amino acids, which are absorbed and allow the synthesis of our own proteins.
'Pur chèvre': Can be seen on packaging describing 'pure goat's cheese', made exclusively from goat's milk.
Pasteurised milk: Milk heated to 72°C for 15 to 20 seconds. 'High pasteurisation' indicates that the milk has been subject to more intense treatment (80-90°C for one or two minutes). UHT milk has been sterilised at an Ultra High Temperature (140°C for two to four seconds).
Qualité du lait : Comme pour tous les produits frais, la qualité des fromages de chèvre est la résultante des efforts permanents des professionnels de la filière. Le lait est produit selon de strictes règles d’hygiène : des contrôles sont effectués à tous les stades, de l’alimentation des animaux à la collecte du lait en passant par la traite. En transformation laitière, la chaîne du froid est respectée de la ferme à la fromagerie. A toutes les étapes de la fabrication, il est possible de contrôler la provenance du lait utilisé pour la fabrication des fromages. Que le lait soit transformé de manière artisanale dans de petits ateliers fermiers ou collecté pour une transformation fromagère en laiterie, tout est analysé, surveillé, vérifié, afin de garantir une qualité et un goût réguliers ainsi qu’une hygiène parfaite.
Rack: A type of grate on which cheeses are lait out, in the hâloir, to mature.
Raw milk: Also known as unpasteurised milk. Milk that has not been subject to any treatment to conserve it, other than refrigeration.
Rennet: An enzyme secreted by cells in the fourth section of a ruminant's stomach (rennet stomach), before it is weaned. Composed of 80% chymosin and 20% pepsin, rennet hydrolyses casein, thus bringing about coagulation of milk, and the release of peptides, which play an important role in cheese maturation.
Rennet stomach: Also called abomasums. One of a ruminant's four stomachs. The indispensable rennet used to coagulate milk is extracted from the rennet stomach of calves and kids.
Salting: There are many ways to salt goat's cheese: salt can be either scattered on moulded cheeses or curd can be salted as a whole by adding a salted mixture. Salt is not only essential for seasoning the goat's cheese taste - it also curbs the proliferation of micro-organisms.
Soft cheese: Uncooked, unpressed cheese, which as a result is creamy or even runny when fully ripe.
Teat : Females of dairy species have a teat on each part of their udder; goat's udders have two teats.