Welcome, cheese enthusiasts and curious foodies, to a delightful peek behind the curtains of LaClare Creamery—where goats, milk, and passion intertwine to create distinctly delicious cheese.
The art of crafting goat cheese has continuously evolved across generations and continents. Some core traits of goat cheesemaking are timeless, while some parts of the process are constantly tweaked for improvement. Here’s a high-level look into the land of making high-quality LaClare goat cheese.
Step 1: A Clean Start
Every great cheese has a humble beginning, and for LaClare goat cheese, it all starts with cleanliness. Our dedicated cheesemakers start their mission ensuring every nook, cranny, and surface of our equipment and creamery is spotless.
Next, the sanitization spotlight turns to our star ingredient: goat milk, sourced from dairies within 15 miles of our creamery. This milk is sent through a pasteurizer—a “heat bath” to zap away harmful bacteria, setting the stage for the cheese's magic.
Step 2: Good Bacteria, Rennet, and a Dance of Transformation
As the milk cools, a special culture of beneficial bacteria is introduced to transform the milk into curd, the essential building block of cheese. After a culture-induced growth spurt, rennet swoops in, turning the milk into a gel. The cheesemakers wait as the curds and whey separate during this dairy symphony.
Step 3: Squeeze, Stir, Salt, and Cool
Once the curds are ready, they're gently pumped into cloth bags, which allow the whey to escape, leaving behind a crowd of curds. A touch of salt and cooling are applied for stabilization, before the curds are removed from their bags and given a flavor makeover, depending on the intended goat cheese product, resulting in anything from soft goat cheese (chèvre), hard goat cheese, or crumbles.
The Cheesemaker's Symphony: Making the Highest-Quality Goat Cheese
What sets LaClare's goat cheese apart? Besides the stellar milk we receive from local dairy farmers, our unrivaled passion is whipped into every batch of cheese. It's our not-so-secret ingredient, and it guides every step of our process, from dairy farm to your table. This exact timeline varies; the cheese's trek can range from a whirlwind 10 days to a more leisurely few weeks, depending on the destination.
Goat Nutrition and Milking Magic
The goats at LaClare are culinary connoisseurs themselves, feasting on a mix of corn silage, hay silage, cracked corn, soy hulls, molasses, and more. A team of nutritionists and feeders create a gourmet menu that keeps these goats bouncing with vitality.
The fertile land and supportive infrastructure create a goat-friendly environment that's perfect for crafting outstanding cheese. The goats are routinely milked twice daily, serenaded by the soft hum of milking machines, similar to cows. This is typical with most dairy operations, though the results do vary based on the dairy animal.
Learn more about the differences between goat cheese and cow cheese.
There you have it, goat cheese lovers: the enchanting tale of the life of LaClare goat cheese—an art passed down through generations, kept refreshed with the spice of innovation.
At LaClare, we’re dedicated to cultivating the freshest, highest-quality goat milk, upholding traditional techniques, and adding the allure of creativity. It's a journey marked by passion, dedication, and a touch of Wisconsin magic. The next time you enjoy a creamy, flavorful bite of our cheese, remember the story behind each morsel and savor the experience that much more.